Crulic – drumul spre dincolo (Crulic – The Path To Beyond)

Poster for Crulic – drumul spre dincolo (Crulic – The Path To Beyond)

Winter 2013 Documentary series

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Anca Damian

Screenplay by Anca Damian

Starring Sandrine Bonnaire, Vlad Ivanov, and Jamie Sives

Rated PG · 1h 13m
Romania / Poland

View trailer

Crulic – drumul spre dincolo (Crulic – The Path To Beyond)
This animated feature-length documentary, written and directed by Romanian filmmaker Anca Damian, tells the story of the life of Claudiu Crulic, a 33-year-old Romanian who died in a Polish prison as a result of a miscarriage of justice.

By early adulthood, Crulic was making frequent trips to Poland, where he would buy low-cost goods to sell back home in northern Romania. Then in 2007, he was arrested for stealing a judge’s wallet; although it was later proven he was in Italy at the time of the theft, authorities dismissed his protestations of innocence, believing previous arrests for theft established his present guilt. Letters to the Romanian consul in Poland were either ignored or replied to in a condescending manner, and even a note to his half-sister asking for help was dismissed.

Crulic went on a hunger strike, yet authorities disregarded his actions, with prison doctors claiming he was in good health despite his gradual deterioration. Only when nearing total biological system failure did doctors apply for a permit to force feed him, but the needle perforated his lung, leading to further meltdown. After Crulic’s death, authorities tried to wash their hands of responsibility, though eventually a few heads rolled.

A strong visual style, the result of beautiful hand drawn, collage, stop-motion and cut-out animation techniques, blend to create a striking, surprisingly integrated and memorable film. The acclaimed Romanian actor, Vlad Ivanov, narrates Crulic’s ironic voice-over from beyond the grave.

“Technically a documentary, this brilliant medley of animation and cutouts, with slivers of live action tossed in, is creative interpretation at its most sublime. Crulic has a distinctly Eastern European dry humor, manifest in the drawings and in the rapid, highly detailed voiceovers. Telling a tragic true story with almost lighthearted animation techniques is a brilliant choice that pays off.” (Howard Feinstein,Filmmaker Magazine)

“Beautiful artwork and a powerful story are the key elements of animated docu Crulic – The Path to Beyond, recounting the Kafkaesque history of a Romanian man arrested in Poland and abandoned by everyone until his death following a hunger strike in 2008. Anca Damian doesn’t prettify the subject, but rather uses the animation as an illustration of miscarried justice, told with a certain detached irony until the live action news reportage at the closing credits.” (Jay Weisberg, Variety)