Silent Wedding

Directed by Horatiu Malaele

Romania, 2008

Color, 87 minutes

Cast: Alexandru Potocean, Meda Victor, Valentin Teodosiu, Alexandru Bindea, Luminiţa Gheorghiu, Şerban Pavlu, Victor Rebengiuc

In present-day Romania, a group of journalists sets out to document a series of paranormal phenomena in a village where men are said to have disappeared.  As they soon discover, the event that led to the men’s disappearance was a wedding that took place in 1953 during the Soviet occupation and just after Joseph Stalin’s death. The celebration of two lovers’ union is up-ended by a Russian communist official who decrees that all festivities are officially cancelled as a sign of respect during mourning for the Soviet leader. The villagers, whose far-from-exemplary pre-communist life ways are depicted with a mix of realism, surrealism and humor, decide to celebrate the wedding anyway, but in silence.  The community seems able to experience joy even though what its members consider to be the natural order of things has been overturned. But when they eventually break the silence the wedding is brutally interrupted. 

The film is directed by Horatiu Malaele, a brilliant theater actor and director, who brings a lot of stage tricks to the medium of the screen. Silent Wedding is a spirited and effective, if at times overacted, invitation to reflect not only on the Soviet occupation of Romania but on the communist experience more generally.

Alex Lefter