Since the fall of the Ceaușescu regime in 1989, Romania has struggled to mirror the democratic countries to its west. Corruption has been rife and has wheedled its way into most aspects of everyday life. This has caused consternation within the European Commission and led to a number of demonstrations and reforms to tackle the abuse. In 2015, a nightclub fire at Colectiv left 27 dead and 180 injured. When patients start dying of unrelated illnesses, it sparks a national crisis.
When a whistle blower within a hospital approaches Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor, they assign a team of investigative journalists to uncover the truth. Alexander Nanau’s documentary, Collective, track their efforts. We follow this group as one revelation leads to another and the appointment of a new health Minister results in new levels of transparency. Seeing the impact this fraud and corruption has had on the victims and the obstacles faced by officials in enacting reforms.
Collective is a timely reminder of the importance of investigative journalism in a world where facts and evidence have never carried so little currency. The revelations just keep coming in Nanau’s film and the vital role of journalists in holding the powerful to account is highlighted again and again. At times, it feels like a thriller as we follow one lead to another. Collective is compelling viewing which will anger, frustrate and enthral in equal measure.
Collective is available on Amazon Video, Apple TV, Curzon Home Cinema and other digital platforms from 20 November.