Chuck Norris vs Communism (Review)


Film: Chuck Norris vs Communism (2015) 1h 18min | Documentary, Comedy, History | 12 November 2015 (Germany) A documentary about how western films were smuggled into Romainia during the rise of VHS

Key Points Why did we pick a documentary for our first film, even though our focus is Philosophy in Fiction? What is the film about? How did contraband films change Romanian culture? How does it compare to western culture from the same era? How did Zamfir create and develop the film market? In what ways does this film reflect media access on the internet today?

Phi-Fi is about the philosophical impact of fiction on our lives, and by philosophical I mean the core basis of knowledge about reality and our place in it. So this documentary touches on the importance of philosophy thought and conversation through the medium of drama. Drama provides moral and aesthetic use cases and a common knowledge narrative through which conversations can be worked through and common ground can be reached.

The liberalization of publication

The VCR Liberation in the U.S. had a later similar event in Soviet Romania. In the U.S. many small mom-and-pop shops opened up to sell the VCR tapes of popular movies. This market was big enough to put a VCR shop in every mini-mall and every major street in a town. The mom-and-pops in the U.S. existed in a new market that was mostly free and unregulated, so it was easy for many people to start up. Some people even started by selling the videos out of the back of their cars before opening a shop.

In Soviet Romania they were not operating in a free market, but were instead in one of the most restrictive societies in the Soviet Union.

The core of the value of the film market Zamfir created

After the Chuck Norris biting the rat the man reflects: “After the film ended”, and they show the boys having a mock fight outside at night, “A street wasn’t just a street. A rock wasn’t just a rock. They were challenges. We started to play in a disciplined manner. We wanted to be… heroes” and then they show the heroes from several western 80’s films.

The vision of the heroic we very important to children who were, as most children are, so continuously trying to become adults and learning how to do that.

The Fountain of Film

The Western films became one of the most valuable commodities in Romania. It was what people traded their money in for, and it was what bureaucrats accepted as bribes, even top officials. Irina Nistor said it was “my oxygen”, even after being confronted by secret police. She translated the films for years, not for the money, but for the chance to see all the films.

Hollywood exports English speaking drama to every corner of the earth. It is probably part of the reason English is accepted as the international language of business, of air traffic control and other standards.

Cheap, easily accessible drama with an American spirit was more popular worldwide than the British, French, and Russian products. Films are cultural products.

Zamfir as Capitalist

He was not an imperialist. exports English speaking drama to every corner of the Earth. It is probably part of the reason English is accepted as the international language of business, of air traffic control and other standards.

Cheap, easily accessible drama with an American spirit was more popular worldwide than the British, French, and Russian products. Films are cultural products.

Black Market Effect on Patrons of Film

For most people viewing these movies, people couldn’t emote while watching out of fear of who might be sitting right next to them.

Kids were different, as they would see and then emulate Rocky. It sparked their imagination, and they began to play in a disciplined manner (play fighting). Preparing themselves to become the heroes they see in film. “A rock was no longer a rock, a street was no longer a street.”

Zamfir As Capitalist

He was not an imperialist. He was just getting around invalid restrictions on trade. He wasn’t trying to impose constraints on others. He was trying to provide people with a valuable product and make money off it. By profiting off videos he was also able to demonstrate that others could profit, and a small home theater industry developed.

Quotes

State TV: “In Romania, Capitalism has lived its last day. The people are the true masters[…] of their destiny and the riches of the country.” TV went from broadcasting 20 hours a day on 2 channels to one 2 hour broadcast per day. It was said the cinema market had a film crisis, despite a huge appetite.

Woman on Last Tango In Paris “I couldn’t believe a film like this could exist.” “That is when I realized how behind the west we were.”

Key Characters

Irina Nistor - Film Narrator for State TV Ideological Commission Motivated to translate for Zamfir because censorship was not an issue Scenes had been censored for having too much food in the background, too many products. The people of Romania deal with lines for all commodities, yet there isn’t enough. Negotiated her black market price at 100 LEI, the price of an Austrian chocolate bar. Zamfir offers her double @ 200 LEI.

Zamfir - Engineer, Entrepreneur Described by Irina Nistor as: Stern, Pragmatic, Required Quickness Would bribe border patrol to smuggle VHS films. “Just like those who smuggle drugs and cigarettes throughout the world.” Said he was a coloniel but only a sergeant?

Mircea - 2nd Narrator, Secret Police Agent

Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989. Pronounced Sheau-Shesku