Add a Review

  • dromasca28 September 2018
    I have seen today together with other several hundred of spectators Radu Jude's most recent film, "I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" at the Haifa Film Festival. A film that courageously and blutly addresses the theme of knowing and assuming the historical past in the Romanian society of today. A movie that will have an impact and will spark controversy, but I am convinced that this is exactly what the filmmakers intended.

    Every people I know builds its own historical image, its own mythology. These are based in part on historical facts but viewed from their own perspective and beautified on a voluntary basis (to mobilize and unite 'nations' in times of crisis or for diversionist and propagandistic purposes) or involuntarily. Very few nations that I know have had and only at certain times of their history the lucidity of recognizing their mistakes, of contradicting their mythologies and of rectifying their own historical image to accept the mistakes and sometimes even the crimes committed by governments and the leaders they had chosen or accepted to represent them. Knowing and accepting your own history is a process that varies from country to country, from people to people, that is carried out differently and never easily. It is also the case of the Romanians and of Romania, who have experienced a series of successive dictatorships that for almost half a century have imposed alternate visions of their own history deformed by ideologies and nationalism, burring in silence the crimes committed during the Second World War, and especially the period of the Holocaust. The historical studies of the past 2-3 decades began to bring to light the dark aspects, but the process of knowledge and assumption is still difficult, it is struggling with ignorance and resistance. A few books such as those written by Catalin Mihuleac or films such as those of Radu Jude are part of this slow but essential process.

    Many parallels can be drawn between director Radu Jude and the main heroine of the film, a stage director with a poet name who receives the financial support of the mayoralty for organizing a reconstruction of some episodes from Romania's participation in the Second World War. The show is planned to take place (symbolically I guess) in the center of Bucharest, in the Palace Square, the place where the (incomplete, hesitant) change of Romania's destiny began in 1989. Like Radu Jude himself, stage director Mariana takes the risk of including in her artistic creation not the accepted heroic nationalist official version of history, but the uncomfortable truths about the war crimes committed by the Romanian army in 1941, when it was allied with Nazi Germany. In the Romanian episode of the Holocaust, 380 000 Jews died, but these facts historically documented by studies and the work of the Wiesel Commission (which investigated Romania's part in the Holocaust) are still only partially acknowledged, accepted, assumed by most of the Romanian people from all classes of the society, from the political elite class to the majority of the population educated in the period of communist propaganda or that of the intellectual superficiality of the post-1990s. The idea that the Romanian governors and the army under their command were responsible for war crimes contradicts the mythology and idealized image created during long years of ignorance.

    The Romanian society, as presented by Radu Jude, is fragmented on multiple plans. The director's historical and self-analytical approach enjoys the support of a part of the team with whom she works, but also encounters a great deal of resistance at all levels, from that of the cultural officials who attempt to influence the content of artistic creation in a "soft" version of censorship and up to some of the amateur actors and extras participating in the show, intrigued and indignant about the non-conformist version of the history that they are being directed to present. Racism and cabotinism, cynicism and demagogy lend themselves to a combination of sometimes comical, sometimes absurd attempts to divert the purpose of the project. Eventually something is done, but at a significant personal price.

    Radu Jude's characters reflect other gaps and dissonances at different levels of today's Romanian society. Some of them are cultivated, they cite freely from philosophers and historians, but they also use at the same time vulgar street language, full of obscenities and curses. There is a secondary conflict of the relationship between the stage director and a married aviation pilot and the question of whether presenting it is essential to the main line of the film is legitimate. The answer is in my opinion positive, the character of Mariana is thus presented in its different dimensions, as a complex and yet familiar character, a smart and vulnerable woman in her personal life, far from being just a politically-obsessed individual. The acting performances are excellent, with special mention for Ioana Iacob in the lead role and Alexandru Dabija in the role of the cultural clark mediating between the artists and the authorities. The extracts from the archive materials of the cinematographic journals of the times are used intelligently under the pretext of documenting the realization of the reconstruction and create a clear picture of the historical context to which the film relates. The long frames and the use of hand-held camera create a dynamic and authentic atmosphere.

