From a traditional village bordering Ukraine, to the relatively sophisticated city of Bucharest, DIAMONDS IN THE DARK tells the stories of ten Romanian women. We hear and see how they lived under the old regime, and how they are confronting the new problems of the post-communist era.
Archival footage and interviews relate the women's struggles for survival under Ceausescu. The chronic lack of heat and electricity, and the long lines for crumbs of food, were just the beginning of the burdens borne by women. Professionals, students, factory workers and farmworkers; all were obliged to take part in pro-Ceausescu demonstrations, take care of home and family, and produce more children for the regime. Abortion, the only form of birth control remotely available, was forbidden but common. These struggles were accompanied by a fear of surveillance, and a fear of expressing a viewpoint offensive to the regime. All of this within the historical context of traditional, patriarchal society that has shown few signs of becoming more egalitarian.
Now, ten years after the fall of the Ceausescus, the film asks the question, "What is freedom?" Some women, after years of forced public life, prefer the relative tranquillity of their homes and small farms. Others have discovered the competitive world of business, while a courageous few strive to unify women and to organize a fight for women's rights.
From a village where women still wash their clothes in a stream, to the capital where the newest western products sparkle on main street, and to the conflicted intersection between rapid economic change and slow changes in mentality, DIAMONDS IN THE DARK paints a portrait of a society in transition, and of women who have been hidden behind a wall of silence - from the West and from each other -- for 40 years.
"Fascinating! DIAMONDS IN THE DARK is not the story of any one person, but of the women of Romania. Viewers see their individual and collective strength as they tell stories of life both before and after the communist era and the Ceausescu regime. An interesting look into a country and a culture." - Voice of Youth Advocates
"Highly recommended for Women's Studies, Eastern European Studies, Sociology, and Political Science." - Educational Media Reviews Online
"An insightful study of the devastation wrought by the Ceausescu regime and the problems faced in the period of transformation. Illuminate[s] textures of human experience... A courageous film [that] reveals the diamonds who provided the real source of illumination in the darkness." - Joel Marrant, PhD, Linfield College