“Five for Hell”

Five for hellEarly autumn, 1971. I was living in a boarding school in a small mountain town, where, besides attending classes, I was reading books, watching movies at the cinema, and playing football tennis. A leu a set. When I made three lei, I ran to the movies. “Five for Hell” was playing, two lei fifty the ticket. It caused a stir in the town two weeks long, the queues at the grocery store had moved to the ticket booth.

Could it have been a fantastic premonition of director Gianfranco Parolini, back then, in 1969, when the film “Five for Hell” was shot, that in fifty-two years, five patients immobilized on a hospital bed in Romania (and their number increases) will be carbonized due to the faulty political system after eighty-nine?

The story is not new. Anton Pann tells it in his work on the two evildoers, caught and sentenced to be hanged, who complain their time has come. The king, however, changes their sentence, burning them alive. Several newborns were also burned alive in a maternity hospital in Romania, not to mention the Colectiv case. Each time, the ignorance, nerve, and incompetence of the parties in leading a country condemned its people to death by burning; burnt not at the stake, as the Inquisition did, but burnt alive on a hospital bed or stuck in an improvised show hall.

The new Inquisition in the City of the Last Eclipse exterminates its people under the silent gaze of the Great Leader, who, a day after the tragedy from Prof. Dr. Matei Bals, flexed his hunky arm on the ski piste in Paltinis, believing no one will recognize him well-camouflaged.

“How’s skiing, Mr. President?”

“Very well. I envite you to come.”

Well said from the top of the slope, in times of pandemic, while the people mourn their burned alive dead. Then why should the prime minister or his proud governors be the suckers and resign?

The people sleep the sleep of death or die burned alive, and no one can even hum the national anthem “Awaken thee, Romanian” here, at our place, in the City of the Last Eclipse.

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