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Calatoria lui Gruber 2008
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Released: 24 Apr 2009 Director: Radu Gabrea Writers: Alexandru Baciu, Razvan Radulescu Actors: Florin Piersic Jr., Marcel Iures, Udo Schenk, Claudiu Bleont Genres: Drama
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Calatoria lui Gruber Reviews:

To tell the least, a important picture. Furthermore, a very subtle mission of view, and an interesting, original approach to such an equally hard and terrifying subject. Well-paced, intelligent, and immensely saying on the topics of the delicate balance between the forces at enjoy in the historical moment in point. A wealth of notification delivered subtly gives the movie body and weight. Nice performances from most artists with a - by actually - expected yet nice power of transformation from Claudiu Bleont, this very versatile actor. Nice debut for Mr. Piersic Jr in a star role, and a great guest appearance from Mr. Iures. Needless to tell I am sad that the film's reception so far in its native country looks cooler than could be. I hope it will victory in the international festivals circuit the respect and exposure it deserves.


There appear to be a several posters here in major denial regarding Romanian culpability vis-a-vis the Holocaust. One poster on IMDb goes so far as to tell that the persecution of the Jews in Romania was by and huge a series of "isolated" incidents. In regards to the Iasi pogrom (which is addressed in "Gruber's Journey), he writes: "In June, 1941, in Iasi, the German units rounded up and deported a number of Jews, following their acts of antifascist resistance and sabotage. The true numbers seem to be somewhere between 500 and 2000". The current number of Jews killed during Iasi pogrom was place at 13,266 by the Romanian Unique Intelligence Service (SSI); the Jewish community stats listed 14,850 killed. This was all documented by The Wiesel Commission, the common name given to the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania, which was established by former President Ion Iliescu in October 2003 to research and make a report on the current history of the Holocaust in Romania. According to Wikipedia, "The Commission was led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel; the report was released in late 2004. The Romanian government recognized the report's findings and acknowledged the deliberate participation in the Holocaust by the Globe Fight II Romanian regime led by Ion Antonescu. The report assessed that between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were murdered or died under the supervision and as a effect of the deliberate disclaimers of Romanian civilian and military authorities. The Wiesel Commission report also documented pervasive anti-Semitism and violence vs Jews in Romania before Globe Fight II, when Romania's Jewish population was among the biggest in Europe." The Wiesel Commission's report can be found at yad-vashem.org.Gruber's Adventure represents a corrective to those Holocaust deniers and minimizers who seek to minimize the role of Romanian participation in the Holocaust. The film's focus is really on Curzio Malaparte, an Italian journalist who was a press attaché in the Wehrmacht during Globe Fight II. We learn that Malaparte, who suffers from debilitating allergies, was earlier referred to a Jewish doctor, an allergist called Josef Gruber, who has disappeared after many Jews have been rounded up in Iasi and transported to parts unknown in packed cattle cars. Malaparte gotta search Gruber who he believes can support him overcome his allergies so he can basically function on the job. The storyline picks up with Malaparte headed for the front accompanied by Colonel Freitag, a high-ranking German officer. Malaparte has a severe allergy attack on the train and they stop off in a local city where he's greeted by the head of the Italian Consulate inside an extremely dusty building where his allergies only seem to receive worse (both the Italian Consul and German officer are presented sympathetically as they test to support the ailing Malaparte). At one point, Malaparte is so incapacitated that he remains in his hotel room during an air raid attack. Finally, Malaparte receives notification that a Josef Gruber has been deported with another Jews from Iasi. Malaparte then goes on his own adventure attempting to navigate through the bureaucracy of the Romanian Police and Units attempting to search exactly where Gruber has been taken. The film's director, Radu Gabrea, does not whitewash Romanian responsibility for the different pogroms committed vs the Jews. While the occupying German force supported their actions, Gabrea makes it quite clear that it was both the Romanian Police and Units along with the local populace (and not the Wehrmacht) who organized and carried out the widespread killings of Jews in Romania. Unlike Roberto Benigni, who unsuccessfully attempted to mix comedy and pathos during his Holocaust themed-film, 'Life is Beautiful', Director Gabrea is on much more solid ground in his examination of the Holocaust from a comic mission of view. "Gruber's Journey' is not only a 'black comedy' but a unbelievable illustration of the phrase coined by Hannah Arendt, 'The Banality of Evil'. Malaparte is tossed to-and-fro between one bureaucrat and other as they stymie him in his quest to search out Gruber's fate. Chief among these petty tyrants who place obstacles in Malaparte's path at each turn is Stavarache, the head of the Secret Police and Colonel Niculescu-Coca, the local Units Garrison Commander. It's laughable (but at the same time horribly tragic) that these bumbling 'men of authority' have the fate of thousands of human beings in their hands. Orders are carried out on the pretext that Jewish 'terrorists' and 'provocateurs' are responsible for all the 'disturbances' (most based on rumors or falsely created incidents by local terror squads) which the authorities gotta address. The 'men at the top' very much indulge themselves by wielding almost endless power (checked only when the Germans override them) but descend into petty bickering as they desperately attempt to protect their own turf.Gabrea intentionally only tips at the pervasive violence all around. When Malaparte enters the police station, locals are wiping off blood from the front walls of the station—evidence of a massacre occurring the night before. And when Malaparte finally discovers the doomed cattle cars, we only hear the screams of the trapped Jews inside—Gabrea resists showing us a stage (which now occurred) where Malaparte opens one of the train doors and bodies fall out. It's this mixture of detachment and obliviousness coupled with sadism and petty narcissism amongst the populace which is being held up by Gabrea in high relief. Somewhere along the line, we should have learned a tiny bit more about Malaparte's character. We do learn from the final credits that Malaparte wrote a widely-read ebook after the Fight which condemned the atrocities committed by both the Germans and Romanians. He also became a Communist.The performances are uniformly perfect including Florin Piersic Jr's Malaparte—despite the fact that his German and Italian were dubbed (amazingly, you will not notice this!). See Gruber's Adventure and read the Wiesel Commission's report!


