Moldowa Lost in Transition

A film by Fritz Ofner, Gerald Knaus
A 2012, 52 Min.


Part of ORF’s BALKAN EXPRESS documentary series:


MOLDOWA LOST IN TRANSITION is a portrait of Moldava, Europe’s poorest country, and its struggle to find an autonomous identity somewhere between the EU and Russia. The film provides a fascinating look at a rich and unspoiled culture which is for the most part unknown beyond the country’s borders.


This film will create powerful images, such as scenes of rough but seemingly idyllic village life. As practiced there, agriculture resembles what it was like in Austria a century ago: done by hand, with donkey carts, and in many cases at subsistence level. The villages are also home to a wealth of stories about Moldavans’ difficult lives: Families are torn apart when working-age residents emigrate, leaving the children and elderly behind.


Transnistria is home to a culture that seems frozen in time; monuments and apartment buildings made of prefabricated concrete slabs have not changed since the days of the Soviet Union. Time seems to stand still here, and a smoldering conflict with Moldava is still ongoing, though officially this Russian protectorate remains part of the country.


In spite of all these contradictions, a vibrant art and cultural scene has developed here. The performance of Zdob si Zdub at the Eurovision song contest held in Ukraine was unforgettable, where the band blew the international audience away with its ethno punk. Its version of Austrian Hubert von Goisern’s hit song “Koa Hitamadl” made it to no. 1 on the Moldovan charts. 





Fritz Ofner



Gerald Knaus


Idea & Concept:

Knut Neumayer

Martin Traxl

Gerald Knaus



Adriana Ciobanu

Eggert Hardten

Yana Zabanova



Christian Haake

Fritz Ofner

Dominik Spritzendorfer



Peter Kutin


Production Management:

Corina Boaghe



Max Kliewer



Markus Glaser

Michael Kitzberger

Wolfgang Widerhofer

Nikolaus Geyrhalter 



NGF - Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion GmbH


in coproduction with:



An initiative of ERSTE Stiftung

In cooperation with ESI - European Stability Initiative


with support of:

Fernsehfonds Austria / RTR