Romanian film review: Based on a true story- ‘Crulic – The Path to Beyond’

It’s just a few days until the International Animation Film Festival Anim’est (5-14 October) kicks off its seventh edition, so what better to get you in the mood for the upcoming animation marathon than last year’s opening film and all round sensation?

Based on a true story, Crulic – Drumul spre dincolo is an animated documentary about a tragic legal case that led to a massive public outrage four years ago. In autumn 2007 Claudiu Daniel Crulic, a Romanian citizen from Dorohoi, was arrested in Poland for allegedly having robbed a Polish judge. Imprisoned and insisting on his innocence while contacting Romanian authorities in vain, Crulic went on a radical hunger strike and eventually died a few months later. The events led to the resignation of then Romanian Minister for Foreign Affairs Adrian Cioroianu and the prosecution of three Polish physicians for serious neglect.

The director Anca Damian combines several animation techniques (ranging from 2D to 3D and from hand-drawn to computer-generated images) with live-action elements, making for wonderfully inventive visuals. They are accompanied by Crulic’s thoughts on the events told after his death with a mixture of the driest sense of humor and innocence, which thankfully make a film so critical of institutions a very human experience.

The film caused a wave of excitement last year not only due to its theme and style but mostly because it is the first Romanian animated long-feature to be produced in the last twenty years and a highly original one on top of that. It has been showered with national and international awards since its release and rightly so: it is one of the most beautiful and daring films to come out in recent years in Romania and if there is any justice at all, it should be seen by as many as possible. A great piece of satire, it will leave you outraged and make you smile at the same time. A wonderful achievement.

Crulic is currently programmed for HBO’s fall schedule. Watch the trailer below.

By Ioana Moldovan, Columnist