Collective (2019 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlexander Nanau
Written by
  • Alexander Nanau
  • Antoaneta Opriș
Produced by
CinematographyAlexander Nanau
Edited by
Music byKyan Bayani
Distributed by
Release dates
  • September 4, 2019 (2019-09-04) (Venice)
  • February 28, 2020 (2020-02-28) (Romania)
Running time
109 minutes
  • Romania
  • Luxembourg
Box office$147,875[1]

Collective (Romanian: Colectiv, also known as Collective: Unravelling a Scandal) is a 2019 Romanian documentary film directed, written, produced and edited by Alexander Nanau. The film centers on the 2016 public health scandal following the Colectiv nightclub fire. The film follows dual stories of investigative journalists at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor uncovering public healthcare corruption and maladministration, and the government's response to the crisis at the Ministry of Health.

The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on 4 September 2019, and was released in Romania on 28 February 2020, and on 20 November 2020 in other countries, including the UK and USA. It received acclaim from critics, as well as many accolades, including from the European Film Awards and the National Society of Film Critics.[2][3] It was nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for the Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film categories, becoming the first Romanian film to be nominated for an Academy Award.


On October 30, 2015, in Bucharest, Romania, the metal band Goodbye to Gravity performs a concert at a club called Colectiv. Pyrotechnics cause a fire to break out, quickly engulfing the club, resulting in the immediate deaths of 27 people and injuring 180. Over the following months, an additional 37 victims die, partially due to the lack of proper healthcare at public hospitals.

Journalists begin investigating the mismanagement of healthcare by public hospitals after sources inform them that the disinfectants used are diluted. Testing confirms this, and the journalists subsequently publish a hard-hitting story about the supplier, Hexi Pharma, and how it falsified documentation for the supplied disinfectants. The story also reveals that the government failed to properly verify the supplier and its products. The Minister of Health, Patriciu Achimaș-Cadariu [ro], orders an investigation. When Cătălin Tolontan, a journalist from the Gazette, goes on TV to discuss the investigation, the Minister of Health dismisses the journalist's insistence for facts and evidence, stating that governmental testing shows the disinfectant solutions are 95 percent effective.

The journalists push further and find a source that confirms the intelligence service has known for years that bacterial infections were killing people but did nothing. The Gazette publishes the story, and mass protests continue over the corruption and lack of proper healthcare protection. Consequently, the Minister of Health resigns, and a criminal investigation begins against the CEO of Hexi Pharma, Dan Condrea [ro]. The government announces at a press conference that they have tested the Hexi Pharma products and found the solutions were all diluted. Tolontan asks about the 95 percent effectiveness previously claimed by the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry responds by refusing to comment on their previous claim. Shortly after, Condrea is killed in a car crash.

Later, The Gazette obtains a video of a patient in a hospital with maggots festering in their wound. Their source, a frustrated doctor, explains that patient deaths resulting from diluted disinfectants or inadequate blood transfusion services continue unabated even after the Social Democratic governmental ousting in late 2015. Vlad Voiculescu, the new Minister of Health, meets with the doctor, and she details how hospital management avoided the problems and did nothing while patients were dying. She also discusses how hospitals treat patients inhumanely, as well as how bribes are arranged between hospital managers and doctors.

Voiculescu concludes that there isn't a single unit throughout the public hospitals that isn't affected by profound administrative corruption. He learns that he cannot fire the corrupt hospital managers currently in place, many of whom bribed their way into their positions, so he demands that extremely strict regulations for any new hospital managers be introduced. He begins to realize that the whole system is rotten and that eradicating corruption would entail "firing everyone." When he withdraws funding from a lung transplant unit, deeming it dangerous, he becomes the target of a press campaign led by Mayor of Bucharest Gabriela Firea, who accuses him of wasting taxpayer money on transporting patients to Vienna, even though the unit in Bucharest is supposedly fully accredited to perform the same operation. A professor privately admits to Voiculescu that the unit should not have been accredited and it was done under political pressure, but begs Voiculescu not to speak about this in public to avoid a scandal that could ruin the reputation of the institute.

Election day arrives, and the Social Democrats sweep the election, obtaining the most votes. At The Gazette, Tolontan's colleague reveals she had an off-the-record conversation with someone who warns the journalists about their and their families' safety. Later on, the public hospital appoints a manager who is unqualified and legally unable to manage a hospital.


The film premiered out of competition at the 76th Venice Film Festival on 4 September 2019.[4] It was also screened at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival[5] and in the Spotlight section of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.[6] It was released in Romania on 28 February 2020, by Bad Unicorn. On 20 November 2020, it was released in the U.S. by Magnolia Pictures and Participant and in the U.K. by Dogwoof.


