Catalina Tesar

Grant Type

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

National Museum of the Romanian Peasant

Grant number

Gr. 9390

Approve Date

October 18, 2016

Project Title

Tesar, Dr. Catalina Constantina, National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, Romania - To aid filmmaking on 'Taxtaja thaj Tokmeala: Invisible Chalices and Conspicuous Marriages' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

CATALINA CONSTANTINA TESAR, National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Bucharest, Romania, was awarded a Fejos Ethnographic Film Fellowship to aid filmmaking on ‘ Taxtaja thaj Tokmeala : Invisible Chalices and Conspicuous Marriages.’ For the Cortorari Gypsies from a village in Transylvania, the chief preoccupation at all times is to arrange the marriages of their children. Marriages revolve around ancient chalices which are passed on from father to son. Chalices are invisible, being kept hidden in the houses of neighboring Romanian peasants. Yet they obsessively haunt people’s lives: they make and break marriages, trigger individual longings, and instigate street brawls. On the occasion of a marriage, the groom’s chalice is pledged to the bride’s family until a son is born to the new couple, perceived as the ultimate guarantee of the endurance of the marriage. The film follows the young couple Peli and Nina, both in their mid-20s, parents to a five-year old daughter, as they strive to bring forth a son to redeem Peli’s chalice from the trust of Nina’s parental family. Unless they have a son, their marriage might break. Five years have passed since they were matched, and Peli’s father is impatient to get back his family chalice. When Nina finally gets pregnant with a baby girl, the couple resort to pregnancy termination. Daughters are not desired here because of the big cash dowries to be paid on their marriage.