The Great Communist Bank Robbery

  • Romania
Audio Tracks 

One quiet morning in 1959, the Romanian National Bank was robbed, like in the American movies. It was an exceptional event, in a Communist country, where there was only one bank, money wasn’t worth a lot and it was nearly impossible to run abroad.

After less than 2 months, six people were arrested and charged with the robbery. All of them high-ranking members of the nomenklatura, all of them Jews. Afte the investigation, the defedants were asked to play their own parts in a reconstruction film, directed by the secret police. This 1960 film, entitled „Reconstruction”, shows less than it hides. After nearly 50 years, many questions are left open. Searching for answers, the „Great Communist Bank Robbery” tries to restore the truth of an era plunged into lies and manipulation.


  • Original title
    Marele Jaf Comunist
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Alexandru Solomon
  • DOP
    Constantin Chelba
  • Editing
    Sophie Reiter
  • Duration
    75 min (46-90 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Romania
  • Colour
    • Colour
    • Black & White
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
    • 2004 Joris Ivens Competition at IDFA (Amsterdam)
    • Alpe Adria / Trieste
    • Minneapolis - St. Paul Art Film Festival, USA
    • Jerusalem
    • Sarajevo
    • Ljubliana
    • Hong Kong
    • Belgrade
    • Mar del Plata
    • Aarhus; Human Rights Festival
    • Budapest
    • Noir Fest/ Italy
    • 19.Stuttgarter Filmwinter
    • Yerevan Golden Apricot/ Armenia
    • Cork/ Ireland
    • Eastern Neighbors/ Utrecht
    • European Film Festivals (Bucuresti, Moscow, Berlin and Stockholm)
    • 8eme Semaine du Documentaire de Création (Strasbourg)
    • New York Jewish Film Festival 2007
    • Romanian Film Week in Paris (apr. 2005)
  • Awards
    • november 2004 : Prix du Film d’Histoire, Festival du Film d’Histoire, Pessac, France.
    • april 2005: Best Director, Hungarian-Romanian Dok Festival, Sf. Gheorghe, Romania.
    • may 2005 : Grand Prix, Mediawave Gyor, Hungary.
    • may 2005: Prize for Social Values, Documenta Madrid. is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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