Usturoi (Romania, 1:29:59)

Directed by: Lucian Alexandrescu

Written by: Lucian Alexandrescu

Cast: Adrian Haidean, Alexandru Prodan, Alexandru Covaci, Alina Crancau, Andreea Ioana Zaharia, Anton Stoica, Aurelia Pavel, Caludiu Lorincz, Daniela Stoica, Darius Stoica, Elena Ivanca, Elena Manuilov, Ervin Stoica, Gabriel Oana, Ghita Tamba, Gyuszi Stoica, Ileana Neagu, Ionut Turda, Ionut Adrian Varga, Istvan Robert Kanalas, Jon Seles, Lakatos Zoran Zsolt, Maier Andrei, Mircea Groza, Mishu Calin, Nicoleta Maria Varga, Nicu Varga, Radu Bazavan, Razvan Dragos, Sebastian Topan, Stelean Vlaicu, Tibi Covaci, Victor Salajan, Vlad Cucu, Zsolt Csok,

Eremia Ceapă (Jeremiah Onion), a Roma (Gypsy) boy from a village lost in Transylvania complains to his best friend Nicuşor (Nick) of the poverty his family endures. Also, his older brother wants to marry the daughter of a rich clan called Garlic, but lacks the money for the wedding. If only they had enough money…! But to this end they would have to become politicians, football players or actors, somewhere in a big city, otherwise staying in the village would bring them no fortune at all. Whereas the first two occupations have little appeal to the young boys, acting seems more convenient as they are already impersonating Jackie Chang and Bruce Lee, Jack Sparrow and Luke Skywalker in their games.

Garlic and Onion clash upon Garlic’s capturing Onion’s son Rose while necking with his daughter. Later, Onion is visited by “Cearli Ciaplin”, the village busy mouth, who tells him about Garlic’s farewell party the next day, as he decided to go to Belgium. Onion explains that besides the difference in bank accounts, there is yet another reason Garlic won’t accept Rose Onion: the Garlics are Romanian-Hungarian Gypsies, while the Onions are mere Romanian Gypsies.

In the afternoon, the mother goes to see the village witch, who only deals in half-truths and twisted words and tells the fortune “between the legs”. On her return, mother tells the daughter about a long lost granny, who got deported to the Bug river in Ukraine along with thousands of Gypsies by Hitler during WWII. But before she went away, she buried the family fortune – a gold necklace with the two onions, the clan’s coat of arms, stamped on a magic coin – at the root of a walnut tree. The daughter wants to wear the necklace at Garlic’s party, which the mother reluctantly approves. The necklace is all the more valuable as Onion father’s allegedly stabbed to death one of Garlic’s brother back in the late 80s while he was trying to steal the Onions’ precious artifact.

The Onions go to Garlic’s flamboyant, epic farewell party the next evening, during which Rose and Xenobia re-exchange promises of togetherness.

The next morning, the two boys go to school and decide to flee to the big city of Cluj, the unofficial capital of Transylvania, to become actors and thus rid themselves of the excruciating poverty and help Rose. They hitchhike in a chariot, then a tractor, then an old Dacia with a tamed ram in the back. Afterwards they get picked up by a Gypsy mobster, whom they manage to infuriate by making fun of his music. Barely making it out alive, the two dodge the fare in a train, but are caught by the inspector, eventually escaping again as the train stops in the Cluj station.

The two quixotic youngsters cross the picturesque downtown area of a modern, bustling city and unaware to them they pass by the Acting School without seeing it. After zigzagging through the city, they end up in “Hollywood”, the multiplex cinema in one of the city’s malls. Unpretentious, naive little boys from the countryside, they imagined actors dwell in cinemas!

The two are taken back to their village by the Police. One of the officers remembers a case study in the Academy with the Gypsy who stole Onions’ necklace: in his attempt, the burglar wanted to erase all evidence of old family ties between the two clans, which the Onions were unaware of. A more thorough cleaning of the magic coin would reveal not two onions, but an onion and a garlic bulb, evidence of the blood relation between the two clans. It all started with an old great-grandparent called Leeks who had come from the south and married a local Gypsy, some five generations ago.

This serendipity changes the relations between the two clans – not only would Garlic have no reason to refute Rose based on ethnic background, but he would also have to split his fortune in two as he cheated the Onions out of the rightful heritage they were bound to receive from the long lost Leeks ancestor. This would make the Onions and the Garlics equally rich, sharing the same blood. Also, apparently Garlic’s brother did not die because of the wounds inflicted on him by Onion, but because of his big mouth – he had gotten into a prison brawl with someone sentenced to life and the argument ended up bad for him. The Onion clan is exonerated of the crime they did not commit and Rose is now entitled to claim Xenobia as his wife.