The Romanians were born resourceful.
Tudor Giurgiu’s feature puts under lenses the beginnings of the so-called “savage” capitalism in post revolutionary Romania. The removal of communism left room for the economic difficulties caused by an industry for a long time non-profitable by then. The workers of a famous car factory find themselves confronted with bankruptcy and a new threat: unemployment. Desperate, they are to find the most unexpected solution of all. The film has the advantage of great acting on the part of the new and not-so-new generation of actors (Andi Vasluianu, Monica, Bârlădeanu, Dorel Vișan) as well as the well known French actor Jean François Stévenin and his son, Robinson Stévenin.
The comedy signed by Tudor Giurgiu, Of Snails and Men, has been one of the most popular Romanian productions of the last decade and ranked no 1 in the top of the Romanian films according to the number of viewers in 2012.
Director: Tudor Giurgiu
Scriptwriter: Ionuț Teianu
Cast: Andi Vasluianu, Monica Bîrlădeanu, Dorel Vișan, Andreea Bibiri, Jean François Stévenin, Robinson Stévenin, Ion Besoiu, Valeria Seciu, Clara Vodă, Ovidiu Crișan, Ion Grosu
Produced by: Oana Giurgiu, Tudor Giurgiu, Patrick Sobleman
Cinematography by: Vivi Drăgan Vasile
Film editing by: Nita Chivulescu
Category: feature film
Duration: 91 minutes
291,077 – Cinepub viewers
1992, Câmpulung Muscel. The state-owned car factory just went bankrupt and will be privatized in a week. The buyer is a French company planning to convert the plant into a snail cannery. Only 300 of the 3000 workers will keep their jobs. George Petrescu, the union leader – late thirties, married, one child – lives on monthly wage of 100 dollars, like everyone else in town.
He is a sort of charming provincial Don Juan. Late one night, unable to sleep, he sees an advertisement on TV for a sperm bank in Bucharest paying 50 dollars for each donation. This gives him an idea to save the plant and his fellows’ jobs. If 1000 of the young workers sold their sperm for a week, they could raise enough money to buy the plant and the license for a new engine. They could restart production, be back in business and everyone would have a job.
„Of snails and men” is one of the Romanian films about the so-called Romania’s time of „transition” towards „market economy”. It is a transition in which the price the actors of the free market have to pay becomes obvious especially when, beside the lack of profit, the workers have to face unfamiliar mechanisms in which a factory is forced to go bankrupt by crooks hand in hand with the management.
Being naïve and having no other job opportunity in a city where the factory has held the monopoly, the employees are ready to do anything to save the factory, even to sell their potential „offsprings” to Americans. The movie is an important element in Cinepub’s Romanian films online collection, a comedy well received by the public and by the film critics too.
„Without really seeking that, Giurgiu managed, with Of snails and men, an outstanding leftist film, “beyond crises and time” (enough reason for Western European audience to love it). Both films – Full Monty as well as this one – are about dignity, but while the British movie is about a successful story, the Romanian one is the history of a failure. Our eternal failure, actually, which someone like Cioran (not by accident mentioned in the film) wrote so many pages about.” (Doinel Tronaru – agenda.liternet.ro )
„Of snails and men” is not a spectacularly funny comedy, but it is a steadily worked one, both regarding the characters (nuances, stuff) as well as the retro accessories, and, moreover, it is an inclusive-reconciliatory comedy in which, basically no audience category – that is, no social class – would have any reason to feel underestimated or not taken into account.” (Andrei Gorzo – agenda.liternet.ro )
„Eventually I’ve talked to the boys that the only solutions is to write to the sultan of Brunei to help us by the plant.”
„If a thousand of us will sell their sperm for a week, we raise 300.000 dollars in an instant!”
„You’re going tomorrow to sell your sperm to the Americans. Did it occur to you that this is as if you would be cheating around on me?
„Currently the best sell is the sperm of Danish students. They are tall, handsome, blonde… Our customers won’t buy Romanian workers’ sperm. ”
- FebioFest, Prague International Film Festival – Czech Republic, 2013
- Sofia International Film Festival – Bulgaria, 2013
- “goEast”, Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, Wiesbaden – Germany, 2013
- Trophées Francophones du Cinema, Paris – France, 2013
- Edinburgh International Film Festival – U.K., 2013
- LET’S CEE Film Festival, Viena – Austria, 2013
- Napoli Film Festival – Italy, 2013
- Best Feature, Valladolid International Film Festival – Spain, 2012
- Special Jury Award, Warsaw Film Festival – Poland, 2012
- Best Feature, Chicago International Film Festival – U.S.A., 2012