State of Things

Directed by Stere Gulea

Romania, 1995

Color, 89 minutes

Cast: Oana Pellea, Mircea Rusu, Răzvan Vasilescu, Dan Condurache, Luminiţa Gheorghiu, Cornel Scripcaru

Awards: Main Prize at San Marino Film Festival

State of Things reconstructs the dilemmas of post-communist Romanian society concerning the uncertainty of what really happened during the December 1989 uprising. On the night of December 21, a nurse and her partner fortuitously meet a young man with a bullet wound. They offer him medical assistance and bring him to the hospital. The next morning the nurse, brilliantly interpreted by Oana Pellea, finds the patient dead with a bullet hole in his head. A Securitate officer bluntly asks her to sign a false death certificate, a request meant to exonerate the killers, who had acted according to the rules of the old regime.

Yet, the irony of the situation turns out to be even greater. As rumors about the success of the revolution begin to spread, the young nurse goes to the television station—a key site of the revolution— to offer assistance. There she recognizes the Securitate officer among the military personnel now defending the building. Shocked by her discovery, she wishes to disclose his identity, but has to withstand immense psychological and physical pressure as several people associated with the old regime try to force her to go along with their script.

The movie vividly portrays the protagonist’s inner conflict and raises questions about how truly revolutionary “the Revolution” was. The plot also reflects the growing concerns of Romanian society during the mid-1990s, when more and more people were questioning what came to be termed “the events” of December 1989, as the post-communist Iliescu regime kept postponing clarification, and as former high-ranking communists and Securitate agents found lucrative venues in the new Romanian polity.

Adelina Stefan