Unsettling and painful drama by Ulrich Seidl (Rimini) about a paedophile man who converts a run-down school building in Romania into a fortress, together with a group of children.

Please note that this film is in Romanian, English and German, with Dutch subtitles.
Time & Tickets

In RIMINI, Ulrich Seidl followed the life of Schlager singer Richie Bravo. At the start of that film, we were also briefly introduced to Richie’s brother Ewald. SPARTA centres on Ewald’s life story. Ewald moved to Romania years ago. He is now in his forties, works as an electrical engineer, and is in a relationship. He struggles with paedophile feelings, though. One day, he decides to leave his girlfriend and move to Transylvania. In a poverty-stricken village, Ewald, together with a group of boys, some of them orphans, transforms a run-down school building into a fortress where the boys can play sports and games. Ewald blossoms in the company of the children, but at the same time must keep his paedophile desires in check. Meanwhile, the children’s – usually blind drunk – parents become suspicious.

Films by Austrian director Ulrich Seidl (PARADIES: LIEBE, IM KELLER) are almost always controversial, and SPARTA also became the centre of a hefty riot after publication of an article in the German opinion magazine Der Spiegel. Seidl allegedly did not adequately inform the Romanian children and their parents about the film’s theme. This prompted the Toronto Film Festival to cancel the film’s world premiere. The director responded with a public statement (available here:, vehemently rejecting the accusations. The Austrian Film Fund launched an independent investigation, which cleared the director from blame. The film has since screened at several film festivals, including San Sebastian and Rotterdam, and has been received as another highlight in the controversial Austrian’s rich oeuvre. (mv)

Ulrich Seidl, Austria, Germany, France, 2022, 100 min. Romanian, German & English spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Georg Friedrich, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Florentina Elena Pop, Marius Ignat, Octavian-Nicolae Cocis..