I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians

Îmi este indiferent daca în istorie vom intra ca barbari

Radu Jude, the celebrated director of Aferim!, Scarred Hearts and The Dead Nation, returns with another controversial and illuminating foray into the darker side of Romania’s history.

Dir-Scr Radu Jude
Prod Ada Solomon
With Ioana Iacob, Alexandru Dabija, Alex Bogdan
Romania-Czech Republic-France-Bulgaria-Germany
Sales Beta Cinema GmbH

The words of the title were spoken by soldier-turned-prime minister Ion Antonescu, whose virulent anti-Semitism fuelled the ethnic cleansing of the 1941 Odessa Massacre. In Radu Jude’s film, a young woman (Ioana Iacob) researching and rehearsing a pageant about the Romanian army’s ‘victory’ in capturing Odessa repeatedly encounters obstacles and objections, both from the authorities (who would prefer a sanitised official story) and from locals hired as extras, who have their own ideas about heroes and villains. Typically rigorous, witty and cineliterate in examining the uncomfortable relationship between past and present, Jude’s exhilaratingly freewheeling narrative channels both early Godard and Jancsó; at the same time, however, the forthright insistence on lucidity and honesty, however unsettling, is entirely his own. Strong stuff.

Geoff Andrew