How I discovered Rodion G.A.

How I discovered Rodion G.A.

Written By:

Sorin Luca


May 9, 2014

1. A dream about making movies

In 2007, before the economic crisis took over Romania as well, in full consumerism bliss, a trademark of post-European integration, I managed to get a handsome bank loan and buy myself all the necessary minimum equipment for producing documentary films.

I was dreaming about making movies for 14 years, ever since I was still sleeping with Beckett and Ionesco under my pillow. Since then I kept this belief: we, Romanians, live in a country deeply rooted in the absurd.

The idea of making documentaries came like a natural follow-up. How would you not want to make a film in Romania?

We, Romanians, live in a country deeply rooted in the absurd.

2. How I came to Rodion

Rodion GA
Rodion GA

I am a professional designer. The financial crisis of 2009 helped me greatly: left without orders, I finally had the time to come back to my dream – movie making.

I discovered Rodion “by chance”. “A Portrait”: this was the subject title of an exam from the Theatre & Film University in Cluj. If I remember well, it was Dan Curean’s class. Cosmina Pop, a student at that time, was looking for her subject-person for the exam. As it happens, Ionuț Ileșoi, who appears in the film, knew of Rodion’s “myth”. That’s how I met Rodion.

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3. Discovering Rodion's music

I knew that at the start of the ‘80’s, Rodion was famous for his music. But I hadn’t listened to it before I came to him. I couldn’t find any information, any reference to him, any recording.

5 years before, Rodion had moved to the countryside: the house was sort of an under construction laboratory. A construction site on four levels, all stacked with various objects that Rodion would continuously organize. He did the same with the garden, the dogs and all that was left there. As he rightly said, we were in his little empire. From his “imperial” attic, Rodion brought down a few dusty tapes. This is how I first listened to Rodion G.A.

I will never forget the impact his music had on me. This man had really made music. Electrifying. Present.

What prompted me to make the film? His music. The fact that he never gave up believing in it. His spirit, better said, the energy he spread everywhere. And my desire to know and thoroughly understand a man that is truly free. I started by wanting to find out the reason for his obscurity. I ended up experiencing every second the dream images. A Rodion trademark.

4. Location describes the experience

Armed with a camera and a bag of cans, I moved in with Rodion. Because there was no budget for the documentary, I couldn’t hire anyone else on the project. I worked alone. Rodion understood from the first moment how we were going to make the film and played “his part” perfectly.

The first day we spent together, we dug for fossils. Literally. For three weeks – and I’m not exaggerating- I searched Rodion’s entire house for his images and magnetic tapes archive. We finally found it in the shed’s garret. I was lucky to also find a 16 mm film, that I digitalized afterwards with Tárkányi János’s help, and that makes the only cinematic document of the everyday experience of Rodion G.A. Band. In the film’s case, it’s amazing that it was not censored or embellished in any way. It shows things exactly as they happened.

5. Making of

Little by little, throughout the shooting, Rodion and me have built a relationship that made possible an experience that I carry and will carry on with me everywhere.

The relationship between us – me, director, he, subject – was and still is based on trust. Without it, I could never have exposed a man’s life with such depth. What came next was a fascinating journey into a great dreamer’s personal universe –Rodion Roșca. A man who loves and investigates life in all its forms. Endowed with the finest irony and having exercised both success and failure for a lifetime, Rodion delivers a stunning grin-and-bear-it “performance”. His interest in details, his care for the animals around him, the story of Muchi the dog, his relationship with the people of the village, with his belongings, as well as organizing, retrieving and repairing them are some of the stories that make up the film.

The title? It couldn’t be other than “Dream Images”. Narrated by Rodion, the dream describes and perfectly predicts “the creation” of the film, from the first to the last photogram. And this is only the starting point…

6. Challenges

Rodion Rosca
Rodion Rosca

To make a documentary film all by yourself, even in the style of „cinéma vérité” is not an easy thing, you need something to hold on to. This form of cinema, first and foremost, has to be experienced.

I tried several times to get a funding from private companies, but without any result. After shooting for two months, I got extraordinarily lucky when Dan Călean and Hans Van Peer saw fragments of the raw material. Hans offered to support the project with 400 Euro. For me, this was an amazing moral support and the only funding I received until the completion of the film.

The village resembles a jar, it’s a micro-cosmos with a lid. To open it I had to quickly figure out what kind of people I will be dealing with, aside from Rodion.

To film with a professional camera for months, in a Romanian village, isn’t really a common thing for the locals. There were situations where I reached the brink of scandal: the locals didn’t understand what I was doing there. Maybe I was baffling their businesses, maybe they feared I will film something that shouldn’t be known. The Romanian village has its secrets.


credits: Imagini din vis - a documentary on Rodion GA, made by Romanian director Sorin Luca.

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