Monday, April 4, 2016, 6:00 pm
East Gallery, Buell Hall (Maison Française)
Please join the Harriman Institute, the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, the East Central European Center, and the Columbia University Central and Eastern European Club (CUCEE) for a screening of the documentary film Chuck Norris vs. Communism, followed by a discussion with Irina Margareta Nistor, Romanian translator and film critic, and the subject of the documentary.
A documentary about the magic of film and the power it has to change lives. In 1980’s Romania, thousands of Western films smashed through the Iron Curtain, opening a window into the free world for those who dared to look. A black-market VHS racketeer and a courageous female translator brought the magic of film to the people and sparked a revolution.
Communist Romania -1980s.
Culturally isolated, ideologically censored; all images of life outside the Iron Curtain are cut off and TV is reduced to a couple of hours of propaganda bulletins each day. From the drab concrete housing blocks to the food ration queues, an overwhelming fear of state surveillance had prevented the people from stepping out of line. But there was one window into the free world available to anyone who dared to look.
In the mid-1980s, thousands of Hollywood ﬁlms were smuggled into the country through a well-oiled operation that swelled and swelled until it reached millions across Romania. The ﬁlms were dubbed by one courageous female translator whose distinct voice captivated the whole nation and became a symbol of freedom.
The fearless stories of action heroes like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme captured every child’s imagination, but it was the lavish settings and backdrops that mesmerized this unique audience. For the ﬁrst time people saw what had been denied to them: supermarkets stacked full of food, the trappings of wealth, the latest fashions, super cars, and most of all, freedom.
Runtime: 80 minutes. In Romanian with English subtitles.