I had thought that Romanian films departed at last this old-style lack of luster and wits, actually with the Fresh Wave and all that, but unfortunately here i see there are still some old dinosaurs who can't be able to understand they could give up.This "Trip of Gruber" thing is wrong from head to tail. The script is amorphous and linear, the characters fully shallow, with no depth at all. Terrible Florinel Piersic, an actor with a certain talent and a load of experience, after so many roles in films and theater, fails lamentably, being inexpressive, false, fully unconvincing (now of course the part is also badly written, with not one bit of inner dynamics). Razvan Vasilescu is great enough, but this is hardly surprising: as the awkward director didn't know hot to ask him to play, he simply repeats for the tenth time his skillful tricks from Nemescu and Pintilie. Marcel Iures also - not surprising at all, he is a natural; but the role is sorely amiss. It could have closed the film by making a really powerful point, and instead it's conventional and teary. Bindea play-acts falsely the so-called "Italian" consul, in the most Romanian method possible. Claudiu Bleontz is really the best, the only one worth watching - but only if you didn't see his previous parts that he played in the same style.Further, the direction is dull, static, childish. Nothing of the tension, suspense, dramatism of such a genocide, that barely happened a couple of days ago. It has no depth, no resonance. I think even Sergiu Nicolaescu should have done it a bit smarter and faster paced - if not more artsy. The sets and costumes are awfully conventional, not convincing at all.Of course, as so many folks remarked, the film is offensive vs Romanian people, trying to accuse them of crimes they never committed. The pogrom of Iassy was the German's work, in full and all. Romanian units was not involved, and the civilians furtively did their greatest to support the terrible victims. But actually it's fashionable to accuse everybody of holocaust complicity, so this piece of historical mystification came into being. I gotta state that I'm a Hungarian living in Romania, and I really care to our Romanian hosts and brothers. It's infamous to take such xenophobic and racist attitudes, and be a hate monger between Romanian and Magyar, Jews, Gypsies and another ethnic minorities.



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