Project Description

Irene Lusztig

Portrait of Irene Lusztig

FSC-Harvard Fellow – Before 2004, 2006-07
FSC-Radcliffe Fellow 2010-11

Irene Lusztig was born in England to Romanian parents, grew up in Boston and now lives in New York City. She has also lived in France, Italy, Romania, China, and Russia. A Visiting Lecturer in Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University in 2005-6, she received her BA in filmmaking and Chinese studies from Harvard, and completed her MFA in film and video at the Milton Avery Graduate School of Fine Arts at Bard College. In addition to making her own films, she works as a freelance editor and teacher. Her work has won film festival awards and has been screened around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, at IDFA in Amsterdam, and on television in the US, Europe, and in Taiwan. She has also been the recipient of major grants from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Massachusetts Cultural Council, LEF Foundation, and the New York State Council for the Arts. Lusztig’s most recent film, The Samantha Smith Project, is an experimental documentary that explores historical amnesia, nostalgia, and US foreign policy through a meditation on the end of the Cold War in the 1980s and the media phenomenon of child diplomats. Her previous films are Reconstruction (2001), winner of the Boston Film Critics’ Society “Discoveries” award, For Beijing with Love and Squalor (1997), and Crema Roz (1996).

FSC Works

Film Still from Reconstruction


Irene Lusztig, video, 90 mins. (2001)

Reconstruction explores the ramifications of one of the most controversial political trials in the history of Romanian communism, the Ioanid Gang bank heist of 1959, in which the filmmaker’s maternal grandmother Monica Alfandary Sevianu was implicated and condemned to life in prison.

The film describes the Lusztig’s present-day journey through Romania, as she tries to reconstruct the factual framework of a story suppressed by the Romanian government for nearly forty years.

Using the event of the bank heist as a point of departure for a meditation on the act of portraiture, filmmaking, and historical detective work, Reconstruction is both a touching family story spanning three generations, and a larger examination of Romania as a landscape scarred by its history, struggling with the legacy of its past.

Distributed by Women Make Movies, New York.