Winner of the Grand Prix at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, I Do Not care if we go down in History as Barbarians is a politically incisive and highly entertaining satire, punctuating Radu Jude’s concern with Romania’s troubled past, the representation of history and the dynamics at play within its narratives of power.
Theatre director Mariana Marin (Ioana Iacob) is holding auditions for a city-hall commissioned re-enactment of the Odessa massacre – a dark moment of Romania’s World War 2 history where its army massacred tens of thousands of the city’s Jewish population. Driven by the moral and ethical responsibility of authentically recreating the event, Mariana’s militancy for historical verisimilitude is met with opposition by the charismatic city-hall representative Movilă (Alexandru Dabija) and her rag-tag group of volunteer re-enactors, horrified by her recuperation of history.
What follows is a Debordian coup-de-grace, revealing Jude as one of the most important contemporary directors engaging with history onscreen. A deeply resonant film, Barbarians showcases Jude’s uncompromising vision and artistic vigor, bearing witness to history and echoing today’s parochial political populism, reminding us of the old adage that forgotten history is bound to be repeated.
Directed by: Radu Jude