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Crulic – The Path to Beyond Gets A Special Mention at Locarno Festival

August 15, 2011 2 comments

The film festival in Locarno ended on Saturday and among this year laurels there is a special mention for a Polish-Romanian animated documentary. Is that the only reason I mention this particular film event here, on Frogs and Squash? Well, … 🙂

Anyway, Crulic – The Path to Beyond seems to be worth mentioning for at least a couple of reasons: the true story the plot is based on as well the mix of animated techniques the film uses to tell it. The film’s directed by Anca Damian (there is a nice interview with Anca Damian available from the Press section on Crulic website), produced by Aparte Film but also co-produced by Fundacja im. Ferdynanda Magellana and Romanian Ministry of Culture and the Romanian Heritage/ Editura Video, Krakow Festival Office.

Synopsis: Narrated from beyond the grave by its main protagonist, this animated feature-length documentary tells the life story of Crulic, a 33-year-old Romanian, who died in a Polish prison while on a hunger strike. On July 11, 2007, an important Polish judge is robbed and around 500 Euros are withdrawn using his credit cards. On September 10, Crulic is accused of the crime and brought to the Krakow Detention Centre, where he immediately starts a hunger strike. Claiming he was in Italy on the day of the theft, his demands are clear: he wants a meeting with a Romanian Consulate representative and another attorney. At the beginning of 2008, Crulic’s deteriorating health prompts the court to release him. But it is too late; the young man dies sixteen hours later. A strong visual style, the result of beautifully blending hand drawn, collage, stop-motion and cut-cut animation techniques, create a striking, surprisingly integrated and memorable film.

The true story: On the 11th of July 2007, a wallet belonging to an important Polish Judge, containing some credit cards, is stolen: on the same day, there are two withdrawals from the cards: total value, about 500 Euro. Crulic had previously been accused of another theft. On the 10th of September, he is accused of having stolen from the Judge on the 11th of July. Crulic is brought to the Krakow Detention Center Custody prison. He decided to start a hunger strike from the day he was arrested, asking for: a meeting with somebody from the Romanian Consulate, a change of the attorney. In exchange, the Consul writes an answer to Crulic, in which he advises him to put his trust in Polish justice. Crulic claimed he was in Italy at the day  of the theft, and not only the bus ticket, but also the record containing the passengers’ names, confirms his innocence. At the beginning of December, his detention  was lengthened by 3 months. In the first days of 2008, the man’s condition was already very bad. Finally, on the 11th of January the prison doctors, decided to force-feed him via a probe. A needle perforated Crulic’s pleura. That led to complications. Finally, the Court agreed to release the man so that he could be treated in a civilian hospital. The ambulance took Crulic to the Interior Ministry Hospital: he had muscular and tissue atrophy, and suffered from pneumothorax. He died after 16 hours. Press investigation started in both countries. The repercussions of the investigation have concluded with the resignation of the Minister of the Foreign Affairs, while in Poland, 3 doctors were officially accused of Crulic’s death.

Below, is the film’s trailer (others available from Crulic vimeo channel):

Crulic Trailer 1 from Crulic Movie on Vimeo.

Also, if you’d like to read even more on this interesting project, check these links out:

Screendaily review (which is also my source of the picture above)

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