MIFF #12: My second Romanian movie of MIFF was very different to the first, but both were equally amusing in a quirky way.

Silent Wedding (Nunta muta) is set in a Romanian village in 1953, near the beginning of Communist rule. The peasants live an idealistic rural life in soft summer light and have gathered together for a wedding celebration. Just as the feasting is about to begin, the Russians arrive to tell them that Stalin has died and there will be seven days of mourning. There will be no laughing, no football and no weddings – no exceptions. The wedding guests decide to resist by holding a silent wedding under the cover of darkness. Glasses are silently clinked, people laugh mutely and the gypsy band pretends to play. Every noise brings increasing tension, until the bride’s father pronounces that people must dance and music must play and the building hums with noise and happiness.

The film cast a warm tone and the audience audibly enjoyed many amusing moments in the film, including the ‘Chinese Whispers’ passing of messages around the banquet table. When the harsh and brutal ending came I wasn’t quite expecting it, but it lent a poignancy to what could have been a frivolous film.