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Cinematic Dissidence: Copel Moscu’s Essay Subversiveness in Ceaușescu’s Romania



This article explores Copel Moscu’s short essay films Evening Classes / Seraliștii (1982) and A Day Like Any Other / Va veni o zi (1985), analysing how a critical and political perspective was developed by the filmmaker under the inquisitive view of the communist regime’s censorship. Moscu worked for the Sahia Film Studio production house, the official mouthpiece of the communist regime which employed documentarists to film and present the regime’s achievements. He worked within these state-imposed limitations, managing to avoid the studio’s directives by treating the reality he filmed in a highly creative manner. The two short essay films above-mentioned have a common denominator: as they depict the working lives of proletarians, a new and personal perspective is constructed by the filmmaker who employs associative editing practices, creating and cultivating a space of in-betweenness that engages viewers in a dialogue. This dialogue was carefully coded by Moscu to be able to bypass the censors employed by the state-owned production house. The dialogic form was a self-reference tool for the director who took the reality he filmed and rearranged it through creative editing. As a result, his own self was revealed to the viewers, and his condition of an artists subjected to censorship became clear. His evading practices of the subject matter imposed by the state became the means through which the director signaled oppressive practices. Moscu hoped to create meaning through a fluid interchange with the viewers, by which his personal experience and perspectives shone through. His aim was to criticise the political regime.

Keywords: essay film, subversiveness, communist censorship, associative montage, self-reference

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.26.11