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This intimate documentary follows five homeless children in Romania, where the collapse of communism has led to a life on the street for 20,000 children. From a 16-year-old girl who runs her gang with a mixture of brutality and compassion, to a small, intelligent, and remarkably articulate 12-year-old boy, these children seem at first feral and frightening yet over the course of the movie their loneliness, desperation, and glimpses of hope transform their appearance and challenge the viewer to see them differently.
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Full Plot Details
When Romanian dictator Nicolei Ceaucescu outlawed the use of contraceptives and encouraged his subjects to have more children in a bid to increase his nation's population, his campaign had a terrible and dangerous side effect -- thousands of children were born to broken or dysfunctional families in a nation mired in political and economic instability, resulting in a large and rapidly growing population of homeless children in the city of Bucharest, with their numbers estimated at over 20,000. Edet Belzberg's CHILDREN UNDERGROUND is a documentary that explores this ongoing tragedy, offering a view of the larger problem and taking a closer look at the lives of five children living on the streets of Bucharest.
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|Variety Robert Koehler Belzberg's unsparing camera sometimes portrays a level of cruelty that tests viewers' tolerance, but her fearless aesthetic is also a measure of the film's brilliant indictment of any society that can allow its most vulnerable to slip into oblivion.|
|New York Post Lou Lumenick A powerful piece of filmmaking.|
|New York Daily News Elizabeth Weitzman First-time filmmaker Edet Belzberg may be the first person to assign any value to the lives of the homeless Romanian youngsters featured in her harrowing documentary.|
|New York Magazine (Vulture) Peter Rainer Belzberg doesn't intervene during the moments of violence, believing that the film can force social change only by showing the worst. If she is correct, then this film should move mountains.|
|Village Voice Ed Park A horror story, told with Dickensian compassion, permeating outrage, and little hope.|
|The New York Times Stephen Holden A singularly depressing film. In the face of such unrelieved, grinding poverty, hope fades.|