    Is the movie too long with its two hours and twenty minutes? I confess that I was not bored at any moment, on the contrary, I was permanently interested in the subject and the details, and I found that the gradual construction of the action builds up in a final with a strong emotional impact. My only concern is that for audiences that are not that familiar with the history and present of Romania some nuances will be lost in translation, but maybe they will be the ones paying attention to different qualities and angles of interpretation.

    For filmmakers and spectators, the central question of the movies seems to be whether history can be taught, rehearsed, assumed. The answer to this question remains ambiguous. "I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" is a film that those who will see will not forget easily and will discuss for a long time.
  • An incredible movie about the difficulties of every nation to face its ghosts and to assume its history and eventually its identity.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    *** SPOILER ALERT *** - The review contains spoilers, as details from the film are important to the rating.

    This movie brilliantly shows the Romanian society from the perspective of the social activists that are currently (2018) protesting against the establishment. It shows them as snub, elitists, that can't use their intellect to reason with people below their intelligence level. This is best portrayed in the scene where Mariana is approached by two senior citizens holding umbrellas that are outraged by being mixed with gypsies during the reenactment rehearsals, an obviously blatant racist remark. What the outraged Mariana does is that she quotes a book from a philosopher/historian on the subject, disregarding the fact that the seniors obviously have no idea what she's talking about. She made her point that she is superior and, you know, reads books, and that they are very well below her intellect, and that's about it. The movie also portrays average Romanians as being cold-hearted, stupid (uneducated), greedy, and savage. The scene where they all applaud the burning of the Jews comes to mind.

    There are other elements of progressivism that are exaggerated, but in my opinion necessary in the current debate landscape of Romania. For instance, the fact that Marian is pregnant from having an affair with a married man and debating whether or not to have an abortion, that at the dinner party the only couple that is engaging in public display of affection is the lesbian couple, the nudity of Mariana's partner that tries to counter the prudery of the Romanian society, and so forth.

    Art has to makes us think, and has to make us talk. I like the fact that the character is trying to bring forth a subject that is unpopular, a dark part of the Romanian history - r.e. the mass extermination and deportation of Jews by the Romanian army lead by Marshal Antonescu. But it does so in a long, snail-paced endeavor of putting on a reenactment show that is financed by taxpayer money. And this is another problem that the movies brings forth, that art and activism are ultimately financed by public taxpayer money, instead of individual patrons. Most musical acts in Romania for instance rely on money from city halls and city councils to organize public events, and not from selling tickets to concerts, because then they couldn't make a living. This leads to a decline in both the quality of the art and the education and exposure to art by the public, simultaneously.

    Overall the film is ambitious, militant and very necessary in the Romanian art landscape, but long, slow-paced, over-acted and under-directed. It fails to achieve it's purpose, since it neither provides new perspective to the already cultivated audience except for a few historical facts and dates nor is it so accessible that it enlightens the collective mentality of the average Romanian.
  • Mariana wants to direct a street show for the public depicting Romania's hand in the genocide of Romanian Jews during WWII. Her mentor and backer questions whether it is necessary, and maybe play up the heroics of the Romanian army in the war. That is the gist of the movie with the enormously long title.

    The question is, why such a controversial theme? The Holocaust as illustrated in this picture will not play well here in a city with the largest Jewish population in the country. There is no question the Romanians have mastered the art of filmmaking; in fact, Lincoln Center hosted a Romanian Film Festival a few years ago. Noteworthy in this picture is an interesting back-and-forth between the two principals as they argue the philosophical and ethical pros and cons of the show, with some interesting historical references. As always, the actors are very natural and their competence is a feature of Romanian films.

    It is worth your time and the ending packs an unexpected punch. It is not for everybody but it is the type of superior filmmaking you can expect in Romanian films.

    7/10 - Website no longer prints my star rating.
  • vital-4013925 September 2018
    This film is a great feat, with a universal message regarding the difficulty in facing our true national images in the mirror, including savage, murderous episodes. Exquisite acting and art, as well as nuanced irony neatly combined with grave philosophising and serious storytelling. I was glued to the screen for the entire 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  • I saw the movie at the Seattle Film Festival. The subject matter is relevant and intriguing from a social point of view - so the movie had the potential of being poignant and thought provoking. Instead, it feels as if the editor had been AWOL. The first hour and a half of the movie is peppered with irrelevant scenes, gratuitous coarse "humor" that is neither here nor there, and static shots with noise in the background (not unlike the time I accidentally hit record while pointing at the floor). Had it been a topic that I didn't have a personal interest in, I would have walked out of the theater after the first hour.

