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Romania's bad conscience

Dead Nation (Tara Morta)
Regissør: Radu Jude

HOLOCAUST / A doctor's diary reveals the troubling story of how Romania treated the Jews during World War II.


"There are three ways to greet a Jew: Mr. Dirty Jew, your Dirty Jew, and go to Hell, your Dirty Jew," wrote the Romanian Jew and Doctor Emil Dorian in his diary in the spring of 1940. This bitter joke pervaded among ordinary people in Bucharest and reflected the situation of the Romanian Jews at that time.

Dorian's diary is the starting point for the documentary Dead Nation from Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude. The director has made a thought-provoking documentary in a minimalist visual style. The entire film is based on photographs taken in a photo studio in Romania in the 1930s-1940s. The photographs almost never function as illustrations for the diary texts, but rather form an ironic counterpoint.

The photographs are portraits of smiling Romanians in traditional folk costumes, pictures from family events, of church leaders, soldiers and solemn celebrations. They are shown at the same time as a narrator's voice describes how the persecution of the Jews escalated, with Dorian's diary notes intertwined with. . .

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