Despite its title, this incredible film that was ten years in the making, takes place in a darker and colder Romania, set in 1988 towards the end of the communist regime. Jesus del Cerro, a Spanish director based in Romania, wrote and directed this beautiful, historical, and moving story. Although, don’t be fooled by the setting either—this is not a film about communism, it is the exact opposite. This is a film about freedom and hope.
Without giving away spoilers, the story is about the Florescu family, who is set to inherit $3M from an uncle who managed to escape Romania many years ago and made it all the way to Hawaii where he built a a great life for himself. The problem is, if the family were to claim the inheritance in Romania, the inheritance would go to the Romanian government and not the family. So, Andrei Florescu, played by Dragos Bucur (who is also a producer of the film), is determined to get to the American embassy in Yugoslavia to claim the family’s inheritance. At first, it’s about the money, and the idea that the money would set them free and get them out of their bogged down situation; but ultimately, as he is set back by various obstacles, he realizes it’s much more than that. It’s about his individual freedom as a person, the freedom of his family, his neighbors, the freedom to be able to have a chocolate and banana cake for his niece’s 8th birthday as she desires without risking his and his family’s safety. It’s about having control over your own destiny.
Jesus is a visionary. I have gotten to know him over the last few years and we have become good friends, because of our love for storytelling, and in particular telling stories that make a human connection and stories of hope.
I finally got to see the finished masterpiece here in LA when it was the opening film for the South East European Film Festival. He is a brilliant writer, and while I think anyone else who would have told this story would have told a much darker and slower story, Jesus’ beats are impeccable. The story moves well, and it never once feels slow. There was laughter, frustration, fear, determination, and joy. For the Romanians in the theatre who lived through this era, it was a piece of magic that brought their home to them and acknowledged the history that once was.
This was not based on any one true story, but many true stories that Jesus heard from Romanians within his first couple of years of living in Romania. He was inspired by these stories and spent ten years bringing them to life.
For many Americans, Romania and communism will seem far away—another time and another world, but the story here is so relevant to much of what is going on in our world today. It is also very relevant to each of us as human beings. It is such a beautiful film, and the sad reality is that most people outside of Romania and other festivals that have and will screen this film, will not get to see this incredible piece of filmmaking and storytelling. You never know though, we’ll cross our fingers for wider distribution.
Bravo, Jesús, bravo!
BIG LOVE & HUGS