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Children Underground Details

  • Release Date: Sep 19, 2001
  • Runtime: 1 hr. 44 min.
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Director:Edet Belzberg


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. 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. Sixteen-year-old Cristina survived physical torture and a stay in a mental institution before escaping to Bucharest's Victory Plaza, where she's the hard-bitten leader of a gang of young hoodlums. Fourteen-year-old Macarena is a lost soul who gets through her days by sniffing paint fumes. Twelve-year-old Mihai comes from a home so fearsome he has opted to be homeless rather than stay with his abusive father, who once chained him to a radiator so he would not run away. Ten-year-old Ana is often beaten by older children, and like Macarena, blots out her misery by sniffing paint; she tries to protect her eight-year-old brother, Marian, who already bears the emotional scars of his violent and chaotic childhood. The first feature from documentarian Edet Belzberg, Children Underground received an enthusiastic reception and many positive reviews after its screenings at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:September 19, 2001


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Edet Belzberg Best Documentary Feature 2001 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Edet Belzberg Truer Than Fiction Award 2001 Nominee



Edet Belzberg
Edet Belzberg
Wolfgang Held
Jonathan Oppenheim
Edet Belzberg
Sound/Sound Designer