Chuck Norris vs Communism

Directed by Ilinca Calugareanu

A mesmerising thriller about the magic of film and the power it has to change lives.

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  • ★★★½ review by Tyler Featherstone on Letterboxd

    A documentary on VHS bootlegging in Romania with some pretty high stakes.

    A country under the thumb of ruthless communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu; this film follows the select few that took it upon themselves to bring movies into the lives of their country's repressed citizens. The idea of risking jail and loosing all your possessions for the chance to watch a poorly dubbed copy of "Missing in Action" or "Rocky" seems ridiculous, yet that was reality for these people.

    Told through interviews and re-enactments, "Chuck Norris vs. Communism" (not big on the name, but I dig that poster), is an entertaining look at how film can shape people and, in this particular case, spark a revolution that changed the course of a nation.

  • ★★★★★ review by Waldo on Letterboxd

    The power of cinema! Even the shitty films! Not since Cinema Paradiso Ive seen a more loving tribute to films. We watch communist Romania toppled by the power of illegal videotapes. A thing that was more valuable than any other product in any market. A mousy translator, a courageous smuggler, and a nation hungry for anything different. Some of the stories moved me to tears. I mean, the Lone Wolf Mcquade one? The story of the guy training like Rocky? The rat in the bag in Missing in Action 2? And the swear words montage made me laughed hard! "There was life in the video player" Yes, sir. There was.

  • ★★★★ review by Bob Blaschuk on Letterboxd

    Despite being a bit misleading with it's title, Chuck Norris vs. Communism is really quite good, and if you are a tape head super interesting to boot.

    Watching this was like watching a spy thriller about a resistance movement in Romania, which in a way it was. But there is intrigue, secret police, a dictator, and people living in constant fear. This also ends up being a love letter to the VHS tape and film in general as we see through interviews how film and the ability to bootleg copies of them was part of a spark of rebellion in a country under the thumb of communism. I loved how the voice of Irina was like the voice of freedom, everyone interviewed had a different answer for what she looked like in their minds eye, but she represented the same thing to them, she was like a bit of hope bringing them a view of a better life.

    Now the title was more of an eye catcher than really what this was about, I feel they threw in some specific Chuck Norris stories just to make the name fit, but it wasn't needed. How VHS toppled Communism would have been more realistic and even then it's stretching the truth.

    As I said before if you are a tape head or history buff this if for you. A really great story about a terrible time.

  • ★★★½ review by Chevalier on Letterboxd

    The real magic of cinema: giving a light of hope to human beings, even in the depths of darkness.

  • ★★★½ review by Dimitris Dx on Letterboxd

    Θα μπορούσε να ήταν πιο λεπτομερές στα πώς και (κυρίως) τα γιατί και να ασχοληθεί περισσότερο με τις ίδιες τις μεταγλωττίσεις αντί να προσπαθεί να δώσει ιδέα θρίλερ στην αφήγηση με τις εκτενείς δραματοποιήσεις (η αποκάλυψη των φωνών λειτουργεί πολύ καλά ωστόσο), όμως είναι είναι τόσο ουσιαστική κινηματογραφική ιστορία αυτό που αφηγείται που δεν μπορώ να παραβλέψω πόσο με συγκίνησε.

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