The Great Communist Robbery // BETWEEN REALITY AND FICTION

filmclub — 12.5.2022 17:00

The Hungarian Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology of BBU, Cluj and Tranzit Foundation present the open seminar of the Film and Anthropology course:
A filmclub about transgressing the borders between reality and fiction.

20:00 Alexandru Solomon: The great communist robbery 2004, 75’
Discussion about the film (in Hungarian).

Presented by: Nagy Bernadett, student at the Ethnography and Anthropology program
Invitee: Lönhárt Tamás, historian, associated professor
Seminar coordonated by: Könczei Csilla, cultural researcher, associated professor

Free event.

Alexandru Solomon is a Romanian film director, screenwriter and cinematographer. His documentary film addresses one of the most enigmatic stories of Romania’s Stalinist-totalitarian history. According to the chronicles, in 1959, the Romanian National Bank was robbed of its cash van, which the authorities claimed that contained 1 million 686 thousands of lei. The film follows the investigation, the trial and the criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrators. The director attempts to reconstruct the past through documentary means and through the eyewitnesses’ recollections.

The film also reworks the period propaganda film Reconstruction, which was produced on the orders of the party leadership and with the contribution of the Securitate, the secret police. The protagonists of the propaganda film are the accused bank robbers themselves, who took on this task in exchange for a promise of a lighter sentence. The authorities of the time failed to keep these promises, and the defendants were convicted: five men were executed and one woman was sentenced to life imprisonment. The whole case raises many questions, which the director of the film seeks to answer. Did the legendary robbery happen or not? Were the main characters really criminals or victims? Is it even possible to find the truth in a historical context where the notion of truth losts its validity?

All those interested are invited to watch the film and reflect together, trying to find the truth together.