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Collective holds an approval rating of 99% based on 130 reviews, with an average rating of 9/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Collective presents a darkly effective overview of the cycle of political corruption and public cynicism that takes hold when government abrogates its responsibility to the people."[7] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 95 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[8]

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang called the film "a gripping, despairing exposé of institutional injustice".[5] Jay Weissberg of Variety called it "a documentary for our times, deserving of widespread exposure".[9] Manohla Dargis of New York Times wrote that the film "sketches out an honest, affecting, somewhat old-fashioned utopian example of what it takes to make the world better, or at least a little less awful."[10]


At the 33rd European Film Awards, the film won Best European Documentary, becoming the first ever Romanian film to achieve that feat.[2] The film also won Best Documentary at the 41st Boston Society of Film Critics Awards.[11] Starting off the new year on a strong foot, it went on to win the prestigious Best Foreign Language Film Award from the National Society of Film Critics on 9 January 2021.[3] On 26 January 2021, the National Board of Review selected Collective as one of the top 5 foreign language films of the year.[12] On 9 March 2021, the film was nominated for the 74th BAFTA Film Awards for Best Documentary.[13] Furthermore, on 15 March 2021, the film was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the 93rd Academy Awards for two categories: Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film. It is only the second film to be nominated for both awards following North Macedonia's Honeyland the previous year.[14] It is the first Romanian film to be nominated for an Academy Award, let alone in two categories. It also won the prestigious Peabody Award.[15]

Award Date of ceremony Category Result Ref
European Film Awards 12 December 2020 Best Documentary Won [2]
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards 13 December 2020 Best Documentary Film Won [11]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 20 December 2020 Best Documentary Film Runner-up [16]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 21 December 2020 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [17]
Best Documentary Nominated
National Society of Film Critics 9 January 2021 Best Foreign Language Film Won [3]
St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards 2020 18 January 2021 Best Documentary Feature Won [18]
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society 18 January 2021 Best Documentary Feature Nominated [19]
San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle 18 January 2021 Best Documentary Film Won [20]
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
Online Film Critics Society 25 January 2021 Best Documentary Film Nominated [21]
Best Foreign Language Film Nominated
National Board of Review 26 January 2021 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [12]
London Film Critics Circle 7 February 2021 Documentary of the Year Won [22][23]
Foreign Language Film of the Year Nominated
Film of the Year Nominated
Toronto Film Critics Association 7 February 2021 Best Documentary Film Won [24]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 8 February 2021 Best Documentary Nominated [25]
Satellite Awards 15 February 2021 Best Documentary Film Won [26]
Critics' Choice Awards 7 March 2021 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [27]
Austin Film Critics Association Awards 19 March 2021 Best Documentary Nominated [28]
British Academy Film Awards 11 April 2021 Best Documentary Nominated [13]
Independent Spirit Awards 22 April 2021 Best Documentary Feature Nominated [29][30]
Academy Awards 25 April 2021 Best Documentary Feature Nominated [14]
Best International Feature Film Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Collective (2020)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "European Film Awards Winners 2020". European Film Awards. 12 December 2020. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Kay, Jeremy (9 January 2021). "'Nomadland' named best picture by National Society Of Film Critics". Screen Daily. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  4. ^ Petre, Mirela (4 September 2019). "Primele impresii ale publicului după premiera documentarului "colectiv" la Festivalul de Film de la Veneția. "Un denunț important, făcut în scopuri bune"". Libertatea (in Romanian). Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b Chang, Justin (7 September 2019). "Toronto Film Festival: 'Waves' and 'Just Mercy' shine a light on black American families in crisis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Filmul documentar "Colectiv" a fost selectat la Festivalul de Film Sundance, în secțiunea Spotlight". Europa FM (in Romanian). 5 December 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Collective (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on 25 November 2020. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  8. ^ "Collective Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 25 November 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  9. ^ Weissberg, Jay (6 September 2019). "Venice Film Review: 'Collective'". Variety. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  10. ^ Dargis, Manohla (19 November 2020). "'Collective' Review: When Tragedy Consumes a Nation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 December 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Current Winners – 2020 Awards". Boston Society of Film Critics. 13 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  12. ^ a b "2020 Award Winners". National Board of Review. 26 January 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  13. ^ a b "2021 EE British Academy Film Awards: The Nominations". BAFTA. 9 March 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Nominees". 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Collective," from, 6/23/2021
  16. ^ Davis, Clayton (20 December 2020). "Los Angeles Film Critics Winners Full List: Entire 'Small Axe' Series Tops Despite Not Being Submitted for Oscars". Variety. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  17. ^ Adams, Ryan (18 December 2020). "Chloe Zhao's Nomadland Leads Chicago Film Critics Association 2020 Nominations". AwardsDaily. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  18. ^ "2020 StLFCA Annual Award Winners". St. Louis Film Critics Association. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  19. ^ "The 2020 Houston Film Critics Society (HFCS) Winners". 18 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  20. ^ "SFBAFCC 2020 Awards". San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle. 18 January 2021. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  21. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (25 January 2021). "Online Films Critics Society Unveils Annual Film Awards Recipients, Names 'Nomadland' Best Picture". Deadline. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  22. ^ Cline, Rich (12 January 2021). "Female Filmmakers Lead Nominees for Critics Circle Film Awards". London Film Critics' Circle. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  23. ^ Cline, Rich (7 February 2021). "London Critics name Nomadland their best film of 2020". London Film Critics' Circle. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Nomadland leads 24th Annual TFCA Award winners". Toronto Film Critics Association. 7 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  25. ^ "The 2020 WAFCA Awards". Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  26. ^ "2020 Winners". International Press Academy. 15 February 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  27. ^ "Film nominees for the 26th annual Critics Choice Awards have been announced". Critics Choice Association. 8 February 2021. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  28. ^ Partridge, Jon (12 March 2021). "2020 Austin Film Critics Association Award Nominations". Austin Film Critics Association. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  29. ^ Lewis, Hilary (26 January 2021). "Film Independent Spirit Awards: 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always,' 'Minari,' 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom,' 'Nomadland' Top Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  30. ^ SPIRIT AWARDS NOMINATIONS (2021) | Presenters Olivia Wilde, Barry Jenkins & Laverne Cox|FilmIndependent on YouTube

External links[edit]