Debug Your Mind

Manusi Rosii / Red Gloves (2010) by Radu Gabrea

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on September 1, 2011

Together with Cel mai iubit dintre pămînteni / The Most Beloved from the Earth by Şerban Marinescu and Binecuvântată fii închisoare/ Bless You Prison by Nicolae Mărgineanu, this is the best non-documentary feature I have ever seen about the Communist jails. Inspired by a real fact, it dramatizes the real story of a young student in Cluj Napoca, in the late 50s and early 60s.

The historical set is this: in 1956, the Hungarians were encouraged by CIA to start a Revolution against the Russians. The Americans backed down on their intentions and the Russians entered Budapest with the tanks. The leaders of the movement have been jailed or killed, and a period of opression started against all the Magyars and the Szekelys, including those living in Transilvanya, a region of Romania with a special status. The Communist regime in Romania has been the toughest from all the Socialist countries in the Central Europe during the Cold War. As a Romanian, when I saw Das Leben Der Anderen I really didn’t understand why those people were complaining, compared to what happened in Romania during the Gheorghiu-Dej and Ceauşescu regimes.

“Red Gloves” is the adaptation of the journal written by the main character, condemned and tortured for a crime he never commited, forces through torture to condemn people to jail. The film really presents the heart of the issue from a human perspective and helps us understand the system, the opression and the conditions then. The music is absolutely superb.

Radu Gabrea is one of the most talented, yet less known film directors in Romania, especially since he preffered doing films in Germany during communism. Unfortunately, you wonţt find a great deal of information on the Internet Movie Database about those.

I have fortunately participated, two months ago, to the official launch of the picture in Cluj-Napoca, where the film director, the author of the book and the main actor participated. The hall was very warm. One of the most impressive things was that one of the participants at the launch has confessed it is the most realistic depiction of the jail conditions he also has experimented, as a political prisoner.

If you want to read further on Romanian communism,  there are a few non-Romanian recommendations I would have:

Les espions russes de Staline à Poutine : Les dossiers secrets by Patrick Pesnot & Monsieur X, chapter about Romanian Revolution
Revolution 1989: Fall of the Soviet Empire by Victor Sebastyen, chapter about the Romanian Revolution
The books are also available in Romanian, from Litera International.

and the documentary Videogramme einer Revolution, directed by Harun FarockiAndrei Ujica.

“Manusi rosii” can be seen in cinemas across the country.

My rating: 8 / 10 (Masterpiece)



5 Responses to “Manusi Rosii / Red Gloves (2010) by Radu Gabrea”

  1. […] În planul filmului, avem, desigur serialul Memorialul durerii, După-amiaza unui torţionar, Mănuşi roşii şi operele cinematografice şi documentare ale lui Nicolae Mărgineanu şi, mai nou – 7 […]

  2. […] citeşte […]

  3. […] Manusi Rosii / Red Gloves (2010) […]

  4. […] of the screen. Radu Gabrea, director of the docudrama “Red Gloves” (reviewed in English here) and one of the most productive and respected Romanian documentarists offers us yet another […]

  5. […] Before giving you the technical information, I was totally impressed. I am a passioned documentaries fan and I can solemnly say I have never, in my life, seen, such a well-organized, international and facts-providing initiative, which can truly be called historical. The challenge is to surprise the impact of communism on the countries from the Central Europe (Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia) and Western Europe (Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany) which were behind the Iron Courtain, starting the 1975 moment, until the fall of the USSR, from the points of view of the survivours, which have sent postcards. These postcards, now investigated as historical documents, provide important insights which have not come out until 2011. The documentary offers a unique perspective on the social dimension: how did the day-to-day existence of those who lived in thos times actually looked like? Considering it documents events from 30-40 years ago, this builds upon the fact I already stated my chronicle of Red Gloves. […]

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