8.3/10
2,158
20 user 11 critic

Children Underground (2001)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 5 October 2003 (Australia)
A profile of homeless Romanian children who were born victims of the nation's reckless population growth policy during its communist era.

Director:

Edet Belzberg
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Unblinking and unsettling, this documentary lays bare a mysterious process that goes on all around us - what happens to people who die with no next of kin.

Directors: Grover Babcock, Blue Hadaegh
Stars: Fred Corral, Sherwood Dixon, Julie Wilson
Dark Days (2000)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the homeless population who live permanently in the underground tunnels of New York City.

Director: Marc Singer
Stars: Marc Singer
Streetwise (1984)
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Gritty documentary that looks at the lives of teenagers living on the streets of Seattle.

Director: Martin Bell
Stars: Roberta Joseph Hayes, Baby Gramps, Erin Blackwell
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A significant number of American children and teenagers - from all social backgrounds - suffer from mental disorders, schizophrenia, autism and emotional problems, leading them to isolation... See full summary »

Stars: Peter Thomas, Richard Kotuk, John Brooks
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Boy Interrupted looks at the life of Evan Perry a 15-year-old boy from New York who committed suicide in 2005. The film made by his parents Dana and Hart examines how Evan's bipolar ... See full summary »

Director: Dana Heinz Perry
Stars: Evan Scott Perry, Dana Heinz Perry, Hart Perry
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Documentary following Susan Tom of Fairfield, California and her 11 adopted special needs children.

Director: Jonathan Karsh
Stars: Susan Tom, Anthony Tom, Faith Tom
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An in-depth look at the director James Ronald Whitney's family history of incest spanning at least three generations and the devastating consequences that include drug abuse and alcoholism.

Director: James Ronald Whitney
Stars: James Ronald Whitney, Melvin Just
Short | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

AIDS, drug abuse, police brutality, and other social ills in post-Soviet Russia.

Directors: Andrzej Celinski, Hanna Polak
Promises (2001)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Several Jewish and Palestinian children are followed for three years and put in touch with each other, in this alternative look at the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. The three filmmakers ... See full summary »

Directors: B.Z. Goldberg, Justine Shapiro, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Moishe Bar Am, B.Z. Goldberg, Shlomo Green
Spellbound (2002)
Documentary | Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar
Child of Rage (TV Short 1990)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Six-year-old Beth talks to a therapist about the horrific abuse she has suffered as well as the abuse she inflicts upon small animals and her own brother. This film documents her subsequent healing and recovery.

Stars: Joel Craiger, Ken Magid, Beth Thomas
Documentary | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When two friends tape-recorded the fights of their violently noisy neighbors, they accidentally created one of the world's first 'viral' pop-culture sensations.

Director: Matthew Bate
Stars: Eddie Lee Sausage, Mitch Deprey, Daniel Clowes
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cristina Ionescu Cristina Ionescu ... Self
Mihai Alexandre Tudose Mihai Alexandre Tudose ... Self
Violeta 'Macarena' Rosu Violeta 'Macarena' Rosu ... Self
Ana Turturica Ana Turturica ... Self
Marian Turturica Marian Turturica ... Self
Alexandru Beschina Alexandru Beschina ... Self
Florin Ionut Calciu Florin Ionut Calciu ... Self
Adrian Chiru Adrian Chiru ... Self
Romulus Cristescu Romulus Cristescu ... Self
Ilie Fonfonile Ilie Fonfonile ... Self
Doru Grigore Doru Grigore ... Self
Anca Hotnog Anca Hotnog ... Self
Claudia Luca Claudia Luca ... Self
Angela Preda Angela Preda ... Self
Adrian Susanu Adrian Susanu ... Self
Edit

Storyline

One of the most astonishing and engaging cinematic works of the past decade, CHILDREN UNDERGROUND is a profoundly intimate and heart-wrenching drama about homeless children struggling for survival on the streets and in the subways of Bucharest, Romania. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

Romanian

Release Date:

5 October 2003 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Asphaltkinder in Bukarest See more »

Filming Locations:

Bucharest, Romania See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,075, 23 September 2001

Gross USA:

$12,798

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,798
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Belzberg Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Heartbreaking. (spoilers)
6 May 2006 | by vertigo_14See all my reviews

I had often wondered why, in the documentary portrayal's of street kids, 'Streetwise' was the one to garner all of the attention. Granted, it too, was a heartbreaking look at some kids affected by some pretty tumultuous times in this country thanks to many idiot policymakers euphemistic ideas about trickle-down economies. Sad as it is to say, I think the appeal comes from 80s nostalgia, and particularly nostalgia for the 80s American teenager. 'Children Underground,' which follows five children living in a subway station in Romania is much more disturbing and stark portrayal than Streetwise. As the prologue explains, many children found themselves on the street because, after the fall of Communism in Romania, the economy and state facilities in particular were effected and became ill-equipped to deal with hardships. Although, some of the kids portrayed in this documentary left home as a result of family problems.

Of the five children are Cristina Ionescu (16) is the oldest and I suppose the protectorate of the group of subway children. Although, she never seems to be too sincere in this role, beating the younger ones herself sometimes. Her background involves shifts between state custody in an orphanage and later an asylum because, as she said, she refused to let herself be beaten or taken advantage of and fought back.

Mihai Tudose was probably the most interesting among the street children; a 12 year-old boy who ran away from home because, as he explains, his father beat him. He always seemed to be in search of something better than the street life, but it just didn't seem that many were able to help him out. For example, we see him attending the school for street children, but when the social workers went home to get the papers that would enable his attendance, his parents wouldn't give them up. He was, just as the synopsis for the film says, a particularly intelligent boy. He just seemed to want to give up life in the subway in exchange even for the company of a pseudo-family (the homeless mother and the baby living in the abandoned building).

Macarena Rosu (14) was perhaps the saddest case because she basically spends the entire film huffing paint with other street kids. And, to the point that by the end, it seems that she has become either schizophrenic or manic depressant as a result, rationalizing her existence with the imaginary mother and father living outside of Bucharest and the twin sister by the same name attending private school, even though we know her to have arrived on the streets straight from an orphanage.

Ana and Marian Turturica are the youngest of the group. They never really get the full story as to why Ana (10) kept running away from home or why she eventually got her brother, Marian (8) to come with her. I would suspect, based on the stepfather's conversation, that it was because she at least did not get along with him. Or, that they felt incapable of living with their mother while she and the stepfather were unemployed and barely surviving themselves.

There doesn't seem to be much that could be done through the state to help these children. The hospital for street kids, for example, had no place to house the children. There were other facilities that were so limited on beds that the children first had to be deemed capable of rehabilitation, which basically meant that, since these children were hoooked on huffing paint, it wasn't likely that they would be admitted. And the older ones, it seemed, stood no chance of consideration at all.

I think in part that this movie was more stark than Streetwise is because so many of the children weren't yet even teenagers when the movie was filmed. And few of them seem to be living in any sort of euphoric sense of freedom. The situation is bad and they appear to well aware that for many of them, they're trapped in it. (Although, that is not to make light of the situations faced by the kids in Streetwise). It is, as other said, a hard to film to take in. There are scenes in the film where you wish the filmmakers, if no one else, would intervene. Especially in the moments where the youngest are beat up, where Mihai inflicts mutilation upon himself, of the kids who spend all day with their face in bag full of Aurolac paint, of the underfunded facilitaties that couldn't provide enough assistance, and also of the families who seem just as hopeless as the children. It is indeed an incredible piece of film-making.


32 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed