Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, July 11:
Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang
Hot Docs, Dallas, Docaviv, Maryland, Docs Against Gravity, Sidewalk, Raindance, Hot Springs Doc, Ann Arbor
A hybrid portrait of a Romanian father/daughter duo obsessed with the 1980s American nighttime soap opera.
Drawn from her upbringing in 1980s Cold War-era Romania, Ungur, working with husband Huang, sort of tells the story of the unintended aspirational consequences of allowing Western television programs to infiltrate the Romanian consciousness. Unlike the far more straightforward CHUCK NORRIS VS COMMUNISM, here the idea is used as a launching pad into a phantasmagorical reverie that is far more experimental narrative/art project than documentary, encapsulating the possibly true story of the replica of Southfork built by Ungur’s father, a sunflower oil magnate; narration by a character played by DALLAS’s Patrick Duffy; and disturbing re-enactments by child actors dressed as Communist youth of scenes from both the soap opera and Romania’s troubled past. It’s frankly largely a headscratcher, likely to irritate many viewers with its deliberate obfuscation and quirkiness even as its freeflowing creativity might delight others.