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When Romanian dictator Nicolei Ceaucescu outlawed the use of contraceptives and encouraged his subjects to have more children in a bid to increase his nation's population, his campaign had a terrible and dangerous side effect -- thousands of children were born to broken or dysfunctional families in a nation mired in political and economic instability, resulting in a large and rapidly growing population of homeless children in the city of Bucharest, with their numbers estimated at over 20,000. Children Underground is a documentary that explores this ongoing tragedy, offering a view of the larger problem and taking a closer look at the lives of five children living on the streets of Bucharest. Sixteen-year-old Cristina survived physical torture and a stay in a mental institution before escaping to Bucharest's Victory Plaza, where she's the hard-bitten leader of a gang of young hoodlums. Fourteen-year-old Macarena is a lost soul who gets through her days by sniffing paint fumes. Twelve-year-old Mihai comes from a home so fearsome he has opted to be homeless rather than stay with his abusive father, who once chained him to a radiator so he would not run away. Ten-year-old Ana is often beaten by older children, and like Macarena, blots out her misery by sniffing paint; she tries to protect her eight-year-old brother, Marian, who already bears the emotional scars of his violent and chaotic childhood.

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Special Features "Where Are They Now" updates Filmmaker and additional crew biographies Filmmaker statement Resource guide to organizations and charities Interactive menus Scene selection

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NVG9508 Children Underground DVD (2001) $19.95 $17.99