Why me? directed by Tudor Giurgiu - CINEPUB

Caught in our own sand castles.

Based on real events, „Why me?” directed by Tudor Giurgiu tells the story of Cristian (played by Emilian Oprea), a young idealistic prosecutor whose career is on the rise and tries to crack a corruption case placed in the complicated socio-political context of Romania in the 2000s.

Why me? directed by Tudor Giurgiu - CINEPUB

Directed by: Tudor Giurgiu
Cast: Emilian Oprea, Mihai Constantin, Andreea Vasile, Dan Condurache, Liviu Pintileasa, Mihai Smarandache, Alin Florea, Lucreția Mandric, Sore Mihalache, Ionuț Caras
Script by: Loredana Novak, Tudor Giurgiu
Producer: Oana Giurgiu
A production by: Libra Film
Cinematography by: Marius Panduru
Sound: Florin Tăbăcaru, Dumitru Alexandru, Liviu Lupșa
Editing by: Lemhényi Réka
Year: 2014
Category: feature film
Genre: fiction
Duration: 125 minutes
Subtitles: english

20,241 – Cinepub viewers


Cristian, a young idealistic prosecutor whose career is on the rise, tries to crack a case against a senior colleague accused of corruption. The dilemma of choosing between his career and the truth weighs heavily on his shoulders. Looking further to solve the case, he enters a danger zone paved with unexpected and painful revelations.

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On April 10th 2002, Romanian prosecutor Cristian Panait committed suicide by throwing himself from the 4th floor of his residence in Bucharest. He was only 29. A year before, he had been appointed prosecutor at the Department of Criminal Investigation and Criminal Prosecution of the Supreme Court of Justice. One particular case he was working on at the time was that of prosecutor Alexandru Lele, from Oradea city, who had ordered the arrest of Adrian Tărău, son of the very influent Bihor county prefect, on charges of complicity in the smuggling of petroleum products.

Panait’s mission was to investigate prosecutor Lele for corruption and document theft allegations. According to media reports, Panait refused to charge Lele due to lack of evidence, but in less than a month he took his own life. In August 2002, the case was closed after a “post-mortem psychiatric evaluation” allegedly proved the prosecutor to have been mentally unstable. No other hypothesis, such as “facilitating” or “determining” the suicide, was ever pursued.

„The film about Panait/ Panduru is, to a certain extent, the film about the failure of my generation – the failure to change Romania’s social and political environment. It’s about the idealistic people who were educated under communism and then experienced the 1989 Revolution, all full of high ideals. A generation that believed the political changes brought on by the 1989 revolution would trigger a final break away from the “old system”, which is mob-ridden and corrupt. But we were wrong. Now, just as in 2002, the year Panait died, the reality of Romanian society is harsh: former Securitate officers and active members of the actual SRI (the “new” Secret Service) have monopolized important businesses, as well as important political positions. In 2002, the fight between the secret services of the army, police, judiciary and the government (the latter of which inherited the old Securitate apparatus) reached its climax.”

The story proposed by Tudor Giurgiu and Loredana Novak doesn’t quite follow the real facts: „A film so strongly grounded in reality can be made in a thousand ways. I am very much preoccupied with disassembling the mechanisms by which a man, who is strong both physically as well as figuratively, can come to take his own life within no more than 20 days. What internal mechanism is activated, when you find that the entire system within which you are working is corrupt and rotten to its very core? This is a film about the quick disintegration of a man who has chosen to fight the system from within.” (Tudor Giurgiu)


„Mister prosecuter, I think you knew well enough what to do when you received this file. If the boss says ‘do it’, then you just have to do it. Otherwise, you’re gone.”


A Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian co-production, Why Me? opens domestically at the end of February. Glossy-looking and solidly crafted, it will clearly have audience appeal at home and in the neighboring region, where the Panait case still has recent historical resonance. But it feels too local in theme and too conventional in style to generate much overseas interest, lacking the originality and bite that propelled the best of the Romanian New Wave onto the world stage over the past decade.” (Stephen Dalton, hollywoodreporter.com)

Rather than a tense, labyrinthine thriller, Why Me? emerges as a moody drama of who-to-trust paranoia, betrayal and bribes. And while it’s a worthy tribute to a man who finds himself unable to play along and an important piecing together of the skeletons in the Romanian government’s newly renovated closets, Why Me? remains a rather detached and long-winded depiction of a man in crisis. It’s a great performance from Emilian Oprea as Panduru – a powerful man reduced to a nervous wreck. But with a script that doesn’t quite get under the skin of his decisions not to collaborate or to commit suicide, Why Me? isn’t quite the damning body of evidence it should be.” (Mark Wilshin, dogandwolf.com)


  • 2015 – UCIN – Award for Best Screenplay

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