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Children Underground

This modern tale ventures below the streets of Bucharest,Romania to introduce us to five members of a ‘family’ of orphaned,abandoned,or runaway children living in the Piata Victoriei station.With ages ranging from nine to midteens,the children beg and steal to buy food and Aurolac,which they sniff to get high.The intimate cinema verite style allows the children to speak for themselves with striking naturalness,revealing both the horrific conditions of their existence and their uninhibited,distinctive personalities. Cristian uses her rough boyish look to enforce her position as ringleader of the group.Mihai,the most reflective,regrets having left his mother and sister to the whims of his violent father and dreams of a conventional life and family. Ana fled terrible poverty and assumes a motherly role toward Marian,her younger brother.Finally,Macarena has lost nearly all sense of herself after four mind-numbing years of homelessness.In this tough film,reminiscent of black-and-white reportage of the depression,first-time director Edet Belzberg,with a style that is immediate,candid,brutal,and deeply humanistic,tells a riveting,cruel tale of children in Romania at the turn of this millenium. Children Underground is a disquieting portrait of a homeless community which is trying to survive its own inferno.

USA,2000
103mins

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