Beyond the truth
The Romanian films have been out of the Chinese audience’s sight for a long time. The 20th International Film Festival has invited the famous Romanian director Cristian Mungiu to chair the International Jury of the Golden Goblet Awards. His renowned works 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Graduation have presented a calm yet stern style of mirroring social life and criticizing reality. The nomination for the Golden Goblet Awards this year – The Third Chance, directed by Catalin Saizescu who also comes from Romania, can be deemed as another approach to displaying the same style.
The caption at the end of The Third Chance reads, the film is based on a fire accident happening in a hospital in 2010. Nowadays, emergency incidents take place from time to time, and the local media always end their report on them with “The cause of the incident is under investigation”. This film was shot afterwards, where the director reproduced the cause and consequence of the entire event. In terms of narration, the movie is divided into three space-times. First is the suppositive space-time, which presupposes that a camera is there when the fire happens, and objectively records the process of the nurse who has been on duty for over ten hours successively leaves the NICU for the restroom, fails to discover and put out the origin of fire in the old appliance, resulting in the death of the infants. The second space-time is about the fire fighters putting out the fire and saving victims, and the patients and families survived panicking at the gate of the hospital. The highlight here is the director’s management on figurants. He utilized the documentary techniques to capture their reactions and vividly created the pressing atmosphere of the fire scene. The last space-time is the police and prosecution start the investigation. The investigators all show up in bust back, with the two sides asking and answering interchangeably. Here, the characters have not constituted any dramatic conflict; it’s more like some kind of original evidence acquiring. In front of the camera, the accountable persons recount their stories respectively: the electrician has his own saying, the nurse shows her remorse, and the administrators put endless excuses. The truth comes out at the end: a series of small-probability hidden dangers accumulate and finally break out and those involved have received mild sentences. A lot of scenes linger in the audience’s minds: the two fire fighters who first enter the building see the burnt baby incubators, frightened and sorrowful; the father, too sad to cry, brings the body of his baby home, and says to the reporter: “We didn’t see our baby when he was born, but now we see him…” The documentary disaster film managed to teach the audience a lesson on life.