As a kid, Mihai didn’t like much playing soccer with his
mates, so he read most of the books in the school library. After
graduating from school, he applied to the Literature Department
of the Theology Faculty.
Only days before the exam, he was stabbed in the chest by his own
friend and older sister’s boyfriend. He had been trying to
stop her from seeing him, since he was getting involved in burglaries
and other dodgy businesses.
Mihai nearly died, neglected in the local hospital, until he was
transferred to the city for surgery. He spent months in hospital,
then a whole year at home, recovering and preparing for the exam
the following year.
He got in with a high mark, but this was not the end.
The family income was far to small to keep four children at University,
so he abandoned his studies and went to a monastery, looking for
support. For nine months nobody heard anything from him, until he
returned home one day in a state of shock and alienation.
It took a ling time for Mihai to come back to life again and –
according to his parents – it was discussions with the filmmaker
which contributed to Mihai deciding to go back to University.
Now he’s a student again, and he has also started to learn
English – from scratch – and is still in need of financial
Milica, the mother, only went to primary school. Lacking the means
to continue, her parents have put her up with a family of teachers
in town, as a servant. She was looking after their two babies, and
the household, from the age of ten until she was seventeen when
she got married. One year later she gave birth to her first daughter,
and for the next twenty years she was looking after her own children
–with all the health problems and shortages that came along.
Her husband would have liked her to have abortions at a certain
point, but she’s a believer and wouldn’t do it. She
would pretend that she needed this or that, a gown or some shoes,
in order to go to hospital – and of course they could never
afford these things – and then it was too late.
She also was a very strict mother. She wouldn’t let her kids
go out with children from broken families in the village. She would
also vigorously stop them from going to pubs or discos in the local
town. She’s been grieving a lot since her oldest daughter
left university shortly before graduating, to enter a monastery.
She’s still hoping that her eldest will go back to university
Mihai, the father, is said to have abandoned the spade in the field,
in front of his parents, and run away, when he found out about the
Vocational School being opened in the local town. Very ambitious,
he became a supervisor in the nearby textile factory.
After the collapse of Communism, the factory went into decline
and so did his health. He went through several surgical operations
and is now living on social security. All the income of the family
is twenty-five pounds a month, plus about the same amount in children’s
He’s the driving force behind his offspring's education. He’s
always encouraged them all to continue school as long as possible,
struggling to get support from the local Council or other sponsors,
in order to keep them afloat. His dream was that all his children
would go to University, and there are chances that this will come
According to his mother, Mircea is the most quiet, well behaved,
modest and submissive of all her children.
He loved Russian and would have liked to study it at University.
His parents talked him into something more useful though: zoology.
And there he is, a second year student, using every opportunity
to come back home, even for the day sometimes. He can’t afford
to stay much in the city, since he has no money to go out.
He’s still thinking of studying Russian afterwards, or going
to work in Russia after graduating…
Marius liked to go to the monastery nearby ever since he was a
little boy. He has spent all his school holidays there and is still
going every Sunday to sing at the Mass.
Marius is the first one not to have done very well at school. He
failed to pass his High School graduation exam this summer, and
consequently missed the admission exam at the Military School he
had hoped to apply for.
He may go there next year though, since he passed the exam in the
autumn. Till then, hardworking as always, he’ll be replacing
Mihai on the family field.
His father is supposed to have been shocked when he first saw him
in hospital, after he was born: he was so dark!
His schoolmates call him the Gypsy. When asked what he wanted to
become when he’ll grow up he says "a forester";
so he’d be in the forest all the time, and people won’t
see much of him.
His mother is encouraging him to do well at school, so he could
go to University one day and "become a Romanian"…
Unlike his older brothers, Costel likes soccer more than reading.
Mihai has hopelessly tried to persuade him to register at the school
He does all his homework, but that’s all. He wants to become
a soccer player. His father may have a different opinion though…
Gabriel, the last born, shows sure signs of continuing the tradition
of the family. He’s very good at school, particularly in Maths.
He’s also being trained by his older brothers, especially
Mihai, to do other work; from digging the field, collecting grass
for the poultry, or taking the cow or the horse to and from the