A Romanian director rejects a medal from the head of state, in protest at the cinema’s lack of support to confront the pandemic

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Bucharest: Romanian director Alexander Nanao refused to receive a medal awarded to him by the Romanian president after winning the admiration of the public and critics for his documentary “Kollectif”, which deals with a fire in a nightclub that resulted in deaths. Nanao wanted his step to be a protest against “indifference” towards the cultural sector at the time of the Covid pandemic -19.

“It would be a great hypocrisy on my part to accept this medal at a time when the film industry is suffering clinical death,” Nanao (41 years) wrote in a letter to President Klaus Iohannes on Tuesday.

The director was recently informed of Yohannes’s decision to award him the “Cultural Merit” award on the occasion of the Romanian Culture Day on January 15th.

However, Nanau argued, the Romanian authorities should instead celebrate the day by “implementing concrete solutions to save this sector”, because “most of the production companies, independent theaters, cinemas and distribution companies will be already closed when the health crisis ends.”

And Bucharest confirmed in recent months that the film sector would receive official aid, but a number of workers in this field said that these promises remained on paper.

Former US President Barack Obama included the Nanao documentary in his list of the best films of 2020, and deals with the scandal that followed a fire in the “Kollective” nightclub in Bucharest, which left 64 people dead.

Twenty-six people died at the scene of the fire, while 38 others died in the following months, and most of them died from infections they sustained in hospitals.

The film seeks to discover the shortcomings in the Roman hospital system, which are often caused by corruption.

Among the most notable awards that Kollective has received are the European Film Award for Best Documentary Film of 2020, and the Best Foreign Language Film Award from the National Society of Film Critics in the United States in early January.







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