23 December 2004 | tributarystu
A Neverending Past
The communist past of Romania has been dealt with in quite a few other films, which have been more or less successful, Examen to name one of the better. I've yet to have seen a movie dealing with the Romanian revolution, of course, if "Sindromul Timisoara" isn't taken into account. Being born in '87, I can hardly remember anything of the 1989 Revolution, but I've known since...forever: it was something big and important, which changed the face of Romania.
"Sindromul Timisoara" is a documentary-like film, which paints the rather dim image of December 1989 on the canvas of time. The fact that the people of Timisoara were the first to free themselves of the dictator Ceausescu means that they also had to make great sacrifices. Their boldness is not questionable, because the nature of their outburst makes it even more impressive: it all really started when a handful of people opposed the arrest of pastor Tokes, around the 16th of December. People were shot at, people died (the number 60000 was evoked) but it seems their sacrifice wasn't enough to rid the country of its foul minds. The film follows two time lines, one in 2004 and one in December 1989, as it tries to determine how a French photographer died shortly after the 20th of December.
I won't go into details regarding the story, because it's tedious and uninteresting. However, the point this film tries to reevaluate is the value of the sacrifice. Also, it tries to underline the continuity of the system: people who committed crimes during the communist years still find themselves in very fortunate positions, as respected members of society. Unfortuntately, as an "artistic film", Sindromul Timisoara fails pretty badly. The acting, the directing, the script are all quite amateurish. I can accept the fact that it's largely a documentary, but as long as it pretends to be more, I can not stand aside and nod my head. There are some ideas which I agree with, but I've already said what I had to say on "Examen" and the rest is largely disappointing. OK, it's not a disaster, but it just ain't very involving.
In a way, it's sad, because someone has to do a good movie about such a relevant event. Why? Well, for the annals of history, of course. What I enjoyed at "Sindromul..." and for which I truly respect it, is it's vehement accusations brought to the ones who shamelessly profited of the people around them. Ideas and opinions, that's what matters in a film. That's what should matter in life too.