Romania, Serbia, 72 min
In 1947 Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, visited Romania for the first time. To cement the newborn socialist friendship, Romanian officials gave Tito a present: a painting from a local artist whose name was Ion Andreescu. Many years later, the painting winds up, entangled in a chilling spy story and reveals a dark secret that would rattle the foundations of both Yugoslavia and Romania.
In 1947 Josip Broz Tito, president of Yugoslavia, visited Romania for the very first time. Stalin had always feared that the Marshall’s reputation could overshadow his own, so he tiptoed very carefully around him. But the icy relationships within the Soviet brotherhood seemed to be thawing when Tito was welcomed in Bucharest. To cement the newborn socialist friendship, Romanian officials gave Tito a present: a painting from a great local artist whose name was Ion Andeescu. Obviously the painting had to match the austere taste of the freedom fighter who chased the Nazis from Yugoslavia, so the choice fell on a work that would maybe remind him of his heydays as a partisan. Thus the painting “The Leafless Forest” was chosen. In the 1960s, a young art critic, Radu Bogdan, decided to write a monograph befitting the great painter that would also include a reproduction of the “The Leafless Forest”. An exceptionally well-crafted spy story that could have been written by Le Carré if he had had the chance to meet Mikhail Bulgakov somewhere on streets of the former USSR.
Giona A. Nazzaro