Romanian nightclub fire documentary named as one of best ever films about journalism

In 2015, 27 people died after a fire at the “Collectiv” nightclub in the Romanian capital Bucharest, but subsequent investigative reporting revealed that many more victims died as a result of massive corruption in the country’s health service.

A documentary that premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival has been described as one of the best films ever made about journalism. The film is called “Collective,” after the nightclub.

“I think the biggest challenge (is) balance because we have three storylines,” explained German-Romanian film director Alexander Nanau at the time.

“We have journalists, we have citizens, who are also the victims of the fire and the parents of those who died in the fire, and we have the state with the system…the film takes purely observation, so it’s really cinéma vérité, it takes a look behind closed doors into newsrooms, behind closed doors into the ministry of health and its very close and intimate with normal citizens. The story is actually like a real-life thriller between journalists, the state and citizens.”

So powerful were the revelations of corruption and negligence in the Romanian health service uncovered by journalists that Prime Minister Victor Ponta was forced to step down after massive protests.

At the time, Nanau followed events as they happened. His documentary is an uncompromising look at the impact of investigative journalism at its best.

The film was selected as the Romanian entry for the Best International Feature Film for the Oscars and also has been nominated for a European Film Award.

The winner of the best European documentary will be announced during the online award ceremony on December 12.

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