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The Oak (1992)

Balanta (original title)
A description of Romania before Ceausescu's downfall, through the story of Nela. Daughter of a former colonel of the Securitate, the romanian political police. She refused to become as her ... See full summary »


Lucian Pintilie


Ion Baiesu (novel), Lucian Pintilie
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maia Morgenstern ... Nela
Razvan Vasilescu ... Mitica
Victor Rebengiuc ... Village mayor
Dorel Visan ... Country Priest
Ion Pavlescu Ion Pavlescu
Mariana Mihut Mariana Mihut ... Priest's wife
Gheorghe Visu ... Priest in the train
Dan Condurache ... Prosecutor
Virgil Andriescu Virgil Andriescu ... Truica - Nela's father
Alexandru Matei Alexandru Matei ... Butusina
Leopoldina Balanuta Leopoldina Balanuta ... Nela's mother
Magda Catone Magda Catone ... Mitica's assistant
Ionel Mihailescu Ionel Mihailescu ... Titi
Dorina Lazar Dorina Lazar
Vasile Popa Vasile Popa


A description of Romania before Ceausescu's downfall, through the story of Nela. Daughter of a former colonel of the Securitate, the romanian political police. She refused to become as her sister, an agent of this Securitate, and lives with her father. After he died, she leaves Bucarest, and ends up in a little town, where she meets Mitica, a surgeon, another herself, laughing of everything. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

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France | Romania



Release Date:

22 January 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Oak See more »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$3,700,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)
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Version of Mere rosii (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

Best Romanian Film Depicting Communist Humiliation of Intelligence and Culture
10 August 2005 | by Andrei_CiprianSee all my reviews

Actually the Romanian title of the movie would be "Balance" or "Scales" or "Steel Yard", pick the word most appropriate to your liking for the weight measuring gadget. The international titles (The Oak, la Chene) are linked to the last scene of the movie that metaphorically wraps up significations. The main characters have found the long sought, yet not traceable balance, equilibrium.

Why did I say that it depicts humiliation of intelligence and culture? In communist Romania people that graduated university or college were repartitioned to a job matching their studies. Only the luckiest got a repartition in a large city. Others were summoned for life in hamlets, as you could not promote or change your repartition unless joining the Party. That's the case with the leading character (Maia Morgenstern) that graduated Psichology in Paris, and was repartitioned in Copsa Mica, the most polluted city in Romania.

The caravan of insults starts with the train journey to her new work place. She is forced to switch trains in the night, take her clothes off in the presence of strangers, and ride 400 km standing in an overcrowded train. As she reaches Copsa Mica some people try to rape her, police torture and threaten her, and so on.

To certify the adage that special people congregate the Psichology graduate meets a funky doctor, that manages to elude the system by being some kind of a joker. Then the rejoicing begins as these 2 people get to know each other.

When they decide under the oak tree to give birth to a child she says: "I pray he won't be normal" and he responds "If he'll be normal I'll kill him with my own hands." For these two people being "normal" meant the supreme course. Everybody around was dull, normal and communist. Enjoy!

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