The Stone River

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The Stone River

The Stone River

original title:

The Stone River



Piero Bongiorno, Olivier Touche


Altara Films, Les Films du Poisson, Rai Cinema, with the support of Regione Toscana, CNC





film run:



HD - colour & b/w


Ready (14/10/2013)

festivals & awards:

  • Annecy Cinema Italien 2014: Ouf of Competition Documentaries
  • Cinema du Réel 2014: Compétition internationale - Youth Award
  • Cinemambiente 2014: Concorso ItaliaDoc - Special Jury Prize
  • Dok Leipzig 2014: International Competition
  • Globi d'Oro 2014: Best Documentary
  • Reykjavík International Film Festival 2014: Italy in focus
  • Terra di Cinema festival 2014: Compétition Documentaires
  • Rome Film Fest 2013: Prospettive Doc Italia - Poggiali Prize for Best Documentary
  • Its All True - International Documentary Film Festival Brazil 2014: In Competition
  • Yerevan International Film Festival 2014: International Documentary Competition - Grand Prix - Golden Apricot
  • Anuu-Ru Aboro IDFF 2014 Nouvelle Caledonie: International Competition
  • Minsk International Film Festival 2014: The Best
  • RIDM Montreal 2014: Territories

An elderly sculptor wanders through the cemetery of Hope, interrogating the tombs of the stonecutters who in the early twentieth century left Carrara and many other parts of Europe to come to Barre, Vermont, where one of the world’s largest granite quarries was opening. A metaphysical journey through provincial America today, in which the living give body and voice to the ghosts of their ancestors. A surprising fresco that portrays the tragic odyssey of an entire community in its perennial and titanic struggle against stone, fraught with dramatic social turmoil and deaths on the job, between the splendour of the art of sculpture and anarchic utopia, between hope and tragedy.

Director’s statement
The film was inspired by the valuable eyewitness accounts that have survived in the writings of the authors who, between 1938 and 1940, during the Great Depression, were commissioned by Roosevelt, as part of the Federal Writers Project (in which writers such as Steinbeck and Bellow participated), to interview and record the memories of the granite workers in the city of Barre, Vermont. The texts are now preserved at the Library of Congress in the United States. The people they interviewed, many of whom died of silicosis, are buried at Hope cemetery in Barre, but the memory of their tragic lives is still alive in their descendants. The present inhabitants of Barre enthusiastically accepted the request to collaborate in the making of this film, giving a face and a voice to the ghosts of their ancestors.