The Pitesti Experiment film will be screened at the Romanian Records Museum on February 19 during a charitable event

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 17/02/2023 | 13:21

The Pitesti Experiment film project, started in 2011 by director Victoria Baltag, will be screened for the first time this weekend, February 19, at the Romanian Record Museum. The private, charitable event precedes the official release, which will take place in a few weeks.


Research for this historical feature included analysis of archives and interviews and took over 4 years. What we know about the Pitesti experiment is that it was “one of the most traumatic experiences of dehumanization known to our age,” as stated by historian François Furet, a member of the French Academy. The disastrous period of Romanian history between 1949 and 1952 claimed thousands of victims through re-education: physical and psychological torture applied between prisoners, an experiment to reconstruct the ”new people”. It was considered the most aggressive brainwashing program in Eastern Europe.

The film depicts the true story of the events that took place in Romania between 1949 and 1951, when, after the establishment of the communist regime, all students were forced to become members of the party. Those who refused were imprisoned and ‘re-educated.” The phenomenon of re-education, a concept adopted by the Soviet pedagogue A.S. Makarenko, was based on the assumption that every person can become a ‘new being” through ‘re-education,” which in this case was achieved through physical and mental torture.

The subject of the Piteşti experiment has been kept out of the public eye until recently, and that is why we believe it is urgent that as many people as possible learn about it. This is the first feature film on the subject to be funded by donations, making it a 100% independent project after 11 years of hard work.

Victoria Baltag: ”I believe in education as the only true treasure that can help us develop, improve and grow. This is a true story based on the testimonies of the few survivors that are still with us and the families of those who died under physical and psychological torture (1949-1952). It is a cinematic testimony, a voice of those who were tortured during the communist period and those who have not yet found justice. Moreover, E. Burke agreed that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” and I believe that good men must act against the triumph of evil, and that is what we have done with this project. We are 120 actors and more than 888 collaborators who have contributed to this film in 11 years of work.”

The project attracted international interest during the development phase. Associations, film theatres, academic institutions and cultural organisations invited members of the film crew to speak about their work (Indiana University in the U.S., Regina University in Canada, Pittsburgh University in the U.S., Laemmle Theatres in Beverly Hills, UCL and the Romanian Cultural Centre in the UK, the Romanian American Association in New York, cultural associations in Chicago, Calgary, Toronto, Alberta, Barcelona, Zaragosa, Budapest, Kaunas, Agueda, Las Vegas, Winnipeg, Alberta, Denver, Sofia and many more).

It is a film that deals with a subject that has been kept hidden for dozens of years, a film that exposes a history from which all of society must learn so that such atrocities are not repeated.

It is a film of ‘moral responsibility” that opposes forgetting, a film to learn from the past. Therefore, on Sunday, February 19, we invite you to the screening of the film PRIVATE SCREENING PITEȘTI EXPERIMENT directed by Victoria Baltag.

The event will start at 16:00 in the Film Room of the Museum of Romanian Records (Parfumului Street, No. 25, Bucharest, code 03084).

The cast of the film includes Ion Caramitru (1942-2021), one of the greatest Romanian actors of all time and a passionate supporter of the project, in his last cinematic appearance before his death.

“In 2011 I attended a summer school and learned about communist crimes and the Pitesti Experiment. When I decided to work on this project, I wanted to find out the truth. I documented myself and was horrified by what I found out. For the role of the teacher, I wanted Ion Caramitru, but people around me kept telling me that he would turn down the role because he was involved in many projects and was way too busy. Well, I did not know him personally, but I looked for him and found him at the National Theatre in Bucharest. I went to TNB and left a script with the secretary. A week later, she called and told me that Ion Caramitru would call me at 2:05 pm. I will never forget that. At 2:05 p.m. Caramitru called. He told me that he needed 5 days for this role, although I had told him 3. We met in Iasi. It was around 7 p.m., and I called to make sure he arrived safely.

For dinner, I managed to get Mr. Caramitru a seat in a restaurant. When I entered the restaurant, he was already there eating. There we met for the first time. We were going to work together on my film. What an honour and what a wonderful collaboration we had! I could talk for days about how much I learned from Ion Caramitru and how much I admire and appreciate that he was extremely dedicated, well organised, proactive, professional, talented, ambitious, hyperactive, and tireless man. Ion Caramitru had a special agility and a distinct personality. He also told us that a great actor never rests: He rehearsed and studied his role during breaks in shooting.” Victoria Baltag said about her collaboration with Ion Caramitru.

The screening of the feature film will be held privately and for charity and will last 1 hour and 20 minutes, followed by a Q&A session with those who worked on this great project.

All proceeds from ticket sales at the screening will be donated to Connections Charity.

Book your seat here:


15.30-15.50 – Admission of spectators and guests to the hall

16.00 – 2 minutes introduction by Mr. Victor Bota, Director of the Museum of Romanian Records

16. – 2-minute introduction by Victoria Baltag, film director

16.10 – 17.30 – film screening 130-18 – question and answer session

18.18.20 – A special moment is scheduled for the guests of the press to visit the Museum of Romanian Records, where they can see one of the most interesting sections, namely the more than 5000 film and projection cameras, the oldest of which dates back to 1800, from the time of the Lumière brothers.


VICTORIA BALTAG is a graduate of the Faculty of Journalism and Communication Sciences at the University of Bucharest. She also completed a four-year degree in Sociology and Social Welfare at the University of Bucharest, specialising in documentary filmmaking and social-anthropological reporting. In 2010, she completed an MSC in Management and International Marketing at the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. In 2011 she also completed her degree in Film, History and TV at the University of Birmingham, graduating with Merit. Victoria produced more than 20 short films inspired by English plays and anthropological documentaries, some of which won awards. Currently, Victoria Baltag is a PhD student in Film at Queen’s University Belfast, researching the film life of a Romanian director less known in Romania, Benjamin Fondane.

Victoria Baltag is the first independent female director to make content films. She is also the first director to make a feature film about the phenomenon of re-education in Pitesti (1949-1952), the last film with actor Ion Caramitru. Another project to which she devoted time and passion was a documentary about filmmaker Titus Munteanu. For the feature film about Titus Munteanu, Victoria spent more than four years researching in the TVR archives and conducting interviews with people who knew the great television producer.

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Mihai-Alexandru Cristea | 09/03/2023 | 17:26

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