Winner SOS Kinderdörfer weltweit Award 2019
The Dutchman Joost Vandebrug receives this years DOK.fest award of the SOS Kinderdörfer weltweit 2019. For his debut film BRUCE LEE & THE OUTLAW the photographer Vandebrug accompanied the Bucharest street boy Nicu for six years. Nicu found a home at Bruce Lees, the king of the underworld, at his underground tunnels. He gets food and something like a family. But drugs are omnipresent, like the silver Aurolac that the children constantly inhale with their plastic bags.
The jury statement
When the eleven-year-old street boy Nicu gets adopted by "Bruce Lee",
the infamous king of the "underworld" of Bucharest, he will find a new home
in the catacombs of the capital. "Bruce Lee" takes the boy into his gang
and supposedly offers him what he desperately misses: food, warmth and sth.like a family.
But his motives are selfish. "Bruce Lee" often speaks in delusion, drugs and
crime are involved. When Nicu almost dies of tuberculosis, suddenly
the altruistic Raluca appears in Nicus' life and nurses him back to health.
For the first time in his life Nicu gets the chance to be a child. He is faced
with an important decision: Should he finally turn his back on the life in the tunnels?
Dutch photographer Jost Vandebrug spent six years with Nicu in Bucharest.
With great courage and even more empathy he gets involved with the hard life
of forgotten children in post-communist Bucharest. The film allows us
a glimpse into the abyss of hell. He documents the problematic relationship
Nicus has to his father figure. With sensitivity for this complex unsettling
parallel world, he captures small, often surprising moments of everyday life
such as the birthday parties. The omnipresent longing of a child for family comfort
is the pivot of of the narrative. Every child clutchs at any straw they may find
also if it may be the wrong one. The director Jost Vandebrug takes us into
the otherwise secretive "underworld" without any reservation or judgement
and proves in his touching movie that it's never too late to change his life.
A hard and at the same time loving movie full of drama and hope, that shows
that love and beauty can be found in the darkest places, too.
Information about the jury can be found here