Irina Nistor was, for all the Romanians who lived during the communist regime, the VOICE. During an era when Romanians had only 2 hours of TV broadcast a day and all the shows or movies were drastically censored, buying a VCR for watching Western movies in the comfort of your own apartment was like buying a virtual ticket for freedom.
Irina Nistor, one of the film critics hired by the Romanian National TV Station, was the one who was translating all the movies illegally brought in the country and played over and over again by Romanians on VCRs. Her voice and her style were so recognizable that she became one of the most famous public figures even after the Romanian Revolution from 1989 and she is still a public figure at this moment.
This is why the latest story from CNN’s Great Big Story, The Voice of Hollywood in Communist Romania, features Irina Nistor, one of the most beloved voices during the communism.
I am the most famous voice in Romania for films. During the last year of communism I voiced over 3,000 titles. Of course, it was illegal. It was an opening to freedom.Irina Nistor for Great Big Story of CNN
She was tolerated by the communist regime at that time, though. Maybe even the authorities realized that Romanians had to enjoy at least some of the films produced in Hollywood, as the only Romanian National TV station was not able to buy the rights to broadcast the latest Hollywood movies.
They (the communists) were interested not to show anything connected to religion, sex and so on. (Or anything) about food, because we couldn’t find any of these products. (…) The only salvation was VCRs. There was a black market for VCRs at that time. It was the only window to the Western world.Irina Nistor for Great Big Story of CNN
Irina Nistor remains one of the landmarks which will always remind people of a time when censorship was the rule and thus, as she stated, it was absolutely essential to fight for art without censorship. But, in the same time, she will always remind people of a time when she offered millions of people a virtual ticket to Hollywood movies. And that, during those times, meant freedom.