Matei Copil Miner
»Some years ago, while filming at Bucharest’s main railway station, I needed to find a child to appear in a certain shot. … I found a young boy (Ionel, aged nine) who had run away from his hometown of Petrila, in the Jiu Valley. He was the son of a mineworker and played his role with great tenacity. I followed in his footsteps for a few years, in all the places where life took him: at an orphanage; at home in the Jiu Valley; at a centre for disabled children; and in hospital while being treated for tuberculosis. Today, Ionel is eighteen and lives in Italy. Through his eyes, I was able to discover the life of a lonely child in the kinds of places and circumstances he has been through.«
– Alexandra Gulea
Eleven-year-old Matei lives with his grandfather in a coal-mining region of Romania. His parents having left to work in Italy, a very close relationship forms between grandfather and child. After an incident, Matei is unfairly kicked out of school and his grandfather reacts violently. He flees from home and reaches Isidor, a shepherd, who sends him back. Instead, Matei goes to Bucharest where he discovers the Museum of Natural Science. Fascinated by the exhibition, he realises that he would prefer a career in science to a life as shepherd and returns home – and back to school. Shortly after his arrival, however, his grandfather dies and Matei is placed in a children’s home. When his mother and his younger brother come back to take him to Italy he decides to stay and follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.
Alexandra Gulea was born in Bucharest in 1970. She works as writer and director. She studied fine arts at the Academia de Arta in Bucharest and graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. She then studied documentary film at the University of Television and Film in Munich.
Films by Alexandra Gulea
Today I Was Young and Pretty 2008 | God Plays Sax, the Devil Violin 2004 | The Forth Wall 2001 | Anonym 2000