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Conference on The Forest of the Hanged - Bucharest, October 26-27
26 October 2015
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"G.Oprescu" Institute of Art History, the Union of Romanian Filmmakers and the Romanian Film Archive will organize on the 26th and 27th of October 2015 the international conference Forest of the Hanged - Mirror of the Great War: 50 years since first screening and 100 years from its topic

Among the participants are Professor Dominique Nasta, Professor of Film Studies at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Ana-Maria Plamadeala, researcher at the Institute of Cultures Patrimony of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences, reputed Romanian academics and film critics, as well as historians and literary critics. The participation of the family of the director Liviu Ciulei, as well as some of the actors that starred in the film: Victor Rebengiuc, Mariana Mihut etc. will complete the event.  

Victor Rebengiuc and Anna Széles in The Forest of the Hanged

On the same occasion the organizers will inaugurate an exhibition of posters, photographs and artifacts connected with the film and WW1. The two events will be hosted by the Library of the Romanian Academy (Bucharest, Calea Victoriei 125). 

The Forest of the Hanged (Romania, 1964) represents a real landmark for Romanian cinema because it is the first Romanian fiction film awarded in Cannes. In 1965 Liviu Ciulei was nominated for Palm d`Or and received for it the award for the Best Director

In 1965 the film was considered an anti-war masterpiece and its director has been compared with Lewis Milestone, Jean Renoir and Luchino Visconti. For Romanians it is a remarkable screening of one of the best Romanian literary works, Liviu Rebreanu`s namesake novel (1922). In his novel Liviu Rebreanu was inspired by the tragic fate of his brother Emil who had been charged with treason and sentenced to death. 

Liviu Ciulei

Indeed, The Forest of the Hanged tells the difficult story of an ethnic Romanian drafted in the Austro-Hungarian army who refuses to fight against his kinsmen and a result faces the death penalty. It is 1916 and Transylvania, a region of mixed population where Romanians are a majority, is still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The independent state of Romania declares war on Austro-Hungary, a confrontation that will end with Transylvania`s takeover by Romania in 1918. The entrance of Romania into the war poses a series of moral dilemmas for Apostol Bologa (Victor Rebengiuc), a young lieutenant of Romanian ethnicity who has been with the Austro-Hungarian army for some time, but is now transferred to fight in a region populated mostly by people of the same ethnicity. Bologa`s moral torments begin with his appointment to a court martial that condemns a Czech deserter; he has to supervise the executions, a profoundly upsetting experience. On his turn he tries to desert but he is caught and sentenced to death. 

As in ancient tragedy there is no real bad and good as people have to choose between feelings and duty. General von Karg (György Kovács) complains that the army is not well equipped, pacifist private Johann-Maria Müller (Emmerich Schaffer) considers inhumane that somebody has to kill his kinsmen, Ilona (Anna Széles), Apostol Bologa’s lover, although a simple Hungarian girl understands his torments and offers to help him cross the frontline, the peasants near the front line are not traitors but need to plow in order not to starve etc.  

Liviu Ciulei, an architect and a scenographer before becoming a director, masters with skill the gun pounding and the mise en scene with a a muddy winter without snow in order to recreate the athmosphere of an inglorious war where the trees bear hanged people as some absurd fruits.  

  Forest Of The Hanged
  Marian Tutui
  Victor Rebengiuc
  Mariana Mihut
  Liviu Ciulei
  Anna Szeles
  Gyorgy Kovacs
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