The Alexandru Sahia Studio left behind a contradictory production of films, over 5,000 of which are still virtually unknown of in the depths of the National Film Archives. How do we encounter these films today?
This may be a simpler exercise for younger people approaching these films without any baggage of personal memory about the times when the films were produced. However, for an older audience, the options range from nostalgia to disavowal. Their encounter with the films from the Sahia studio is a confrontation between their personal memories of those times and a body of carefully curated political narratives from that very same past. And yet, we believe that these encounters can be useful and surprising for those truly committed to discovering something new in these films, rather than looking for what they already know about the past. In other words, these films can be more than mere ways to validate our prejudices about the past.
We have included here a range of films from the studio’s politically conformist production, along with examples of creative documentary which push the boundaries of political commission. You will also find different categories of so-called “minor” or “ephemeral” films, commissioned to the studio by various institutions of the socialist state. These films, invisible for decades, can finally be used as a resource for a better understanding of the historical period they cover.
We like to approach these films within the contexts in which they were produced, but we are also open to what they can tell us today: both to those of us who’ve lived through the times captured by these films and are ready to confront these representations with our own memories, and to the younger people who are curious to catch a glimpse of an unknown past.
The tabs on the right-hand side of the screen are meant to help you navigate the films according to their YEAR of production, PLACE where they were filmed, or TAGS that we have assigned to them so far. This is a work in progress, so enjoy and come back for more in the future!