Letters between two former medical students contextualise the revolutions that transformed their respective homelands in Iran and Romania.
‘Zahra’ and ‘Maria’ studied together at Bucharest University. Just prior to the overthrown of the Shah of Iran, Zahra returned home. She would recount the events she witnessed in letters to her friend. In return, Maria would talk about life in her own regime across a decade that eventually led to the downfall of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s dictatorship. Vlad Petri’s epistolary record of two countries’ recent past employs a rich trove of archive footage – much of it previously unseen – that fleshes out the text, which was written by acclaimed Romanian novelist Lavinia Braniste. In creating such a unique hybrid documentary, Petri finds fascinating parallels between the seismic changes unfolding in two countries. Bringing the footage thrillingly to life, he captures the hopes and dreams of two people through their correspondences.