Marc Levitt’s first documentary film, co-produced and co-directed with Ms. Lilach Dekel is a film about the Narragansett Tribal stonemasons who, over the last four hundred years, have built many stonewalls that wind picturesquely through the woods of Southern New England.
Interspersing footage that elegantly captures the beauty of the walls with interviews with tribal elders and members of two prominent Narragansett mason families, Ms. Dekel and Marc Levitt weave a story that is at once poetic and inspirational.
Stories in Stones is a story of love; for place, heritage and family and a tale that demonstrates how a craft, utilized initially at the point of European contact, has served as a strategy for resiliency and resistance.
Stories in Stones is the first film that looks at the Narragansett wall building tradition from multiple perspectives, artistic, spiritual, multi-generational and as a story of tribal affirmation. While some would see wall building as the haphazard placement of rocks, Stories in Stone, demonstrates that the wall’s beauty is the result of a finely honed and ever evolving sculptural aesthetic. While some see the walls as ‘the only option’ for the Narragansett, Stories in Stones makes clear, that more often than not, becoming a mason is a choice, a choice that allows freedom of movement, freedom from ‘inside’ work, freedom from working for others and the freedom to join a long and illustrious line of ancestors. While many believe that ‘tradition’ among New England Tribes is long gone, Stories in Stone makes clear that wall building remains a means to assert and perpetuate Tribal identity; in the choice to be a mason, in the placement of symbols, in the use of a particular aesthetic, in the visceral relationship to stone and in one’s spiritual connection to nature. Stories in Stone elucidates the stories that lie beneath one’s initial appreciation for the stone walls of Southern New England and in doing so, illustrates how the seemingly ordinary, can be indeed be, quite extraordinary.
‘Stories in Stone’ received its television debut on April 2nd, 2008 on Channel 36, RIPBS
For information about purchasing and/or showing Stories in Stones please contact Marc Levitt.