Scarred Hearts
(dir. Radu Jude, Romania / Germany 2016, 141′)
Lecture preceding the film: Mihai Fulger (Romanian Film Archive)

Based on an autobiographical novel by Max Blecher.

In the summer of 1937, twenty-something Emanuel was sent to a sanatorium on the Black Sea, where bone tuberculosis is treated. Treatment consists of painful punctures in the spine that bind him to the rehabilitation bed. Slowly, however, Emanuel gets used to hospital inconveniences, the more that he discovers that in the sanatorium you can live a full life. He makes friends with new people, engages in conversations, mainly political ones. He even experiences a romantic affair, but in the meantime, extreme right-wing and nationalist tendencies come to the fore in Romanian society.

Although it is quite an extravagant and farce in both an episodic form and an absurd, exaggerated story (reminding of Radu Jude’s previous film Aferim!), there is a dark, hidden meaning behind it. The late 1930s, is a moment the old order in the world will be crumbling into ruins, a peaceful stay in a Black Sea sanatorium has something of the climate of the final ball on the Titanic…

Mihai Fulger is a film critic and curator based in Bucharest. He has been active as a film critic since 2002, writing over 1,000 cinema-related articles for cultural and general publications, as well as for websites and blogs, both in Romanian and English. He has been a member of the Film Critics’ Association within the Romanian Filmmakers’ Union (UCIN) and of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) since 2007, as well of the European Film Academy (EFA) since 2018. He has collaborated, mostly as programmer, with various film festivals in Romania since 2007. He served as FIPRESCI Jury member in several major international film festivals (Berlin, Busan, Cluj, Gijón, Stockholm, Warsaw, etc.). His first individual book, “The New Wave in Romanian Cinema”, was awarded in 2007 with the “George Littera” prize of the Film Critics’ Association for the best cinema book. He is one of the founding editors of the “Film” quarterly magazine, published by UCIN since 2013. Since 2012 he has been working for the Romanian National Film Archive (ANF), mostly as a director and programmer of the Romanian Cinematheque in Bucharest. He is currently following a PhD in film studies.

The screening is organised in cooperation with the Romanian Institute of Culture in Warsaw.