(director/writer:Alexander Nanau; screenwriter: Antoaneta Opris; cinematographer: Alexander Nanau; editors: Alexander Nanau, George Cragg, Dana Bunescu; music: Kyan Bayani; cast: Cătălin Tolontan, Mirela Neag, Răzvan Luţac; Runtime: 109; MP hard-hitting Rating: NR; producers: Alexander Nanau, Bianca Oana, Bernard Michaux, Hanka Kastelicova; Magnolia Pictures; 2019-Romania/Luxembourg-in Romanian & English with English subtitles if needed)
“A hard-hitting investigative journalist documentary on corruption in the health-care system in Romania, whose moral stink goes far beyond its borders.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The Romanian filmmaker whose family emigrated to Germany, director and writer Alexander Nanau (“Toto And His Sisters”/”The Prince of Nothingwood”), along with co-writer Antoaneta Opris, present a hard-hitting investigative journalist documentary on corruption in the health-care system in Romania, whose moral stink goes far beyond its borders.
On October 2015, a fire at the Colectiv club in Bucharest killed 27 patrons and injured another 180, setting-off a national protest that brought down the Romanian government. After the disaster, dozens of survivors died in the hospital of easily preventable bacterial infections, leading the journalists Cătălin Tolontan, working for the sports newspaper “Gazeta Sporturilor,” to uncover a larger scandal within the country’s health-care system.
From the onset, Nanau carefully follows this tragic story, which plays out over a year, as the story’s real hero Catalin Tolontan and his squad of reporters expose deep bureaucratic corruption that left hospitals in Romania unable to provide the most basic levels of cleanliness and care, which left incoming health minister Vlad Voiculescu – a former patients’ rights advocate – stymied by old-line communist bureaucrats left over from the regime of the fallen communist despot Nicolae Ceaușescu some 15 years ago.
It’s an uncompromising look at such corruption and worth checking out.
REVIEWED ON 3/7/2020 GRADE: A-