Film Archive


Countries (Film Archive)

The Stone River

Documentary Film
88 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Giovanni Donfrancesco, Estelle Fialon
Giovanni Donfrancesco
Piero Bongiorno, Olivier Touche
Giovanni Donfrancesco
Giovanni Donfrancesco, Thomas Glaser, Pauline Dairou, Muriel Breton
Federico Cavicchioli
History is what happened in the past, they say. It can be portrayed as a longitudinal or latitudinal section. Some imagine it longish, others like a pile. Italian director Giovanni Donfrancesco sees history as a branching network of living veins that reach into the present. One of these veins links Carrara in the Apuan Alps to the American city of Barre. In the early 20th century, many impoverished Italian marble cutters and sculptors moved across the Atlantic to the granite quarries of Vermont where they hoped to find a better life. But you don’t get old when you work in a quarry. Within a short time many work migrants died of silicosis, also known as black lung. During the 1930s depression, writers interviewed the Barre stone cutters to integrate their oral testimony in the great project of the Roosevelt administration to draw a picture of America in the era of the Great Depression. Donfrancesco’s project has the same titanic dimensions: he combines narratives of Barre’s former inhabitants, spoken in the voices of its present residents, in a powerful succession of images and sounds that becomes a veritable fresco of multilayered individual and social realities – somewhere between deprivation and pride, personal tragedy and utopian hopes.
Ralph Eue