Requiem for Dominic

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


"The truth is like oil in the water, always rising to the surface and you cannot alter it" were among the last words of Dominic Paraschiv as he lay wounded, bleeding to death, naked and tied to a hospital bed. The overthrow of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was not simple or clear-cut. His Securitate, who fought on after the despot's end, fueled wild accusations of mass murder.

Director Robert Dornhelm has filmed a stunning and remarkable film about revolution, “truth," and its victims. Last December, in the midst of the Romanian Revolution, Domhelm heard that his childhood friend, Paraschiv, was being held at a hospital and accused of being the "Butcher of Timisoara," a Securitate member who had killed eighty colleagues. Unable to believe it, Domhelm traveled to Romania, but it was already too late. His investigations revealed, however, that the real facts about the massacres, seen on evening newscasts worldwide, were not as straight-forward as they seemed. Along with co-screenwriter and lead actor Felix Mitterer, he set out to film the drama of his search for the truth amid the consequences of the revolution, Filming on the streets where fighting had occurred only a few months earlier, Domhelm seamlesly matches newscast footage with a recreation of his personal inquiry into his friend's tragic end. The result is an amazing marriage of journalistic documentation with cinematic reality, and an exploration of the nature of political revolution that ranks with the renowned work of Pontecomo and Costa-Gavras. The immediacy of the narrative is riveting. Domhelm's reconstructions question the popular distinctions between do-umentary and narrative film.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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