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Farewell, Comrades!

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on November 26, 2011

On November 14th 2011, I participated at the screening of the first episode of the historical TV documentary from the miniseries “Farewell, Comrades!”. The discussions were interesting, as it was an event organised by the Romanian television, with the participation of Alexandru Solomon, Romania’s greatest documentary filmmaker alive. At the event, Christian Beetz, one of the German film producers, has answered some of the questions about the making of, both from mr. Solomon and the public. Alecu Solomon: De ce cred ca “Adio, Tovarasi!” (Farewell, Comrades!) este un proiect important [pdf ] Read here his interview on hotnews.

Directed by a leading European filmmaker with solid international experience, the series “FAREWELL, COMRADES!” will be of global historical significance. A dense network of eight leading European coproducers makes ”FAREWELL, COMRADES!” a true European project:

Agitprop (Bulgaria)
Bestafilm (Poland)
Havas Films (Hungary)
Hifilm (Romania)
Hypermarket Film (Czech Republic)
Lystopad/ Mark Edwards (Ukraine)
Trigon Production (Slovakia)

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 These postcards, now investigated as historical documents, provide important insights which have not come out until 2011.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.

The official trailer

The effort is not only one of documentation for video purposes, but also for a multimedia platform, open to the whole world as a library. The media platform is an enhancement which would make the Frontline news show media platform from the PBS channel look tiny. It allows thematic search, cronological searchand and interactivity. I really think this is the future of documentary in the XXIth Century.

Lena Thiele, Creative director and cross-media producer, is developing and producing new formats in the field of documentary film, online, mobile and games.

The platform also shows footage of the video archives studied, but not selected for the film – which you may watch online and comment about.

 

The narrative structure also has a creative appropach, as it is a dialogue between a young woman (Tatjana Neksrov) in her 20s, which is researching about the horrors of communism, and her father (Alexandr Neksrov, the film director), which tries to explain to her how the things were. I haven’t ever seen such an inciteful manner of presenting a documentary subject.

Although I have only seen the first part of the six-part series, it seemed to me to bring an objective perspective. I found the documentary rich in well-documented information, concise, well-done technically and fast paced.

The six-parts documentary has been contracted for airing by these broadcasters from all over Europe:

ARTE France
BNT (Bulgaria)
Ceska TV (Czech Republic)
ICTV (Ukraine)
Magyar TV (Hungary)
Slovak TV (Slovakia)
TSR (Switzerland)
TVP (Poland)
TVR (Romania)
YLE (Finland)
ZDF ARTE (Germany)

Frome here we find out the following:

For the very first time, ”FAREWELL, COMRADES!” fully associates Arte’s three branches, Arte France, Arte GEIE, and Arte Deutschland / ZDF, together with coproducers Artline Films (France) and Gebrüder Beetz (Germany).

… and the network grows on!

”FAREWELL, COMRADES!”  is supported by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

read the full list of partners in French  or in English.

The documentary started airing on November 17th on The Romanian National Television (TVR). HiFilm (The Romanian co-producer) editeda trailer for Romania.

Zelist.ro, the monitor of Romanian web 2.0, has considered the trailer for this documentary one of the most viral videos in the last period.

You may contribute to the presentation of this film in Romanian at Cinemagia, the local iMDB.

Other references:

Nu ratati: Serial fara precedent despre caderea comunismului
Official websites

Corabia lui Sebastian the author also has this blog

Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion:

photos 
Synopsis 
exhibition 
Book

web format description 

Torino Film Lab 

TVR începe difuzarea serialului „Farewell, Comrades!”- “Adio, tovarasi!”

 International Cities of refuge Network
ICORN Guest Writer Andrei Nekrasov releases major film documentary ‘Farewell, Comrades!’

Romanian website

International website in German, French, Russian and English.

Dan Tanasescu

Reelisor For more information, please contact the archive coordinator Antje Boehmert at: archive [at] farewellcomrades [dot] tv

Facebook

Iulia Blaga – Adio, dar rămân cu tine?

Later edit:

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam has commended this documentary and the film received

Prix Europa 2011 at the European Broadcasting Festival

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