The Bridge (Podul peste Tisa)

Romania 2004, Documentary, 58' | Director, Screenplay Ileana Stanculescu | DoP Nikola Wyrwich | Editor Klaudia Begic | Sound Anusavan Salamanian | Music Grupel Iza | Production Art Doc

"Of all the things that men ever built, nothing is more precious and valuable than bridges."
Ivo Andric

Sighet is a small town in the north of Romania. The neighbouring town of Slatina lies on the opposite, Ukrainian, bank of the river Theiß. A bridge connecting the two towns was built during the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. This bridge was destroyed by German troops towards the end of the Second World War.

But war also destroyed family, culture and economic links between the two towns. Whereas the north bank of the river was now part of the Soviet Union, the southern bank remained Romanian. For more than 50 years the river formed an insurmountable barrier for people of the two towns.
When the border was reopened after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a hopeful start was made on building a new bridge. Lack of money and a heart-warming dilettantism led to repeated attempts at improvisation. After three years, and with financial support from Europe and Romania, the bridge was finally completed. The new old structure was officially opened - only to be immediately closed again, because the EU demands high standards from its prospective candidate, Romania, in terms of securing its outer borders. People who are connected to one another through culture and history continue to be cut off from each other, and the bridge over the Theiß remains unused.


ILEANA STANCULESCU was born in Bucharest in 1976. From 1995 to 1999, she studied Law in Frankfurt am Main and in Paris. Stanculescu then studied Scriptwriting and Editing at the Konrad Wolf Film & Television Academy in Potsdam-Babelsberg until 2004. She worked for the Berlin production company Silbersee Film as a screenplay consultant, before founding her own production company, Art Doc. Stanculescu works as a director, scriptwriter and producer. Her documentation Satul ?osetelor was nominated for the Joris Ivens prize and won the British Council Award as the best Romanian documentary film. Some of her other works have also been screened in European cinemas and television stations.

Ilena Stanculescu
Focus: Around the Balkans