Wedding Day (1912)

Wedding Day

Alternate Titles: Den’venchaniia, Yom Hakhupe

This somewhat mystifying short appears to be incomplete in its present form, although it could be that Russian/Eastern audiences would have known how to interpret it. It is included with the “Early Russian Cinema” DVD set, but was actually made in Poland and stars “a troupe of travelling Jewish players.” It does include a wedding scene, but this actually follows a scene showing the death of (what looks like) the bride, attended by her husband, a rabbi, and a random drunk whose relationship to the others is obscure. The final scene shows the bereaved husband, looking worse for wear and laughing at another drunk, who seems to be engaged in a conversation with a tree stump. Throughout, there are flashes of a flooded village, which may or may not be from another film altogether. The wedding scene looks quite authentic as an Eastern Jewish wedding, and may have had elements of the “exotic” for the largely urban Russian audiences it presumably targeted. A child in this scene frequently looks at the camera. There are two uses of close-ups, which come across as jump-cuts, in part because the angle of the camera shifts slightly between shots, and the camera pans slightly to track some characters as they move across the screen. There is also a brief sequence in which the dead woman appears in the room, apparently in ghostly form, although the special effect is very simplistically done. Unfortunately, I could find little about it, and the effect of it without more context is thoroughly surreal.

Director: Evgeni Slavinski

Camera: Evgeni Slavinski

Run Time: 12 Min

You can watch this for free: here. Thanks to commenter Muller Natacha for the link!