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Bucharest Delta

Le Delta de Bucarest

1984: the year I was born. Ceaușescu ordered the demolition of an architectural monument of the 18th century, the imposing Văcăresti monastery in Bucharest, transformed into a political prison in the 20th century. He wanted to build an artificial lake in its place. After having built five kilometres of walls, he did not have time to see the completion of his project. History caught up with him as he was executed in 1989. The abandoned land of what had been Văcăresti, protected by the walls, faded from collective consciousness.

In The Garden of Forking Paths, Borges describes a garden that appears as you look at it. As far as I’m concerned, I intend to film an abandoned land, while projecting upon it the dreams of the past and the future, which both transform and transcend the place. A political prison, a natural park, a Roma settlement – a “film space” develops in the place of abandoned land.

Making this documentary means plunging back into my memories, but going even further back, before my birth, to seek the history of the place. The trigger is Lena Constante's tapestry, sent to me in Paris by my mother. Lena was a political prisoner. Trying to learn more about her years in Văcărești prison, I found out that a great number of women gave birth in between this prison's walls. Today, Romas are born in that same geograophical place, between the lake's walls in similar conditions as the political prisoners back in the 60s.

This documentary is a plunge into a world that is simultaneously extremely cruel and exceptionally beautiful, a product of the dreams of each generation. It is these dreams that helped women to survive decades in prison, tortured and isolated, with no books or paper to evade their situation anywhere but in their own heads. Ceaușescu’s dream of creating a lake spanning several hectares was a crazy one. Văcăresti today represents a dream for young architects and ecologists who have come to project their vision of a better and cleaner future.
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