Somebody said that one’s homeland is where one spends her childhood. In the case of Emilia, Sunt o Babă Comunistă’s main character, it’s her youth, when thanks to Ceaușescu‘s regime, she got a permanent job in a factory and even received an apartment for free. The film, from 2013 and opening the Romanian cinema festival at Cinema Doré in Madrid, depicts life in a provincial town far from Bucharest around 2010, when the ex-dictator’s body is being exhumed to check his DNA. Many years have passed after his fall and execution in 1989, but his name and controversial legacy are still on everyone’s lips, especially for the economic crisis, the exhumation news and a movie that is being filmed in town depicting a frustrated visit of the “First Romanian communist comrade” to the factory. Director Stere Gulea, famous in his country for his movie Morometii, a 1988’s adaptation from a popular novel from between Wars and being shown today in the cinema series, successfully contrasts the conflicting feelings and ideas of Ceaușescu’s supporters with their younger (and not so, like the teacher and seamstress) detractors’. Even Emilia, who still proudly keeps her Communist Party membership card hidden behind a religious image, recalls the nonsensical cult to the personality that the ex-dictator cultivated; images in black and white take us to her past, which is been observed by old Emilia as a black-and-white spectator, same as in another memorable film dealing with the end of the Soviet time in the Balkans, Ulysses’ Gaze, by Theo Angelopoulos. Ceaușescu’s anecdote is just another but related one of the stories narrated in the film, actually showing the daughter’s visit from Canada with her boyfriend, an unavoidable childish and politically correct North American young man. Alice, played by Ana Ularu, an attractive actress with exotic facial features, is the one in the couple down to earth and strong enough as to face realistically their economic problems. And again, modern-time values are questioned when the crisis in the capitalist West requires help from the remainders of Communism for the former to survive.
P.S.: And surprising the resemblance of the Romanian “baba” actress with a Spaniard, the also actress Concha Cuetos.