Children Underground is one of the most astonishing and disturbing documentary movies I have seen. Its director Edet Belzberg succeeded to present a real picture of the horror in which thousands of Romanian kids are forced to live at. It is not easy to describe what was happening inside of me while watching Children Underground – seeing this kids living in the subway station,sniffing paint to get high and forget for a moment of their misery is a heart breaking experience. Every time I see a movie like this a documentary so harsh ( similar to the works of Wiktor Grodecki) – I wonder what is like to film a movie like this . You can`t just stay and let the camera run while the kids get beaten and abused – and yet if you interfere the reality would change as soon or later you will finish making your movie and leave…While trying to find an answer to these questions I saw an interview of Edet Belzberg (link). I found an answer to my question in the words of Belzberg :
[quote_box_center]Basically, I tell them what is shown in the film is a fraction of what actually takes place. That what you see in the film doesn’t even compare to what the children endure on a daily basis. A child could be beaten as many as four or five times a day by a passerby, a shopkeeper, another street kid, and so I really felt that it was my responsibility to show the reality of the situation and to really focus on long term goals rather than short term solutions. Had I intervened once, twice, ten times, even a hundred times every day while I was there, it wouldn’t have changed the situation at all, and it wouldn’t have been an accurate representation of the children’s lives. People who had seen rough cuts often said to me, you can’t show this, you can’t do this. People will not be able to handle it. [/quote_box_center]People often suggested I dilute it and take out the violent scenes, and that was something I was extremely opposed to.
While for most parts I agree with the director I guess one has to be very professional to be able to shoot a documentary like that without interfering in the reality. The kid I felt really bad for while watching the movie was the young Mihai – who seemed to be intelligent and polite boy. In the scene in which he started cutting himself I felt to desperate – and wonder what is like to film such a scene without stopping him – I could have never done that. There are discussions in the movie IMDB page about this scene too.
Children Underground is a documentary that I recommend to you – why – because it is real – whatever that means. I have seen children like that on the streets – they are there , and we can`t just close our eyes pretending that they are not existing.
The movie at IMDB (link)