Romanian film, lost for 60 years: it was thought to have been destroyed by the Bolsheviks, so that the horrors they were capable of would not be revealed. “Odessa in flames” found in Italy

A few years ago, Romanian cinema received an unexpected gift: one of the most famous and beloved Romanian films was recovered, after it had previously been thought lost forever.

At the time (n.r. 2010) the Italian press was buzzing about an unusual event, namely the absolutely accidental discovery in the archives of the Cinecita studios in Rome of the film “Odessa in Flames”, which was believed to have disappeared without a trace and definitely without the chance of ever being recovered. But miracles do happen.

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Image from the movie “Odessa in Flames”

“Odessa in Flames”, the film banned by the Bolsheviks

“Odessa in Flames” is a film that was made in 1942 and is a Romanian-Italian co-production, being recorded in the history of European cinema and not only as a real masterpiece of the genre it belongs to.

Before the great discovery, a few reviews, small newspaper articles and posters remained of “Odessa in Flames”.

“Odessa in Flames” tells the story of refugees from Bessarabia during the Second World War, with an emphasis on the horrors committed by NKVD troops, the organization from which the famous KGB later grew.

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Understandably, the film was banned immediately after the Soviet Union occupied our country. Those who worked on the film in one way or another were thrown into prisons.

As a result, for a time it was deposited in the film archives under the category of censored and banned films. As a result, the film was completely stopped from being shown in our country, both in cinemas and in restricted settings. For many years it was thought to have disappeared from the archives altogether, but to the great misfortune of the communists, a copy still existed in Italy.

Immediately after December 1989, a number of film history researchers tried unsuccessfully to find the film, but their investigations went nowhere. Shortly afterwards, it was concluded that “Odessa in Flames” would never be found, having been destroyed in its entirety by the sadly remembered regime that perished with the 1989 Revolution.

Moreover, it was revealed that the Securitate had issued orders “ordering the destruction of war films from 1940-1944, considered fascist and imperialist, inimical to the socialist order,” the Daily reported in 2010.

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Image from the movie “Odessa in Flames”

An important piece of cinema history, rediscovered

This documentary film and, ultimately, cinematic masterpiece belongs to Italian director Carmine Gallone, one of the most highly regarded artists of his niche at the time.

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In turn, the screenplay belongs to Romanian playwright Nicolae Kirițescu.

“Odessa in Flames” is nothing less than a continuation of the tradition that was inaugurated by the first great Romanian film, which appeared in 1912 and which paid homage to the victory of Romanian troops in the War of Independence in 1877.

It can be said that this film is a piece of the history of Romanian and Italian cinema and, moreover, an unabashed demonstration of what was happening here in 1942.

It should be mentioned that it appeared at the Venice Film Festival, where, incidentally, it won the Grand Prize, shocking those viewers who perhaps did not understand the scale of the problem when it was about the Bolshevik occupation and Stalinist terror.

Obviously, the Communists did their best to hide the existence of this film, since it told a story that did them no credit whatsoever – quite the contrary.

Such a film would only have weakened the power the Bolsheviks had in our country, and from us, everything would have fallen apart like dominoes.

For a while, the film was available in full for viewing on telecinemateca.com, but now the page seems to be non-existent, unfortunately.

However, it can be found on YouTube, in full version.

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Odessa in Flames movie poster

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