Tichilesti is a small village that sits seemingly at the end of the world where an unusual mixture of village and sanatorium can be found. This lost town is just up from the Danube River Delta, the most picturesque of Romanian landscapes, where 23 lepers and more than three-dozen hospital staff live. Among the staff is just one doctor, a dermatologist, Rizvan Vasilu.
The Romanian Ministry of Health forbid shooting in the sanitarium, warning of a high risk of contagion. As a result, the documentary on the last European inhabitants touched by the microbe of the ?devil’s disease? started outside the sanitarium.
Tichilesti?s patients are all afflicted with the non-contagious form of the disease, allowing them to leave the sanatorium. Almost all of Tichilesti?s patients have families, healthy descendants whose visits serve as a break from the monotonous boredom of everyday life. Family visits are the special treat that keep many of the village?s residents from giving up.
Cristache Tatulea is the 75 years old unofficial mayor of Tichilesti. At sixteen he was diagnosed with leprosy and has since lived in the sanatorium. He is very vital, always in movement, always ready to talk while drinking wine from his vineyard. He is the ?motor? of the sanatorium, and an example for less motivated inhabitants of the sanatorium.
In May 2005, a home for the elderly was opened in Tichilesti. Supported by the European Union, it was the visionary project of Dr. Rizvan Vasilu, trying on one hand to prepare the sanatorium for the moment the last leper will die and on the other hand to allow leprosy patients to socialize with lonely old people.
That?s how Cristache meets Aurelia, starting one of the most unusual love stories between two people marked by loneliness and isolation.