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COLLECTIVE (2020) Nominated for Best International Film and Best Documentary Feature (1 Viewer)


Second Unit
Sep 2, 2019
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COLLECTIVE (2020). Nominated for Best International Film and Best Documentary Feature. In 2015 a fire broke out in a Romanian nightclub (Collectiv) holding a hard rock concert. 26 people died on site, but, it was the 38 who died in hospitals that roiled the nation. Massive protests erupted and the government fell. A reporting team at the Gazette Sports journal lead by Catalin Tolontan continued to dig into the high casualty count in hospitals.

Director Alexander Nanau and his crew garnered the trust of the reporters and got almost unlimited access into their investigation. COLLECTIVE takes a you are there approach. It's step by step and that means that, yes, a lot of the “boring” stuff is left in. Still, it never feels either padded or unduly adulatory to the newspaper. And, what also propels the story is that new revelations and turns in public opinion worthy of a medical thriller keep occurring. The burn victims families and survivors get their due including a brave young woman, Tedy Ursuleanu, who models her scarred body for an art exhibit. A new Health Minister, Vlad Voiculescu, is installed to try and regain the trust of the Romanian public. Director Nanau also gained incredible access to the Minister.

It's amazing that the Collectiv scandal was blown open by a sports publication - imagine Watergate being revealed not by the Washington Post but by The Sporting News! The culture of bribery and corruption has been the topic of a number of fine Romanian feature films (including GRADUATION and THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU) but the depth of how deeply it is ingrained in that society is still staggering*.

COLLECTIVE is a powerful documentary that gained world attention. It's extremely well detailed with Tolontan and the Gazette staff doing yeoman work. The Documentary loses a bit of focus as the attention turns more towards Minister Voiculescu and away from the reporters as they were the conduit through which the viewer has followed the scandal. This minor quibble aside, it's one of the finest movies of the year.

* After the completion of this documentary, a new, more reform minded coalition has again been voted into power. Vlad Voiculescu is again health minister

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