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Across The Forest: Tales from Transylvania (2009)

Justin Blair & Matthew Vincent  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Across The Forest: Tales from Transylvania + Passport to Adventure: Bucharest & the Transylvanian Countryside Romania
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Product Details

  • Directors: Justin Blair & Matthew Vincent
  • Producers: Justin Blair & Matthew Vincent
  • Format: NTSC, Subtitled, Color, Full length, DVD
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00411COB2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,700 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

In the mountains of Transylvania, ancient beliefs in the supernatural can still be found.

These beliefs are quickly dying out as the world modernizes around the tiny villages of the Carpathians.

Two American filmmakers journey across the forest to collect stories of vampires, werewolves and forest spirits.

Through a series of conversations with Romanian villagers, viewers are led on a bizarre journey, across the forest and into the supernatural beliefs of a rapidly disappearing world as rarely glimpsed by outsiders.

Beyond the sparkling romanticism of Twilight, far grittier than True Blood... To the people of Transylvania, the fodder for such fiction is very real and not to be taken lightly.

Presented here is the living folklore that haunts the collective imagination of Transylvania. See for yourself the tiny villages and ancient customs of this little known corner of the world.

Devoid of reenactments and sensationalism, this documentary proves that fact can be stranger than fiction.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy this already November 22, 2010
This documentary is pretty awesome. If you have even THE SLIGHTEST interest in Romania or it's folklore I highly recommend this dvd. The interviews are all in depth (and fairly lengthy) and the exterior shots of the Transylvanian countryside are haunting, to say the least. I honestly wish this documentary were 30 or so minutes longer and included more footage of Romania itself. Bottom it. It's great.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Romania - Fascinating Work! November 30, 2010
All it misses is the smell of Romania! Explore the folklore of these people in this deeply authentic documentary piece. Explore the historical foundations of the Jungian archetypes that Hollywood has made pop culture. Wouldn't be surprised if 1-in-10 viewers ends up visiting Romania at some point! Explore, and Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Topic, Genuine Filmaking December 13, 2010
You don't have to have an interest in Romania or folklore to really enjoy and appreciate this journey into the past that is still alive today. The personal insight to an ancient belief system foreign to most of us is intriguing and facinating. There is something very special about the style in which these filmakers express this story through their documentary. 5 solid stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No sensationalism here! February 4, 2011
By Samm
Like a previous reviewer I have also been to Romania, and I must say that this DOES bring one right into the village and into the stories. Especially with the female interviewees, you're drawn in by the softness of their voices juxtaposed with the often spine-chilling tales they are telling. I thought this was a well-edited glimpse into beliefs and aspects of village life in Transylvania that are overlooked by the majority of the world in favor of certain popular fictions.

This documentary is extremely important as a work of salvage anthropology- as the youth turn further away from the past and permanently leave their villages, these stories are going to be lost to the winds of progress. The film is presented as almost a living time capsule; there is no judgment and the filmmakers take no side on the real/not real debate. This is a documentary on folklore, not a promotion of supernatural belief.

The documentary is entirely in the Romanian language, though to my ears it's generally a very colloquial Transylvanian dialect that is difficult to follow. Fortunately, there are accurately translated subtitles for the duration. I was watching this with my grandfather, who is rather hard of hearing. He insisted we crank it up, though his command of ANY other language is zero at best! However, though you may not understand the speakers' words, their tone is unmistakable. Understated, yet "spooky" enough to capture the interest of any fan of folklore, the supernatural, or those curious about Romania.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing stories, captivating film January 26, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Having been to Romania several times, Across the Forest made me feel like I was back again. Viewers are invited, along with the filmmakers, into the homes of several rural Romanians, each of which has an intriguing story to tell involving the supernatural. Avoiding explicit analysis, the filmmakers allow the storytellers' voices to carry the film, thereby maintaining an ambiguity between fact and fiction. Some stories are told as first-hand accounts; others seem more like cautionary tales used by grandparents to warn children of dangers. The film also gives viewers a peek into the changing role of such stories in contemporary Romania - in one scene, children are heard giggling at their grandfather's story; in another, a woman mentions that young people today are more interested in watching TV than telling stories. Striking illustrations and beautiful, often haunting, scenery and music compliment the stories, resulting in a captivating film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating & Honest Portrayal July 5, 2012
By A Customer
This documentary captivates the viewer with actual accounts from Transylvanian life-longs who share honest accounts of their experiences with the culture and vampiric lore that Transylvania is revered for here in the states. A much better choice than the 1982 thriller "Into the Forest", which leads viewers on a cheesed out, creepy journey of its own...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This raw documentary is a hauntingly moving journey into the heart of vampire mythology that raises questions about the existence of the supernatural. The film explores real life accounts of encounters with vampires (Strigoi in Romania) and other beasts of the night. Many of the accounts in these tales sound far-fetched and difficult to swallow - but when juxtaposed to the sincerity with which they are told leaves the viewer questioning their own beliefs.

In a culture saturated with the romanticized notions portrayed by Bram Stoker, Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer, Across The Forest provides an alternative view of the unknown that raises questions worthy of Joseph Campbell. Absolutely worth watching more than once and definitely something you haven't seen before. In Romanian with English subtitles.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars pastiche of garrulous grandmas
I'm glad you made this documentary, guys. It's useful to me for a project. But this pastiche of garrulous grandmas will exhaust the patience of almost any ordinary viewer within... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Hamsun
5.0 out of 5 stars Low production values but awesome all the same!
If you're looking for something glossy and flashy, look elsewhere. If, however, you are looking for a genuine slice of a fading culture and generation, telling stories that will... Read more
Published on May 20, 2011 by Darth Vegas
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cultural Record & a Dramatic Narrative
This film is well constructed and contains some great cinematography, but there are two things specifically that take it to another level. Read more
Published on February 8, 2011 by Kent Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars looking for more like this please
A friend of mine loaned me this DVD and I watched it. I thought it was a strange recommendation because I didn't know anything about the subject before watching the dvd, but I... Read more
Published on January 10, 2011 by stoic1337
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing documentary
This film was wonderful. I love how this movie takes a serious look at the folktales of Romania, it captures the stories of the people who are unfortunately a generation that is... Read more
Published on December 12, 2010 by ciennakay
5.0 out of 5 stars truly creepy stuff!
If you are interested in real-life stories from Transylvania of vampires and werewolf-like creatures, then this is your documentary. Read more
Published on December 10, 2010 by Jason Kluytman
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