About movie

Valley of Sighs

Original title Valea Plangerii


Between 1942 and 1945, 25000 Roma people from Romania were deported by the Antonescu regime, in Transnistria, the region between the Nistru and Bug region. Half of them died from cold hunger or violent deaths. Most of them were children, the surviving few living today, emotionally recount the terrible events. The film aims at reconstructing the road, the places and the tragic happenings of the Roma Holocaust. ,,The Valley of Sighs” is a place sadly remembered by many, a place where the Romanian authorities deprived all Roma deportees by all their goods and belongings living them naked starved under the clear sky. After 70 years from the events the film tries to cinematically reconstruct the landscape as it looks and feels today. The shots of the fields, rivers and old farms of the villages of deportation are filled with the emotional memories of Roma survivals. Moreover the landscape, as it looked 70 years ago, is reconstructed by the local Ukrainian communities that remember and recount with sorrow and compassion, their relation with the deported Roma people under the Antonescu regime. The interviews with the Ukrainian communities complement the narratives provided by the Roma survivals into transforming the present, apparently innocent landscape into an anthropological space of memory, tears and sighs. Therefore, the role of cinematically representing the present day landscape where a long time ago, tragic historical events took place, will put the viewer into a position of imagining and feel for him/herself the landscape as it looked 70 years ago. History is not a time but a place and a memory.

Author/s Mihai Andrei Leaha, Andrei Crisan, Iulia-Elena Hossu

Mihai Andrei Leaha is PhD. and director of Triba Film, independent documentary production company. He studied in several fields of the Humanistic Studies. He has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and English, an M.A. in Multicultural Studies and an another M.A. in Theatre and Media Studies Departament of the same Babes-Bolyai University. Mihai Andrei Leaha published several studies in the field of Visual Anthropology and Ethnographic Film the main focus being on methodology and visual representation issues. He also shares a deep interest of the field of Ethnology focusing on Ceremonials storytelling, human right, feminism. He directed several award winning documentary films. Iulia-Elena Hossu is a researcher at the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities (ISPMN) and also a founder member of Triba Film. She holds an M.A. in Anthropology and Multicultural Studies and a Phd. in Anthropology. She has worked in several projects concerning the Rroma people. She was the camerawomen of the film Red Poppies (Romania, 2006, 55 min., director Enikő Magyari-Vincze). Her topic of interest: visual anthropology, anthropology of identity politics, gender studies. Andrei Crişan is a founder member of Triba Film. He graduated the Theatre and Television Faculty of Babes-Bolyai University. He was engaged in many projects of documentary and fiction film. Together with Mihai Leaha, he has worked at many projects since 2008: Broscatu. The Storyteller, Looking at themselves: Babaluda Luda and The Street Musician. FILMOGRAPHY * “The Street Musician” documentary, 20 min. Triba Film Romania 2012. (official selection Astra film Festival Sibiu 2012) “Looking at themselves: Babaluda Luda” documentary. 33 min. Triba Film Romania 2012. (Winner of GIEFF 2012/Winner of Etnofilm Rovinj 2013 and selected at twelve international film festivals) “Broscatu. The Storyteller” documentary, 62 minutes. Triba Film Romania 2012. (official selection NAFA 2012) “Identity to go” anthropological documentary about migrants that own traditional restaurants in Magdeburg, Germany. 45 minutes. A Project of International Summer School at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. Diversity and Social Inequalities in and between European Societies Perspectives and Methods of Visual Sociology and Cultural Studies July 2009. “The Embellished Ox from Figa” ethnographic video documentary. 35 minutes. Triba Film Romania 2008. Presented in the International Summer School Programe: Come closer” organized by ISPMN. “The Bitter Bread” anthropological video documentary, 15 minutes. Triba Film Romania 2007. FEST 2009 Cluj Napoca Student film Festival finalist.

Photography Mihai Andrei Leaha, Andrei Crisan
Sound Tamas Szekely
Editing Andrei Crisan