    Surprisingly, the movie does end strongly. A good editing job could probably do wonders, producing a good 1 hour long movie. And that, in my book, would be preferable.
  • massu_t29 September 2018
    Boring, vapid, annoying, I left after the first hour. Poor and tangled dialogues, useless nudity. There is a scene where an old black and white picture, with hanged people, it's shown for more then a minute !!! The same picture, one minute !! WTF ? Or another scene where you can see a closeup with a guy's penis for about a minute!! Why ?? Dont go to this movie !
  • I saw many boring movies and I tolerated most of them and I have never put bad comments on them. But this is the most boring movie I have ever seen. Besides being boring it is also vulgar: many vulgar jokes and vulgar nudity scenes. Maybe this movie had a good idea, but it was implemented poorly.
  • Even on fast forward the movie is boring to death.Life is too short to waste it with such nonsense.
  • I wat lch a lot of movie from all countries and all genres, but this is the most boring piece of ... I ever saw. It shows an actress/ director doing research. She reeds a couple of minutes from a book, watches a youtubefilm, walks through a museum and lays naked in bed with her boyfriend. That was the first 45 minutes...

    The photography was amaturistic and ugly, the discussions between the cast irritating and a mess.

    Avoid, avoid, avoid!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    *** SPOILER ALERT *** - The review contains spoilers, as details from the film are what made me rate it.

    This movie brilliantly shows the Romanian society from the perspective of the social activists that are currently (2018) protesting against the establishment. It portrays them as snub, elitists, that can't use their intellect to reason with people below their intelligence level. This is best portrayed in the scene where Mariana is approached by two senior citizens holding umbrellas that are outraged by being mixed with gypsies, an obviously racist remark. What Mariana does is that she quotes a book from a philosopher/historian disregarding the fact that the seniors obviously have no idea what she's talking about. She made her point that she is superior and, you know, reads books, and that they are very well below her intellect, and that's about it. The movie also portrays average Romanians as being cold-hearted, stupid (uneducated), greedy, and savage. The scene where they all applaud the burning of the Jews comes to mind.

    There are other elements of progressivism that are exaggerated, but in my opinion necessary in the current debate landscape of Romania. For instance, the fact that Marian is pregnant from having an affair with a married man and debating whether or not to have an abortion, that at the dinner party the only couple that is engaging in public display of affection is the lesbian couple, the nudity of Mariana's partner that tries to counter the prudery of the Romanian society, and so forth.

    Art has to makes us think, and has to make us talk. I like the fact that the character is trying to bring forth a subject that is unpopular, a dark part of the Romanian history - r.e. the mass extermination and deportation of Romanian jews. But it does so in a long, snail-paced endeavor of putting on a show that is financed by taxpayer money. And this is another problem that the movies brings forth, is that art and activism are ultimately financed by public taxpayer money, instead of individual patrons. Most musical acts in Romania for instance rely on money from city halls and city councils to organize public events, and not selling tickets to concerts, because then they couldn't make a living. This is a decline in both the quality of the art and the education and exposure to art by the public simultaneously.

    Overall the film is ambitious, militant and very necessary in the Romanian art landscape, but long, slow-paced, over-acted and under-directed. It fails to bring new perspective to the already enlighten and it's not so accessible that it can be appealing to the average audience.
  • Aimed for a presumptuos kino, and they ended with some kind of a botched simpleton ambulant act. worst acting i've seen,
  • ionelradio15 September 2019
    As in the last 20 years this movie is another romanian garbage production. The actors probably are PC figurants paid by the soros funded NGO's
  • This movie is... wait, is it a movie? 😂 i highly recommend this whatever-it-is-being-called to those time killers who believe that history is documented & teached on History channel.

    good job, guys! not.