Set in 1937, Scarred Hearts, inspired by Romanian author Max Blecher’s novel, centers on Emanuel, a young intellectual with a penchant for poetry who spends his days at a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast, suffering from bone tuberculosis. Despite his physical condition, Emanuel falls in love, quotes literature, and encourages his fellow patients to live life fully, which includes listening to jazz and throwing the occasional drunken party. Meanwhile, outside the sanatorium walls, fascism is on the rise. Director Radu Jude’s richly detailed camerawork—shot on 35mm film in the full-screen, square Academy ratio—provides a master class in mise-en-scène. (New York Film Festival)
"Scarred Hearts scrutinizes a legacy of fascism in a manner that recalls The Spirit of the Beehive, Victor Erice’s anti-Francoist film set in 1930s Spain. In fact, both films directly parallel models of skeletons with framed photographs of political leaders, suggesting the mind and body as something that’s produced by a system of governance. Inside the hospital, Manu debates literature, including the work of avant-garde poet Ion Minulescu. Freed from the constraints of political pressure, the hospital creates itself as a democratic space where argument, not dictates, have purchase". - Slant Magazine
- "Precisely nuanced and unashamedly intellectual...."
- "Grueling but fascinating, Radu Jude’s “Scarred Hearts” is loosely based on the writings of Max Blecher, also known as M. Blecher, a Romanian Jewish writer who died of bone tuberculosis in 1938. It centers on a young man much like him, Emanuel (Lucian Teodor Rus), who receives that diagnosis when he arrives at a sanitarium by the sea as the film opens in 1937."
Awards & Recognition
Locarno Film Festival
New York Film Festival