Robert Gardner, 16mm film, 83 mins. (1975)
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.