I am Hercules

Baile Herculane is one of the oldest spa resorts in Europe – it is here that centuries ago kings and queens used to come to slip their bodies into the healing waters, named after Hercules, who, legend says, rests here. But the glamour of antiquity has long since faded. The spa is now a labyrinth where low to middle-class Romanians get lost in their search for eternal youth, health and wellness.

Relu, Mitica and Gelu, three self-made masseurs in their 70s, serve as guides through this “Discount Garden of Eden”. They are colleagues and rivals, vying for customers and advertising their healing methods. When the city administration announces the construction of a new Hercules statue, burly Mitica is there in a heartbeat – not without the hope of posing as model. He sees himself as a modern Hercules – but so too do his fellow masseurs.

“I am Hercules” is a portrait of a timeless place, fixated on the ideals of Roman Gods, immortality, ancient beauty standards, and healing waters. After a painful transition from Communism to Capitalism in a time of crisis, Baile Herculane represents a whole society’s search for wellbeing.

A film by Marius Iacob

Editor: Roxana Szel
Producer: Irina Andreea Malcea, Christian Popp
Commissioning Editor ZDF: Doris Hepp
Commissioning Editor HBO Europe: Hanka Kastelicova

A co-production of Manekino Films and DOCDAYS Productions, in co-production with HBO Europe, ZDF in collaboration with ARTE. Produced with support by Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Length: 75/52 min
Release Date: 2016

Baile Herculane is one of the oldest spa resorts in Europe – it is here that centuries ago kings and queens used to come to slip their bodies into the healing waters, named after Hercules, who, legend says, rests here. But the glamour of antiquity has long since faded. The spa is now a labyrinth where low to middle-class Romanians get lost in their search for eternal youth, health and wellness.

Relu, Mitica and Gelu, three self-made masseurs in their 70s, serve as guides through this “Discount Garden of Eden”. They are colleagues and rivals, vying for customers and advertising their healing methods. When the city administration announces the construction of a new Hercules statue, burly Mitica is there in a heartbeat – not without the hope of posing as model. He sees himself as a modern Hercules – but so too do his fellow masseurs.

“I am Hercules” is a portrait of a timeless place, fixated on the ideals of Roman Gods, immortality, ancient beauty standards, and healing waters. After a painful transition from Communism to Capitalism in a time of crisis, Baile Herculane represents a whole society’s search for wellbeing.

Director: Marius Iacob
Editor: Roxana Szel
Producer: Irina Andreea Malcea, Christian Popp
Commissioning Editor ZDF: Doris Hepp
Commissioning Editor HBO Europe: Hanka Kastelicova

A co-production of Manekino Films and DOCDAYS Productions, in co-production with HBO Europe, ZDF in collaboration with ARTE. Produced with support by Robert Bosch Stiftung.

Length: 75/52 min
Release Date: 2016