One of the oldest documentaries filmed in Romania today that is still preserved, Wedding in Arad is a production during the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Transylvania – a period when film production flourished in the region under the influence of Hungarian filmmakers. Born in 1866, Szendrey began his career in acting and theater directing, as did many early film directors, which can be seen in his favorite use of space and theatrical conventions in the productions of the era. A convention visible both at the beginning and at the end of the film: the actors appear behind a curtain, and the last minutes of the film are a recording of a show that seems to be adapted after the life of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Produced in collaboration with the production and distribution company Projectograph in Budapest, Mihály Szendrey’s debut combines elements of fiction and documentary to capture the ritual of a wedding – on the one hand, the bride and groom and some of the supporting characters seem to be played by actors from The National Theater in Arad (whose director was Szendrey), but given the massive figuration of the film and the euphoric attitude of the masses, it is easy to deduce that many of their reactions were spontaneous. Although not much happens in the film from a narrative point of view (we see the wedding celebration in the market and the happiness of the community, a small ritual and the marriage ceremony), the images it captures are among the few that survive from the pre-war period, especially in Transylvania – a region where film production flourishes under imperial influence and which disappears with the reunification of principalities. And we don’t find out much about the wedding in the film, apart from the fact that after the wedding they dress in social clothes and go to the theater (a little self-reflective of the filmmaker). But what can be said with certainty is that their passionate kiss in the center of the film is probably the oldest kiss that survives in Romanian cinema.
Text: Flavia Dima
528MB | 13m 12s | 1920×1080 | mkv