‘Collective’ Director Alexander Nanau On How Corruption Leads To “Destruction Of Human Empathy” – Contenders Film: The Nominees

Amanda N'Duka
·2 min read

Following the devastating 2015 fire at the Colectiv nightclub in Romania, Collective director Alexander Nanau set out to undercover why the victims of the fire were dying at alarming rates months after the incident. What he uncovered was a deep network of corruption.

“It continued to shock us. I understood pretty early that we are really assisting in [political theorist] Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil at every level of the system,” said Nanau during Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees virtual event.

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The documentary has earned Oscar nominations for both Documentary Feature and Best International Feature.

From Magnolia Pictures and Participant, it follows a team of investigative journalists as they uncover shocking, widespread corruption. After a deadly nightclub fire, the mysterious death of the owner of a powerful pharmaceutical firm, and the quiet resignation of a health minister—seemingly unrelated events, all within weeks of each other—the team of reporters exposes a much larger, much more explosive political scandal.

“Also what I learned is how corruption leads to incompetence and that, finally, in systems, be they political or the healthcare system, leads really to the destruction of human empathy.”

Nanau goes to great lengths to expose the egregious negligence and corrupt players of the system in Romania in hopes to spread awareness that will not only save lives but also lead to meaningful changes.

“I think that it can lead to people understanding better how it works and identifying much easier the lies,” said Nanau. “And even that the press becomes more alert to really hold them accountable and understand that when they’re lying it’s really important to expose it. But other than that, for sure there is pressure on the health care system because this film is so known around the world right now…they know they have to change.”

Check back later for video of the panel.

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