Radio Free Europe, which broadcast from Munich during the Cold War, was a thorn in the side of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu's real-socialist Romania. An enthralling documentary about the station's Romanian editorial team, financed first by the CIA and later by the US Congress, and its exiled employees, three of whom were most likely murdered by the Securitate.
The broadcasts of the Romanian editorial team of Radio Free Europe (RFE) were more than an alternative news source for Romanians, otherwise plagued as they were by state propaganda. The station also communicated appeals to and from private individuals or dissidents, played pop music for young audiences and even organised help for the suffering Bucharest population in the aftermath of the 1977 earthquake. This documentary from Alexandru Solomun embeds the story of RFE in the wider context of world politics, shedding light at the same time on western governments’ changing appraisals of the Ceaușescu regime and the censorship that occurred as a result, also at RFE. Former employees of RFE are also interviewed, as well as an unrepentant ex-Securitate employee and companions of three Romanian editors of RFE, including legendary journalist Noël Bernard, all of whom died under mysterious circumstances. Archive material and even a telephone interview with the notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who was allegedly involved in the 1981 bombing of RFE's Munich headquarters on behalf of the Securitate, complete what is a documentary rich in both content and entertainment. Also mentioned is the investigative group "Ether", which was tasked with tracking down young people who listened to RFE's rock and pop music broadcasts. The station's influence on pop culture in socialist Romania is also a thematised in METRONOM, which features in this year’s FFC Feature Film Competition.
Glad-House/Obenkino: Original version with english subtitles
Alexandru Solomon, Elvira Geppert, Paul Thiltges
Hi Film Productions, Geppert Productions, Paul Thiltges Distribution