Romanian National Box Office Champ: The Survivor

By Anca Paduraru
    Romania's top grossing local film in 2008 was Sergiu Nicolaescu's The Survivor, with a total of 26,772 tickets sold over 17 weeks of screening, to a total of about €86,600.

    To Nicolaescu this may have come as no surprise, as he was the darling of the Romanian movie goers all through his almost 50-year long career as a director and actor.

    The Survivor [www.supravietuitorul.ro] also skimmed the cream at the December 2006 national selection of movie projects, receiving the highest amount of public funding from the National Council for the Film Industry, almost €4.6 million.

    Produced by MediaPro Pictures and distributed nationally and internationally by MediaPro Distribution, The Survivor picks up the story of police officer Moldovan, which Nicolaescu portrayed in five previous films, during the Communist regime.

    Nicolaescu used his childhood memories about his uncle, Gheorghe Cambrea, who was imprisoned for 15 years by the Communists, as the model for the character Moldovan. The real life police officer stood out in Nicolaescu's memory as a smart dresser, always wearing a hat, shoes with a particular style, and driving an American car.

    The convoluted plot of The Survivor develops in the '40s and in the '70s, so the challenge of this sixth sequel of the crime series was to find pairs of actors that would look very similar, so as to play the same characters at 40-year time distance. And the story shows police officer Moldovan once again pitched against his arch rivals.

    The lead part is plaid by Nicolaescu paired with Czech actor Petr Falc, as his younger version, and continues with a group of long-time friends and actors Nicolaescu used in the previous parts of the series: Vladimir Gaitan, Ion Dichiseanu, Jean Constantin, George Mihaita, George Alexandru, completed by the younger Cristian Iacob, Lucian Viziru, Cristian Motiu.