The Stone Wedding
Two short stories by the classic Romanian writer Igor Agarciceanu, dealing with peasant life and traditions in the Carpathian mountains, provide the subject matter for the two short features which make up The Stone Wedding. According to Derek Elley, in the “International Film Guide,”
“The first, Fefeleaga (directed by Mircea Veroiu), tells of a still attractive young widow who is forced by the crippling circumstances of her life - eking out a living in the stone quarries - to watch her children die, one after the other, of silicosis. The last to go is her young daughter, on the brink of womanhood; when she dies, the proud widow sells her only horse to buy a wedding dress to embalm her body. Veroiu tells the story in chiefly visual terms, explaining little and planning his static set-ups with geometrical precision. Iosif Demian's crisp black-and-white photography gives each image considerable power. The second story, At A Wedding (directed by Dan Pita) is lighter in tone and totally different stylistically, but was shot in the same region using several locations of Fefeleaga. A girl is to be married against her will to a local rich man; at the wedding feast she meets and elopes with a travelling musician providing the entertainment. Pita shows considerable concern for details of peasant life, and the bare bones of the plot are dealt with as briefly as possible. Though more animated than Fefeleaga, the second episode is similarly elliptical and visually atmospheric, and evokes Carpathian life with sly touches of (basically tough) humor. Above all, both episodes show considerable assurance in handling, and while possessing surface similarities to directors like Bresson and Ozu, succeed in carving out an individual style which is both moving and impressive.