The documentary “New Romanian Man” explores the oppressive and damaging policies implemented by Romania’s communist leader Nicolae Ceaucescu in the 1960s and 70s. Focusing on Decree 770, which forbid abortion for all women unless they were over 40 or already had four children, Ceaucescu put immense pressure on Romanian women to procreate. This resulted in a dramatic rise of births, with an extra million babies being born over the usual average. To accommodate the rapidly growing population, kindergartens were built overnight and children were forced to take part in sports and other activities.
The film brings this era back to life through interviews with experts such as gynaecologists as well as mothers who lived through this time, as well as archival footage from fiction films. The stories revealed are both heartbreaking and eye-opening, with many deaths being caused by illegal abortions and thousands of women being thrown into jail for attempting them – even wives of secret agents and famous TV presenters.
“New Romanian Man” is a must-watch documentary that sheds light on a dark moment in Romania’s history that should not be forgotten. Its portrayal of what it was like for individuals living during this period is incredibly powerful and thought-provoking. Watch it today to get a better understanding of an oppressive regime that sought to control its population through draconian laws designed to limit personal freedom.