Alexander Nanau

Romania, Luxembourg, 2019 / 109 min / Romanian OV with French and English subt. / documentary

Luxembourgish Premiere

An explosive observational documentary revealing the sickening lies and corruption following a fatal nightclub fire in Bucharest.

In 2015, a fire in the Bucharest “Colectiv” night club immediately claimed 27 lives, but 37 more people died during the weeks that followed due to inadequate hospital facilities and rampant infections. Not only were the hospitals, even the so-called specialised burn unit, unequipped to handle burn victims, but the disinfectant used in medical facilities nationwide was being diluted to the point of losing all effectiveness at killing bacteria. Eventually, the shameless lies spouted by the Romanian ministers and the revelations that followed brought down the government. But the unprecedented fight against the thick, murky swamp of corruption that followed didn’t last long.

“Journalism's role at exposing corruption has rarely been as dramatically portrayed as in Collective, in which filmmaker Alexander Nanau follows an unfolding investigation in real time.” Toronto International Film Festival

Fri 06/03 21:00 Cinémathèque RO OV with FR & EN subt. Public
Tue 10/03 18:30 Ciné Utopia RO OV with FR & EN subt. Public
Wed 11/03 20:30 Cinémathèque RO OV with FR & EN subt. Public

“An explosive observational documentary revealing the sickening lies and corruption following a fatal nightclub fire in Bucharest in 2015. […] Every now and then a documentary doesn’t just open your eyes but tears you apart by exposing a moral rift with resonance far beyond the film’s home country. “Collective,” Alexander Nanau’s explosive observational documentary about unfathomable corruption at the heart of the Romanian medical industry, is such a work. […] the corrosive corruption revealed has ramifications far greater than just in Romania, for it’s indicative of a worldwide phenomenon in which people feel so disconnected from others that empathy has been replaced by avarice, and strangers are viewed as abstractions. This is truly a documentary for our times, deserving of widespread exposure.” Jay Weissberg, Variety, 6/09/2019

“One of the brilliant elements of Nanau’s work is how he completely focuses on Romania and this one situation while silently insisting on it being seen as a reflection of a worldwide sickness. It’s not just the lies, spouted so often that truth seems an antiquated concept, but the total absence of compassion.” Jay Weissberg, Variety, 6/09/2019

“[I]n its narrative tautness, this documentary can hold its own alongside the best of Romania’s contemporary fiction. A serious, composed approach to emotionally charged content, together with focus on a journalistic investigation, gives Collective something of the compelling pull of high-profile docudramas such as SpotlightJonathan Romney, ScreenDaily, 4/09/2019

“Alexander Nanau’s absorbing documentary is a nonfiction “Spotlight” that […] captures each bracing new chapter in the investigation — including terrifying amateur footage of the fire itself — with such unfettered access that it’s a wonder the movie doesn’t have a script. […] It’s one of the greatest movies about journalism ever made, and its lessons extend far beyond the borders of home country.” Eric Kohn, IndieWire, 14/09/2019

“Tense, tightly edited and emotional, this observational exposé will be ringing bells and sparking outrage long after its festival run.” Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, 15/09/2019

“This Romanian doc from Alexander Nanau was, hands down, the closest thing we saw at this year’s [Toronto International Film Festival] to a full-on masterpiece—a stunning nonfiction counterpart to every one of the country’s New Wave narrative features about power, corruption and lies.” David Fear, Rolling Stone, 16/09/2019

“Nanau successfully combines the suspense — worthy of a thriller — of the journalists’ successive discoveries and the attempts of a new minister to fix the system, with sequences dedicated to the victims and survivors that are devoid of pathos but infinitely respectful. […] Collective is a thrilling and terrifying documentary, shot and edited with a masterful hand, which demonstrates with ruthless honesty that ending nepotism, politicisation, and conflicts of interest is a difficult, long, sometimes exasperating process that relies on the shoulders of a few pugnacious and clear-headed individuals working for the common good.” Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa, 18/10/2019

  • Best International Documentary, Zurich Film Festival, 2019 (Switzerland)
  • Special Jury Prize, Festival International du Film de La Roche-sur-Yon, 2019 (France)
Cast & Credits
Cătălin Tolontan, Răzvan Luțac, Camelia Roiu, Tedy Ursuleanu, Vlad Voiculescu, Narcis Hogea
Alexander Nanau, Antoaneta Opris
Alexander Nanau
Michel Schillings, Mihai Grecea, Angelo Dos Santos
Kyan Bayani
Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film, HBO Europe

Alexander Nanau is a German-Romanian director, screenwriter and cinematographer born in Bucharest in 1979. After emigrating to Germany with his family in 1990, he starts studying directing at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. At the end of his studies, he directs his first documentary feature Peter Zadek inszeniert Peer Gynt (2006). Next, he works on The World According to Ion B. (2009) which goes on to win an Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming and is screened at more than 50 festivals. In 2015, after winning the Best Documentary Award in Zurich, his third documentary Toto and His Sisters (2014) takes home the Documentary Award – by BGL BNP Paribas at the Luxembourg City Film Festival. In 2016, it also wins the France Culture Cinéma Award in Cannes. Collective (2019) is his fourth documentary feature.

  • 2019 – Colectiv (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)
  • 2014 – Toto and His Sisters (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)
  • 2009 – The World According to Ion B. (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)
  • 2006 – Peter Zadek inszeniert Peer Gynt (documentaire / documentary / Dokumentarfilm)