The Romanians Are Coming

Andreescu, F. C. (2018) ‘The Romanians Are Coming (2015): Immigrant bodies through the British gaze’. European Journal of Cultural Studies. On-line first: Sept 2018


The Channel 4 documentary series The Romanians Are Coming generated strong protests within the Romanian community, stressing the unfair depiction of the Romanian immigrants through its disproportionate focus on extreme poverty and the Roma community. This article explores the psychoanalytic dynamics that keep orienting the British gaze toward certain associations of images that recur in this film. It highlights the juxtaposition the film enacts between a desolated Romanian landscape, the UK society of spectacle and festive Romanian homes. Further still, the documentary confronts the viewer with the heterotopic underside of the UK marketplace, namely, a nursing home in the United Kingdom that reveals vulnerable alienated human bodies. In this context, this article argues that the constant return to the Romanian family space, which comes alive through outbursts of spontaneous festivals, is an expression of a nostalgic fetishistic outlook of the British gaze. It further represents an attempt to deal with the traumatic vulnerability experienced in a neoliberal society.