28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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A Cautionary Tale
A Cautionary Tale
A Cautionary Tale
A Cautionary Tale

A Cautionary Tale

director: Ilinca Călugăreanu
original title: A Cautionary Tale
country: Romania, United Kingdom
year: 2023
running time: 79 min.


Romanian senior Constantin Reliu has no documents, personal or pension rights. He worked in Turkey for 25 years. He was then deported from the country. On his return to his homeland, he finds that he was presumed dead. The system refuses to formally recognise that he is still alive but he still has the strength to fight the bureaucratic apparatus. With dry humour, documentary filmmaker Ilinca Calugareanu chronicles his lonely and harrowing quest to reclaim his lost identity. The story, reminiscent of the absurd starting point of Romanian New Wave films, is darker and more convoluted than it first appears, and the author becomes more and more involved in it.

“A 63-year-old man declared dead in 2016 is invisible to the state.”


Ilinca Calugareanu (1981) is a Romanian director and editor based in the UK. She studied sociology and anthropology and co-founded the production company Vernon Films. Her hybrid films such as Chuck Norris vs Communism (2015) often thematise the ways in which we relate to personal and national history.

more about film

director: Ilinca Călugăreanu
producer: Anamaria Antoci, Mara Adina
script: Ilinca Călugăreanu
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Creative Europe Media
Česká televize
Český rozhlas