Scarred Hearts


Scarred Hearts

Director: Radu Jude
Country: Romania/Germany
Year: 2016
Running time: 141 min
In Romanian with English subtitles

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During the summer of 1937, Emanuel, a young man in his early twenties, is committed to a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast for treatment of his bone tuberculosis. The treatment consists of painful spine punctures that confine him to a body cast on a stretcher-bed. Little by little, as Emanuel gets accustomed to the limitations of his new life, he discovers that inside the sanatorium there is still a life to be lived to the fullest. He makes friends and engages in conversations, political for the most part. He reads, he writes, he smokes and drinks, interacts with doctors, nurses and stretcher-bearers. He observes how healing seems to happen transiently, following mysterious laws: some patients get better, some worse, others die. He even has a romantic relationship, while Romania outside the sanatorium doesn‘t have much to offer him, turning more and more into an extreme right- wing society... Radu Jude’s fourth feature film has won acclaim on the world film festival circuit since its premiere in Locarno last year—notably for its frank approach (reflecting that of the film’s subject, the writer Max Blecher) to illness and death. Despite the subject matter, the film is anything but a “downer,” depicting both the absurdist humor of the protagonist’s situation and the zest with which he and his compatriots embrace life, limited though it may be.



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  • 12/2-8/16 Making Waves, Pleasantville, NY
  • 1/11-24/17 New York Jewish Film Festival, New York, NY
  • 1/12-26/17 Miami Jewish Film Festival, Miami, FL
  • 4/21-24/17 Locarno in LA, Los Angeles, CA
  • 5/17-28/17 Washington Jewish Film Festival, Washington, DC
  • 6/11/17 Oak Cliff Film Festival, Dallas, TX
  • 8/16/17 Philadelphia Film Society, Philadelphia, PA
  • 11/5,8/17 Cine-World Film Festival, Sarasota, FL
  • 11/3-12/17 Rehoboth Beach Film Festival, Rehoboth Beach, MD
  • 11/15-18/17 Key West Film Festival, Key West, FL
  • 11/17-19/17 ARCS Romanian Film Festival, Seattle, WA
  • 2/21/18 Austin Film Society, Austin, TX
  • with many more to be announced


"This fanatically detailed, intellectually furious drama, set in 1937, in a Romanian seaside sanitarium, catches a young Jewish writer in the jaws of disease and of Fascism. Based on the autobiographical writings of Max Blecher, it shows Emanuel (Lucian Teodor Rus), a handsome and accomplished poet, enduring treatment for Pott’s disease—tuberculosis of the bone, which is rotting away his spine. The director, Radu Jude, unfolds the horrific treatment, involving long needles, tight wraps, and a full-body cast, with an unflinching and fascinated specificity that contrasts with the teeming theatrical tableaux in which he films life in the lavish facility. The medical regimen provides a background for the slow-motion whirl of young intellectuals, politicians, and socialites who turn the hospital into a microcosm of European diseases of the soul. Nighttime parties for youths with prostheses, crutches, and braces devolve into sordid roars of patriotic, militaristic, and anti-Semitic chants. Sex is rampant and calamitously unsatisfying; literary ambitions and romantic dreams seep away along with physical ability. The unstinting exertions of the medical personnel and the patients’ high-toned intelligence are as useless against disease as they are against Hitler and his local epigones. In Romanian." — Richard Brody, The New Yorker






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