Nominated for the last Oscars, the documentary L’Affaire Collective by Alexander Nanau looks back on the fire at the Colectiv Club nightclub in Bucharest on October 30, 2015. This shocking film hits theaters today. Meeting with the director.
After being presented at the 76th Venice Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, and represented Romania at the last Oscars in the categories Best Documentary and Best International Film (a premiere for a Romanian film), Alexander Nanau’s documentary, The Collective Affair is released today in our theaters.
Without interviews and voice-overs, this film has nothing to envy of the most prestigious political thrillers.
The Romanian director is interested here in the fire at the Colectiv Club nightclub in Bucharest on October 30, 2015. Many victims die in hospitals from injuries that should not have put their lives in danger.
Following the testimony of a doctor, a team of investigative journalists from the Sports Gazette takes action to denounce the massive corruption of the public health system.
The feature film follows these whistleblowers and the government officials involved, and takes an uncompromising look at corruption and the price to be paid for the truth.
The Collective Affair is an exciting and scary film that will keep you going for 1 hour 45 minutes and never leave you indifferent. Journalists uncover an unprecedented health and political scandal within the European Union.
We were able to talk to director Alexander Nanau to whom we owe the documentaries Toto et ses sœurs and Nothingwood.
DashFUN: You started to devote yourself to this subject immediately after the Colectiv Club drama. Why did you want to work on this national tragedy?
Alexander Nanau : The protests of the younger generation that took place after the fire were seen as a turning point in Romanian society. It was the first time since the revolution of 1989 that so many people had taken to the streets. I felt the need to understand what was really going on in this young democracy.
At the same time, politicians and doctors began to lie and manipulate everyone by claiming that they could take care of the victims of the Colectiv fire and that the Romanian healthcare system was the best.
As more and more burned young people started dying in hospitals, it was clear that something was wrong at all and that we were witnessing enormous manipulation by those in power.
I also wanted to make a film to understand how power works. I wondered who these corrupt and incompetent people really are, able to use their power to lie and let people die. Why are they doing this?
Journalists from the Gazeta Sporturilor who work alongside Cătălin Tolontan have started to investigate the health system. So we thought that for this observational documentary, it would be a good thing to follow the work of these journalists who investigate power and the health system.
Initially, they refused to let us follow them in their investigation because they did not want to expose their work and the way they get information, nor put whistleblowers at risk.
I could not imagine this corruption and inhumanity that reigns within the health system.
When you started working on this case, did you imagine the scale it would take?
Alexander Nanau : Never ! I could not imagine this corruption and inhumanity that reigns within the health system and in the highest political circles. It was like watching Hannah Arendt’s “The Banality of Evil” in real time in our society.
At the time, there were no journalists really specialized in health care in Romania and the press as a whole did not know how to ask the right questions when faced with the manipulation of the health authorities.
Although originally sports journalists, Cătălin Tolontan and Mirela Neag were known and feared as investigative journalists capable of bringing down politicians. Whistleblowers have decided to …