Possible Sounds of Early Cinema

Leiba Zibal

1930, silent film, drama, runtime: 49 minutes (unfortunately, it has not been fully preserved)
music: Miron Ghiu

Directed by Al. Ștefănescu and Ion Niculescu-Brună, the film is a loose adaptation of the short novel “A Torch for Easter” by I. L. Caragiale, being influenced in narration by the antisemitism of the era and in style by German expressionism. Cinematography by Leo Schwedler.

The film opens with the Easter Mass in which the exhortation Come take the light is transposed into a beautiful visual idea: the flickering of the candles rips from the darkness glimpses of the night. The directors also possess the boldness of shaking the spectators’ habits, casting four different actors at the distinct ages of his character (…) or the peculiar interest for the interwar Bucharest, long parts of the film were shot outside conveying valuable data about those times: the tramways and the carriages of the era, architectural landmarks such as Vila Brâncoveanu, Lipscanii and Văcăreștii, even the posters on the walls are speaking of the pursuits of the filmmakers’ contemporaries. (Tudor Caranfil, “Subjective Dictionary of Romanian Filmmakers”, Polirom Publishing House, 2013)