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Toto and His Sisters

2014 DOK Leipzig, Doc International Competition
Romania | 2014 | 93 min. | Romanian | English subtitles | German Premiere
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Toto and His Sisters | Toto şi surorile lui

The faces of the three siblings living in a run-down flat in Bucharest’s Roma ghetto are serious. Their mother is in prison for drug dealing. Their father has vanished. The uncle who is supposed to take care of the children has turned the flat into a meeting point for the neighbourhood junkies, getting his niece hooked in the process. If you expect a Roma, poverty, horror portrait now, hold your horses. Alexander Nanau, Emmy winner in 2010, is interested in a much deeper question: how do you escape from a life predetermined by social marginalisation?
Toto, at 10 the youngest child of this torn family, finds refuge in a youth centre, spending more and more time in this place where a whole new world is opening up for him. A world that welcomes and supports him and shows him a way out of this nightmare through education. For a brief moment things seem to take a turn for the better for the kids. But then their living conditions strike back.
Nanau has found a quiet, bright hero in Toto and an increasingly confident young woman who demands responsibility in his sister Andrea. Both embody a chance to cheat their predetermined fate. This makes “Toto and His Sisters”, however bleak it may be at times, a surprisingly hopeful film.
Matthias Heeder
Original Title: Toto şi surorile lui
Country: Romania
Year: 2014
Language: Romanian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 93 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Alexander Nanau
Producer: Bianca Oana, Valeriu Nicolae, Catalin Mitulescu, Marcian Lazar, Hanka Kastelicova, Carmen Harabagiu, Antony Root
Cinematographer: Alexander Nanau
Editor: Alexander Nanau, George Cragg, Mircea Olteanu
Sound: Matthias Lempert, Florian Ardelean
Script: Alexander Nanau
Alexander Nanau

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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.