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Chuck Norris vs. Communism

United Kingdom | 2015 | 82 minutes | Ilinca Calugareanu

Film really can change the world, as proven in 1980s Romania, where a black-market business of re-dubbed VHS tapes of blockbuster Hollywood films—ranging from Chuck Norris actioners to Spielberg classics—sparked a revolution that went from the couches to the streets. Director Ilinca Calugareanu scheduled to attend. Selected as a Pick by four SIFF Programmers!

May 21, 2015
Lincoln Square Cinemas  
8:30 PM Date has passed
May 30, 2015
SIFF Cinema Egyptian  
8:30 PM Date has passed

Director Ilinca Calugareanu scheduled to attend

June 1, 2015
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
4:30 PM Date has passed

Director Ilinca Calugareanu scheduled to attend

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It's not unusual that our staff selects the same film as a Programmers' Pick. What's crazy about this selection are the Programmers that loved this film: Maryna Ajaja (Russia/Eastern Europe), Clinton McClung (Midnight Adrenaline), Andy Spletzer (Alternative Cinema), and Brad Wilke (Catalyst).

Communist Romania in the 1980s was a time of cultural isolation and ideological censorship, but bubbling under the surface was a movement of disparate crowds who would gather for clandestine meetings to experience the most forbidden of fruits—bootleg VHS tapes of Western action movies. Behind it all was the shadowy figure of Teodor Zamfir, the Godfather of illegal VHS tapes, who smuggled thousands of Hollywood movies behind the Iron Curtain, primarily genre films featuring stars like Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. He hired a female translator, Irena Nistor, to watch the films and live dub them with Romanian narration, which she did with unprecedented speed and a growing infatuation with the art of cinema. Director Ilinca Calugareanu grew up attending these clandestine VHS nights, where friends would revel in stories of heroism and marvel at the lavish settings which featured such rarely seen symbols of freedom as fully stocked supermarkets and wild fashion trends. This nostalgic and thrilling documentary combines dramatic reenactments, interviews, and scenes from the best (and worst) of ’80s cinema to tell an inspiring tale of how movies really can change the world.

Director Biography
Ilinca Calugareanu is a London-based Romanian director and editor. She studied filmmaking at Manchester’s Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. She recently completed her debut feature film Chuck Norris vs Communism which premiered at Sundance 2015. Ilinca is interested in compelling and surprising stories and in pushing the boundaries of dynamic storytelling.

Sponsored by American Romanian Cultural Society

Director: Ilinca Calugareanu
Country: United Kingdom, Romania, Germany
Year: 2015
Running Time: 82 minutes
Producer: Mara Adina, Brett Ratner
Screenplay: Ilinca Calugareanu
Cinematographers: Jose Ruiz
Editors: Per K. Kirkegaard
Music: Anne Nikitin, Rob Manning
Website: Official Film Website
Filmography: Debut Feature Film
Language: Romanian
HasSubTitles: Yes
Format: DCP
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