Cinéma du réel, short
72 words - 345 characters (spaces not included) - 416 characters
Stella, her husband and sister live in a shantytown installed
under the motorway in Plaine Saint-Denis just north of Paris.
Stella begs in the metro, and the hospital where she goes for
treatment is her only contact with society. One of the invisible,
illegal immigrants of our cities, she was a factory worker during
the Ceausescu regime. She has devoted her life to saving the man
she loves. She fights on silently.
Cinéma du réel, web site
131 words - 632 characters (spaces not included) - 762 characters
Every day, Stella begs at the Oberkampf metro station, yet no-one
really sees her, just as no-one sees the blind flower-seller in
City Lights. Leaving everything behind, she chose to live illegally
in France for love of her seriously ill husband Marcel. She was
convinced she would find a doctor able to treat him. She succeeded
but the backlash is overwhelming and she, in turn, falls ill.
Jobless, penniless and with no legal status, she has to finish
her course of medical treatment before returning to Romania. While
the film renders her anguish and suffering palpable, it also shows
a women who never gives up, who is determined to solve her problems
one after the other with the means she has available. Within her
exhausted frame, there lies an iron will.
208 words - 1033 characters (spaces not included) - 1238 characters
A shantytown, stuck between the railway tracks and the motorway,
in the suburbs close to today’s Paris. Stella, an ageless
Romanian woman, lives in a caravan with her husband Marcel, a
Romanian gypsy, and her sister Gabi. Everyday she goes into town
to beg in the metro. The film, however, focuses on her “home”,
exploring the realities behind the stereotype of a Romanian beggar.
We are shown her daily life: washing, cooking, cleaning without
running water, sweeping the little area in front of her caravan,
leafing through photo albums, reminiscing about the past, praying.
Stella came to France for the love of her husband who needed urgent
medical attention: “Marcel would have died if we had stayed
in Bucharest, French doctors are the best in the world.”
Ironically, her efforts to help him undermined her own health,
and she had to seek further help.
We learn of her plans for medical treatment, we listen to conversations
with neighbours, and memories of her past as a factory worker,
whilst witnessing the unavoidable humiliations of her life as
a beggar. As the film progresses, the portrait of a more perceptive
woman emerges. She eventually decides to go home. Will her house,
her family, her friends still are waiting for her?
78 words - 390 characters (spaces not included) - 467 characters
Behind the stereotype if the Romanian beggars in the Paris metro,
unknown stories are being lived. The film reveals Stella, a prematurely
aged former factory worker whose home is a caravan stuck between
the railway tracks of the Parisian suburbs. Living with her husband
Marcel and her sister Gabi, Stella attempts to patch up her life
with the threads of exile and illness, love and memories…
She eventually attempts a return, in an illegal minivan, to her
230 words - 1018 characters (spaces not included) - 1245 characters
Stella is a Romanian woman living with her husband in a shantytown
located in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis, alongside the Eurostar
railway tracks. In order to survive, she begs in the metro - at
the “Oberkampf” station.
Who is Stella? Why did she come to France? What did she leave
behind in Romania? How did she adapt to living in a shantytown?
How did she come to the decision to beg? What does she want out
of life, what are her projects... her dreams? As I asked myself
these questions, I decided to go and film her. I completely immersed
myself into Stella’s life. Determined not to fall into quaint
clichés, I took all the time I needed to translate her
reality into images. I offered her a space within which to
express herself and she has occupied it in an honest, subtle,
sensitive manner. And so Stella allowed me to touch on the myth
of the Eastern European immigrant to better deconstruct it.
STELLA is at the same time the story of a worker baffled by the
chaotic history of her home country, of a lover endangering her
own life in order to save that of her man, of an immigrant rejected
but cured by her country of ‘refuge’... and, above
all, STELLA is the story of an ordinary woman, a woman like us,
who never stops dreaming.