Betrayal (Trahir)

Director: Radu Mihaileanu
Screenwriters: Radu Mihaileanu

Institute History

  • 1994 Sundance Film Festival


After years of abuse in prison, dissident writer George Vlaicu is on the verge of physical and mental collapse when an inspector from the Securitate, the Romanian secret police, makes him an offer. He can leave jail and continue to write his poetry if he agrees to report on the activities of his old friends. Believing that the police are already aware of anything he could tell them, and rationalizing that he’ll never really cooperate, Vlaicu reluctantly agrees and is released. He begins living a duplicitous existence, attempting to reintegrate himself into the artistic community and maintaining his self-righteous political stance, but acting as an unwilling, rebellious informer.

His reputation grows, and he is acclaimed as the poet laureate of his nation, but the compromises and impurities inherent in his dual life often surface, and his guilt gnaws at him. When he is ultimately faced with the knowledge that he cannot deny his betrayals, the result is a denouement as powerful as it is complicated.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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