The Historical Film Festival from Rasnov


Rasnov is a  Romanian town situated at the  massive Postavaru Mountain, close to the  Bucegi and Piatra Craiului Mountains. It has just 16 000 residents all Romanians, Germans, Romas and Hungarians.

The place has a beautiful history from the old times of Dacians (more than two thousands years ago) when the place had the name Komidava, after Cumidava. People in here like to say that this place had the most ancient Romanian roots from the Tharacians, Dacians (a Thracians family), Romans (after the Roman colonization).

Well, in 1331, the area appears in documents as “Rosnou” (the “Rose meadow” in German)  and in 1343 as “Rosnov”. From those times, the town developed as a noticeable economic area through the craft guilds like woodworkers, glassmakers, weavers, soon after, gunpowder producers. Tourism was also developed.  And because Rosnov was situated in an open area, on a road between “Tara Barsei” and “Pasul Bran” and many invaders (mostly Turks and Tartars) used to invade and destroy everything that the citizens built, the people from Rosnov decided to move in the mountains and make in there a strong fortress. The citadel had it’s own Church, school, food pantry – everything that a town has inside. The most rich people from Rosnov, mostly Germans, had their own house inside the citadel and when the invaders came, they could move up in the fortress. Today, the Mediaeval Citadel is a representation for Rasnov and it is an important touring place in Romania as well.


Here was organized the fourth edition of the Historical Film Festival and the first edition of the HistorySummer School. Well, both events were closely related and the summer school participants enjoyed seeing the movies from the festival and assisting to some very interesting debates.
 From the movies, I would like to recommend:
1. California Dreamin’ , a Romanian production under Cristian Nemescu’s direction. It is based on a true story in 1999 during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, when  a train containing American radar equipment required in Kosovo, guarded by a small troop of American and Romanian soldiers, went through Romania and was stopped for four days in a small village, Capalnita,  because some customs papers were missing. The movie is both funny, interesting and entertaining.

2. Senna – a documentary about Ayrton Senna, a Formula 1 pilot. Documentary made under Asif Kapadia direction. A good documentary.

3. The King of Devil’s Island. It is a true story, directed by Marius Holst, about the terror in the Bastoy Prison, Norvey, a place for re-educating children and teenagers. Must be seen.

4. Crulic. A real story about a  (Romanian citizen with Polish origins), who dies  in a Polish prison because of hunger strike, being accused of something he didn’t do, even he had the proof of innocence. The Polish law didn’t check the information before imprisoning him and even when he sent letters to the Romanian Embassy, nothing happened.  In 2008 the Foreign Ministry, Adrian Cioroianu resigned from his function because of this incident.  A very sad and unfair story for this young man.  The director is Anca Damian.

5. War Horse.  You must see it. That’s why I will not comment on it at all. Director: Steven Spielberg.


More movies from the Festival, you can find here.


About the Summer School debates, I will point out some very interesting subjects as:

  1. The history of Germans in Romania. (In the Communist period, they were sold to Germany.  The story of this event is incredible, but true. There are a couple of movies on this subject, one of them is “Cocosul decapitat/Der gekoepfte Hahn”)
  2. The terrorism from 1972 at the Olympic Games in Munich  where a group of Palestinians killed 11 Jewish sport champions. There is a documentary about this subject, called “A day in September” (directed by Kevin Macdonald)  and a movie called “Munich” (directed by Steven Spielberg) .
  3. The Communism crimes in Romania. (I will comment later on, in the next post, with some more detailed information about this subject).
  4. The history of Greek people in Romania.
  5. Nicolae Milescu Spataru’s trip in China.  He was a Romanian scholar, teacher and writer in the XVII century.


I find the idea of a summer school at the Film Festival simply great! I shall say congratulation to the organizers.


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