Alone at My Wedding, a Romanian film directed by debutante Marta Bergman was one of the many films screened under the category of ‘Contemporary World Cinema’ at the ongoing 11th edition of the Bengaluru International Film Festival.
The 121-minute film won accolades at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was well-received by the audience here too. Although, it is Marta’s maiden film, ‘Alone At My Wedding’ (originally Seule a mon marriage) attracts the viewers’ attention for more reasons than one. It is a realistic portrayal of characters, sentiments and spontaneity. And interestingly, the wedding mentioned in the film’s title never happens.
It is the story of Pamela (Alina Serban), a 20plus pretty Romanian young single mother, who lives with her kid and grandmother on the outskirts of Bucharest. They share one bed. Caught in the web of utter poverty and unemployment, she dreams of leading a contented family life and fulfilling life’s needs.
With this dream in her eyes, she crosses the border and arrives in Belgium to marry Bruno (Tom Vernier), an older man she met over the internet.
The rest of the film is about her experiences with Bruno in a different society. The crux of the story is whether she gets what she wants in life.
While she wants to be a free and fun-loving woman, Tom wants her to be a faithful housewife. He wants to help her but she is not forthcoming. Pamela knows only three French words and manages with them. She wishes to join a French class but Bruno doesn’t encourage her.
The director has stitched together the scenes very well. The film gathers momentum after Pamela settles in Bruno’s home, a rather creepy one. Serban has given an excellent performance as a woman caught between her thirst for freedom and the limitations imposed on her as a foreigner and single mother.
The contrast of Pamela’s exuberance and Tom Vernier’s seriousness is portrayed very well. ‘Alone at My Wedding’ provides an insight into the inequalities that exist in society through the eyes of a woman. It is the story of a wedding which never happens and how she gets back to her old life.