Litera V

It was a time when it was forbidden to circulate by car on Calea Victoriei (Victoria Road). One had this strange sensation of bareness and silence. Grass started to grow from the pavement. Sparrows, crows and pigeons were at ease. Children would play football on the roadway. I do not know exactly why. Maybe it was for the safety of the Comrade. (7)


In mid-80s, video players were not something new for Romanians. Brought from abroad or bought for very expensive prices in our country (sometimes you bought a famous video recorder brand for the same price of a Dacia car), they offered the opportunity of watching entertainment programs for hours. The tapes circulated between people, were exchanged and watched in groups, two or three movies every time. The quality of the tapes varied according to their content: "author" films should have had a clear image whereas commercial productions - detective, adventures, karate or porno - had an acceptable image quality and sound because they were recorded many times. Translated films were successful especially because one could hear the voice-over translation. Irina Nistor was a famous translator at that time.

I remember in 1986 I saw Abuladze's "Penitence" together with some of my friends. It is in Grusinian and we could also hear a voice translating into Russian. We did not know any language, a lady who spoke Russian very well was also invited, so we watched the film and heard three languages at the same time.

Law punished the possession and distribution of pornographic materials, but there was no official prohibition on watching videotapes. Therefore porno films (and whose message was against communism-strange association!) circulated underground. That did not prevent school children from finding the tapes hidden by their parents and watching them in the morning when some of them left for work and children had classes?

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