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GIFFONI50PLUS - 21.31 JULY 2021


Archivio Film 2019


Category: Edition 2019

Nicu, a young homeless boy, is adopted by Bruce Lee, the notorious “King of the Underworld” and goes to live with him in the tunnels underneath Bucharest. As Nicu grows up, he starts to realize that perhaps the King of the Underworld is not the perfect father, and has to make a choice between staying in Bruce's gang, or living a 'normal' life above ground.

Category Official Competition
Section GEx Doc
Tipology Documentary, Feature Film
Duration 86'
Production Year 2018
Nationality Czech Republic, Netherlands, United Kingdom
Directed by Joost Vandebrug
Director of photography Joost Vandebrug
Editor Katie Bryer
Sound Ranko Paukovic
Music Daniel Gadd
Main cast Florin Hora
Anghelescu Costica Nicusor
Raluca Pahomi
Produced by Andrea Cornwell, Joachim VanTrommel

 regista Joost VandebrugJOOST VANDEBRUG
Joost is a Dutch photographer, video and documentary director based in London. After studying fine art and design at Gerrit Rietveld University in Amsterdam, Vandebrug worked with Erwin Olaf, developing and reinforcing his passion for visual storytelling. His narrative work portrays spirited realism that engages on both social and emotional levels. His ongoing project following a group of adolescents who inhabit abandoned tunnels in Bucharest, resulted in the publication of a book, "Cinci Lei". Vandebrug’s editorial clients include V Man, L’Uomo Vogue, Dazed & Confused and Vogue Italia. Recently he made films for Dsquared2, Vogue Italia, Nike, Kid's wear magazine, the Pet Shop Boys and Jamie T. His short films participated in the Rotterdam, Berlin and San Francisco film festivals and dedicated fashion film festivals in Madrid and Paris. He was the subject of a solo exhibition, New Faces, at the FOAM Photography Museum in Amsterdam. "Bruce Lee & the Outlaw" is his first feature documentary.

Director's statement
"Six years ago, at the North train station in Bucharest I met a young boy huffing from his bag of drugs. His name was Costel, & he just turned 14. I tried to have a small conversation with him and asked to take his picture. The next day I went to the same spot to find Costel again, this time so I could give him back that picture I had shot of him. For almost a week I repeated this sequence of taking a photo and giving it back, when Costel asked me to see where he lived. […] Over the coming weeks and months, I was introduced to other boys just like Costel: Nicu, Safta, Liviu and Stefan who I later named ‘the Lost Boys’. But before I was able to safely browse the tunnels, or even be allowed, I had to meet the Boss of Bosses, the uncrowned King of the Tunnels: Bruce Lee. […] One thing was sure, he wasn’t the tyrant that you might expect from the boss of the underworld. I later discovered that Bruce Lee was part of the first generation of children to make the underground their home. Right after the fall of communism when the children could finally escape the Dickensian style orphanages/jails. The kids had scattered only to meet later in Bucharest’s underground that provided at least some warm shelter and an opportunity to earn money. But with theft, drugs and prostitution; this new world was not any kinder than the institutions in which these kids had been raised.
I have been documenting the world of Bruce Lee and the boys since early 2011. Over the years, they have told me their powerful and difficult stories and I have seen the coming of age of a generation set against a backdrop of strong friendships, orphanages, drug addiction, harsh winters and boiling summers".


Grain Media
(United Kingdom)
Revolver Amsterdam
(The Netherlands)

world sales
festival contact
Taskovski Films
(United Kingdom)