International Romani Day: Film presentation and debate

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An ethnographic film with Romanian Cortorari Roma to be presented on the occasion of the International Romani Day

On the occasion of International Roma Day, we propose an online event, including a film presentation and a debate. After a short introduction on zoom at 17:00, we will provide a link to watch the film on vimeo and then meet again on zoom for the debate.

To participate please click HERE or copy the following link in your browser:

Meeting ID: 998 9604 6302
Password: 704443

"The Chalice"
Cătălina Tesăr's ethnographic film in progress tells the story of the Cortorari Roma in Transylvania, who have preserved the tradition of arranged marriages. At the centre of the marriages are chalices (golden cups) that come from the ancestors and are passed on from father to son. The chalices are invisible in everyday life: they are kept hidden in the houses of Romanian neighbours. On the occasion of a marriage, the groom's chalice is faithfully passed on by hand to the bride's family until the new couple has a son - the ultimate guarantee for the continuity of a marriage. Daughters are not wanted because they bring with them the prospect of parents having to pay a large dowry to marry them off. It is not uncommon for young couples to resort to abortion in the case of a female foetus. In this context, the documentary follows a couple in their mid-20s, parents of a 5-year-old daughter, who are struggling to produce a son in order to comply with the custom of male inheritance of old chalices. As the couple go through the stress and travails of fertility tests and ultrasounds, their respective families fight over their rights to the chalice they promised when the couple married. Will the couple succeed in giving birth to a son or will they resort to sex-selective abortion?

Cătălina Tesăr is a trained social anthropologist. She teaches at the University of Bucharest and works as a researcher at the Museum of Peasant Cultures in Bucharest. She received her PhD from University College London with a thesis on the sexual, economic and political dimensions of arranged early marriages among Roma from Transylvania. Her debut documentary film, based on her doctoral research and funded by a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wenner Gren Foundation (USA), will be presented on 8 April. 

Discussant: Elisabeth Tauber (social anthropologist at the Free University of Bolzano)

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