Chuck Norris vs. Communism

Loading the player ...

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!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

Lincoln Square Cinemas

8:30 PM Date has passed LLimited Availability

Saturday, May 30, 2015

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Egyptian

8:30 PM Date has passed Director Ilinca Calugareanu scheduled to attend

Monday, June 1, 2015

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

4:30 PM Date has passed Director Ilinca Calugareanu scheduled to attend

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
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP