I have known Horatiu Malaele as one of the young and gifted actors of the Romanian theater. Having left Romania 26 years ago I could see him now and then in movies or TV theater, and heard only sporadic news about other directions he developed in – stage director, theater manager, satiric cartoons artist. Now I could see his first tentative as a movie director, and it is more than satisfying and certainly much more than just a debut. Make no mistake, this film does not look like the ‘minimalistic’ style films of the younger and better known generation of Romanian directors, it is more theatrical and inspired from classical Romanian literature in conception and looks deeper back into the history of Romania.

source http://www.cinemagia.ro/filme/nunta-muta-18709/

The story of ‘Nunta muta’ (The Mute Wedding) written by Malaele and satiric author and playwright Adrian Lustig is set in the year 1953, the year of the death of Stalin and is supposed to happen around the time Stalin died, although by a decision that could not have been unintentional the action is set in summertime (allowing for a few beautiful countryside takes) while Stalin died on March 5th that year. In a Romania occupied by the Russian army, the traditional agriculture based on private property and way of life of the Romanian peasants fights a war without chances with the Communist economy and ideology imposed by the occupier. A wedding needs to happen, and what should have been a normal event in the course of life becomes a confrontation between two worlds, as no joy and no noise is allowed while the whole planet is supposed to be in grieving for the loss of the Father of the Peoples. The ending is inevitable and symbolic.

(video source Miril888)

Malaele and Lustig are not extremely careful with the historical details – I mentioned the date mismatch – but they are extremely true in building a set of characters which are full of color, nuances and humor – a kind of combination of the Romanian literature types encountered in the works of Caragiale and Marin Preda – who by themselves build a world that disappeared and to which this film tries to be a homage. The critic can be made that the negative characters are too schematic, the Communists and the Russian officers look like B-movie villains, but this seems to be intentional again, as the authors seem to say that the whole system that swapped Eastern Europe looked like a bad movies inspired villain system.

(video source rgfmr)

There are many scenes to remember in this film, which in its best moments reminds the movies of Kusturica at their best. Of course the wedding scene itself is fit for movies anthologies, but I will also keep in mind for long the scene of the screening of the propaganda film in the village, and the closing that gives to the whole movie a different perspective and a supplementary dimension. The team of actors does a very good job, with Meda Andreea Victor shining over all in the role of the bride.

I do not know if this was supposed to be a singular tentative in the multiple directions the career of Horatiu Malaele is taking, or whether he plans to continue with other films as director. If he does I will look forward to his future films.