After years behind bars, three young Roma men are released from prison. Bidding an emotional farewell to their fellow inmates, they exit to find their rejoicing families celebrating their homecoming with showers of tears, money, and dancing. Though the men accept the adoration with numbed excitement, they are unaccustomed to the expectations of existence on the outside and, consequently, begin to rediscover lives of aggression and arrogance. Among them is Alex, a captivating figure who charismatically addresses his past with a disturbingly blasé attitude toward violence, women, and guilt. Convicted of murdering his girlfriend—his misogynistic persona seemingly unaffected by years of incarceration—Alex drives Ivana Mladenovic's compelling documentary.
Offering a rare peek into contemporary Roma culture, the three very different ex-cons try to reconcile the outside world with the gray-shaded areas of morality with which they all struggle. Showing the cocoon of their former one-room existence painted in stark contrast to the realities of their outside community, Turn Off the Lights is a portrait of reintegration in a society where indulgence, violence, and excess are a matter of survival.
Length: 77 minutes
Director: Ivana Mladenovic
Screenwriter: Ivana Mladenovic, Bianca Oana
Producer: Daniel Mitulescu
Editor: Ana Iliesiu
Director of Photography: Luchian Ciobanu, Claudiu Ciprian Popa
Executive Producer: Bianca Oana
Composer: Ion Dumitrescu, Andrei Dinescu, Horatiu Serbanescu
Sound Design: Vlad Voinescu
Primary Cast: Alexandru Mititelu, Chilibar Papan, Cristian Dragomir, Gyani Versace
Ivana Mladenovic was born in Kladovo, Serbia. She moved to Bucharest to study film directing at UNATC I.L. Caragiale and graduated with a master's in 2011.