I went to Romania for the first time in 1993, 3 years after the fall of Ceausescu. With friends we had set up a charity to help kids growing up in orphanages in the North East of Romania. We particularly worked in the orphanages of Propricani and Bogdanesti near Iasi. The way kids were living or even surviving were terrible materially and emotionally. My first trips to Romania were deeply shocking. Some kids were lacking so much attention that they would physically hurt you. We starting raising money to improve the orphanage’s conditions. We also set up a sponsorship of the children by some French families. I took a lot of photos of the kids, of their environment. I did it for years till the end of the 90s. I built very strong relationships with some of them.
Then a few years ago I wanted to find out what had happened to them, and went back to Romania again. It was the beginning of a new Romanian adventure. Chasing Popricani’s ex-orphans has taken me all over Europe and back to Romania several times since 2006. My work Ceausescu’s Orphans, 25 years on has been shown exhibited in Paris and published in different magazines. That’s how Marion got in touch with. She was adopted by a French family in 1982 when she was 6 years old. She told me she was thinking about telling her story through a book or a film. I had always wanted to do a documentary about all the kids I had photographed and found again. We needed a third accomplice: Ursula, a film maker friend I had worked with on different projects. She loved the idea of combining our stories: Marion travelling to Romania to find her biological parents and me going back to find some kids I still hadn’t met since the 90s.
L’Enfant du Diable is a documentary which not only tells Marion’s story and mine but also shows the aberrations and devastating consequences of Ceausescu’s pro-natalist policies.
L’Enfant du Diable was broadcast on TLT (Toulouse, France) in January 2015 and is on its way to festivals and hopefully other TV channels.