The Green Grass of Home - by Stere Gulea - CINEPUB

A new international online premiere on CINEPUB: “The Green Grass of Home”, is the directorial debut signed by the filmologist Stere Gulea, after a script written by the novelist Sorin Titel. A story about a young college graduate, a math teacher who returns in his hometown, after he refused certain compromises that would have facilitated his future university career.

The Green Grass of Home - by Stere Gulea - CINEPUB

Directed by: Stere Gulea
Script by: Stere Gulea
Cast: Florin Zamfirescu, Octavian Cotescu, Vasile Nițulescu, Mihai Pălădescu, Ion Caramitru
Producer: Sidonia Caracaș, Platon Pardău, Casa de filme 4
Cinematography by: Valentin Ducaru
Editing by: Adriana Ionescu
Music: Radu Șergan
Sound: Gheorghe Ilarian
Year: 1977
Category: feature film
Genre: drama
Duration: 99 minutes

114,020 – Cinepub viewers

PLOT SUMMARY

The young Stefan Corici (Florin Zamfirescu) is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Mathematics who wants to become a university assistant at the faculty. He is in love with Irina (Diana Lupescu), the daughter of one of his teachers (Ion Cojar). The girl begs her father to intervene so that Stefan can get a job as an assistant at the college. The teacher suggests accepting some compromises to achieve the goal, but the young man refuses.

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Eager to prove that he can handle life alone and without intervention, Stefan chooses to become a mathematics teacher at the general school in his native village, Mioveni (Argeș county). He finds the parental home abandoned and ruined; his mother had died a long time ago, and his father, Serafim (Vasile Nițulescu), went to work on the construction site after a dispute with his eldest son, Dumitru (Dorel Vișan), the manager of the village shop. Stefan moves to the parental house and goes to the yard, trying to bring his father home.

The people of the village are upset by the young man’s choice to come back as a teacher, as all the villagers are moving to the city. Among the few who support him is the president of the Communal People’s Council, Mrs. Vasile (Paul Lavric), a man who has the ambition to develop the local community. Stefan is gradually adapting to the duties of a teacher at the general school. He restores the abandoned parental household with the help of his father Poldi (Ernest Maftei). His ex-girlfriend visits him in the country and tries to persuade him to return to the city, but Stefan refuses, stating that he wants to succeed in his life through his powers. Irina leaves sadly because she couldn’t convince him. Meanwhile, Stefan begins to be attracted to a young teacher (Mariana Cabanov).

Throughout the story, the young teacher overcomes the difficulties of the beginning, starting to feel a sense of regaining identity. Eventually, his father returns to the village, saying he is tired of walking around the world. In the final scene of the film, Stefan replaces his father when he mows the grass in the court of the parental house, thus symbolically taking over the management of the household.

What critics say:

In “The History of the Romanian Cinema (1897-2000)” (Ed. Romanian Cultural Foundation, Bucharest, 2000), the film critic, Călin Căliman, considers that „The Green Grass of Home” is a film “of the soul”, “calm and quiet, like a whisper”. Stere Gulea made the film of a return in a time when most people wanted to go to places where they could have a better life. The real reason for this return, however, is not the refusal to compromise, but the “green grass at home”, the connection with the native places. The father and son characters have symbolic meanings, being interpreted by Vasile Nițulescu and Florin Zamfirescu with “a naturally captivating personality”. An example of a  sequence with an emphasized symbolic role is the passing of the seam from the tired old man after a life’s work to the young man returned home, a real exchange of values between two generations. (Călin Căliman – „The History of Romanian Cinema” (1897-2000)

Stere Gulea’s filmography is built on two ends of the bridge: two novelists, one famous (Preda), the other unknown or forgotten, even by those who once saw him as the great hope of the new Romanian novel – Sorin Titel. The film can rightly be considered dated today, or, in other words,, period branded; but let’s not forget that the brand and especially the stamp on it belong to the communist censorship; yet, the movie succeeds in some places to speak beyond the dialogues officially approved by the Dulea or Popescu-”God” comrades (the leaders of the Comunist Party cultural censorship).

Somewhere, in the depths, coming from the adapted text, lies the sadness of unspoken things. Our generation at that time were raised and educated as ”hawks of the homeland”, pioneers and young communists with a patriarchal image of the Romanian peasant: the undoubtedly one gifted with lyrical and gastronomic talent, with generosity, good-nature, intelligence, hospitality and so on. – countless graces given by the Creator to an apparently chosen nation … Those who will read Melancolie, the unfinished novel of the author who disappeared prematurely, will discover a life in the country that has nothing to do with the image created by communist propaganda, continued by the brain wash of the tabloids after 89, nor with the pre-war, cultural and literal Romanian movement called sămănătorism, Nichifor Crainic type

The aggressive wickedness of those around, depression and alcoholism, the last stages of a society  without a horizon, mark the end of Sorin Titel, as well as the one of the traditional village. Those who knew the Romanian education in the 80’s, as well as its evolution after the 90’s, may understand Stere Gulea’s film differently today. And the disaster of  education, the atomic bomb that leaves the traditional land and future deserted. Because Ștefan Corici, even retired, still teaches today. And he is not a positive character anymore… (Lucian Georgescu, cinepub.ro)

Festivals & Awards:

  • 1977 – ACIN – Premiul „Opera Prima”
  • 1978 – Lublin – Premiul II

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