Opening 12 Nov 2015
In Romania in 1985, communism held a tight grasp on almost everything in the lives of the people. Television and films were heavily edited and censored by the government. Fear of being watched and paranoia of who could be working for the government was an everyday experience. But the power of the media managed to sneak into Romania and offer the people a look at the world outside of communism. Stars such as Chuck Norris, Sylvester Stallone (as Rocky Balboa) and Julia Roberts entered into living rooms at night via the mighty video recorder. VHS tapes were like a drug; both young and old sought after the opportunity to view them and dream of a different life. There was no other way of seeing the fashion of the West, fancy cars or shops with shelves full of food. At that time a video player cost as much as a new car, and a translator, risking everything to translate the movies into Romanian, was paid enough to buy two Austrian chocolate bars. However; the fear of getting caught was worth the risk of escaping for a few hours into another life.
Through reenactments and interviews of people sharing their actual experiences, Ilinca Calugareanu has created a documentary which tells the story of how powerful the influence of film was to the people of communist Romania. Calugareanu has already made a name for himself with his popular documentary Searching for Sugar Man, and his new documentary Chuck Norris and Communism was a public favorite at the Sundance festival. The documentary is originally in Romanian and then dubbed in German. (Alana Leichert)