The second film that I have seen in the Czech film festival at our local cinematheque was a first long feature film by director , actually a co-production between the German and Czech studios, mostly spoken in German, as the lead character, herr Schmitke is German. The use of the language is justified by the story which has as one of its themes the encounter between the Eastern and Western worlds at the fall of the Iron Curtain.





Herr Schmitke is an engineer, a smart one, but a little bit overcome by the technology, or the society around or both. He invented or had a great contribution in the invention of the wind turbines that populate the hills of Europe, but now he is suddenly retrograded to the position of maintaining and fixing the old models, and on the first assignment is sent across the border in the Czech Republic, together with a young colleague. There is more than one border to cross – there are borders in language, in age, in attitude to work, but the most obvious one is the change of landscape. We are in the Czech mountains, the forest surrounds everything, spirits are haunting it, people disappear.


(video source DARLING BERLIN)


The premises are quite good and the film succeeds to maintain interest for about half of its duration. The low-key style of acting of Peter Kurth actually helps, I liked it. The problem is that after setting the stage for a mountain mystery, or a forest horror movie (anybody remembers The Blair Witch Project?), or maybe even better – a political metaphor about the abyss yet to be filled between the Western and Eastern sectors of the not-so-unified Europe, the story becomes completely confused, the action divides into 3 or 4 threads, none makes too much sense, none provides any answer to the questions that the viewer may have about the fate of the characters (or even of the wind turbine). It’s like several endings were put filmed, and the director could not decide which one to leave, so he left them all. The non-German characters are presented in a stereotypical and negative manner – if this was supposed to be some political comment, it was quite gross to my taste.

Schmitke starts well, but confuses and even bores towards the end.

There is a magic about the number ‘seven’ in cinema among other places. Some say it started with Snow White, other will mention Kurosawa. Fact is that many successful films used this magic and succeeded, some of them succeeded great. So when we get this number in the title, when we see on the poster a cast that would make any blockbuster in Hollywood, and when we know that the script and directing belongs to the exquisite drama writer whose appearances as a film maker are scarce but special, and whose previous film In Bruges was smart and funny, the expectations for Seven Psychopaths run high.





What we get is a ‘film in film’ formula of a special kind. A scriptwriter in Hollywood seeks inspiration for his next film in stories about psychopaths. He starts collecting them, and the stories start happening around him. His best friend is building a revenue stream from kidnapping dogs and returning them to their owners for happy dog reunion awards. Murders and horrors multiply in the script and around, and the border between real and fiction is never clear. The formula is not completely new, Hollywood loves stories about Hollywood, and screen heroes have more than once crossed the line of separation between screens and viewing halls (Woody Allen, Charlie Kaufman, etc.). The tone here is crazy, with reverence to the older and newer horror movies, but also to Tarantino.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


The execution is less fun that it could be. is a smart script writer, but as a director he seems to be too much in love with his own script. Something is missing, maybe the cynical look or the extremes that make Tarantino’s violence on screen entertainment. Out of the good cast I especially liked the performance of , while , , and deliver as expected. Overall ‘Seven Psychopats’ makes true only part of the promises of number 7.


War Dogs‘ is the second movie ‘inspired by a true story’ that I have seen in the last 24 hours, and is actually the one that I liked better (the other one being ‘The Infiltrator’). Its film-making style (director ) and its comic thriller approach fit well the month of August. If I am to chose one easier entertainment with no super-heroes or space-ships, and yet a film that raises serious issues this summer, I will recommend it (but of course, I did not see them all).





I am not sure if ‘War Dogs’ will make it to too many Jewish film festivals, but the two lead characters are Jewish or better say one nice Jewish kid (acted by ) and a one Jewish trouble-maker kid (acted by ) who meet about one year after high-school. The bad guy is already in weapons trade and he easily convinces the good guy to become an associate. It’s the Bush-Cheney period, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need arms, and the government seems to have privatized at least part of the guns and ammo supply chain and opened it to free competition. A golden business opportunity for many, including the couple of young entrepreneurs who start small, win bigger and bigger contracts, break more and more moral rules, laws and trade restrictions, move into bigger offices and houses, and ask themselves less and less questions about what is right and what is wrong to do in such business.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


The film is fun to watch. There is no great characters development, the characters are from the start to the end what they seem to be when they show up for the first time, but they are enjoyable, and at least does here his best role on screen to date. also shows up in a small but key supporting role. Story telling has pace and humor, although I could have given up the off-screen story telling which tries to provide the personal and somehow moralizing perspective of the good guy. It seems to be a returning fashion in the American cinema which I frankly dislike. It usually hides lack of skills in setting the contest and telling the story, but it was not the case here.

It’s the final titles before the credits, the one that usually relate the characters on screen with the reality of the ‘true story’ and show the real faces of the ‘heroes’ that we have seen acted on screen, that made me click. So these guys, who sold lethal weapons that caused death in the battlefields of Iraq or Afghanistan, who tricked the government and the individuals fighting for what they believe is a just cause got a few years in jail (one of them) and a suspended sentence (the other one) and they are now selling their story in books and movies? Something is broken in our justice systems if the ‘war dogs’ selling illegal weapons to the conflict areas are not punished. This film is not a masterpiece, but at least it causes to some of us to ask the right questions.

I could not avoid borrowing the qualifications used by a Web site from Toronto when writing about this film. It’s ‘boring and watchable’. An unusual combination indeed. And yet, this is exactly how I feel about ‘The Infiltrator’ directed by – a talented director who succeeded much better IMO with The Lincoln Lawyer.





I must also confess from the start that I am not a fan of the ‘true crime’ genre. Reality has the disadvantage of being in many cases confusing, and bringing it to screen demands a level of processing that elevates it above what we – as spectators – live in our daily lives. After all we do not pay the price of the ticket to live inside the cinema theaters the same lives as we do in the fresh air outside. Script writers and directors approaching the genre face the dilemma of either sticking to the truth of the story (and risk to be drown in the details) or of ‘dramatizing’ the reality to make it better fit to screen (and risk losing credibility). Succeeding is not only an exercise in balance but also requires the art of finding the artistic truth that makes the film valuable and attractive for viewers beyond the documentary news.

The element that makes ‘The Infiltrator’ different is the building of the relationship between anti-drug cop Robert Mazur () and the drug dealers and the bankers that financed the business in the crime organization that he infiltrated in the 80s playing the role of a money launderer. There is tension in the building of the undercover team and the way they gain the trust of the lethally criminals they deal with, but the difference is really the fact that Mazur not only starts living as the character he poses as, but also seems to develop feelings of real sympathy (if not friendship) towards his enemies-in-law.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


The result is to some extent convincing, but it takes a long way to get to it, almost the totality of the two hours film. The rest of the time is spent into telling a cops vs. drug dealers story that is not too original and not too different from so many other stories we have already seen on screen. The inflation of real life characters brought too screen because they were around in the real story, but not really living a screen life of their own makes much of the introduction part, and much of what happens next confusing.  is OK in his role, but an actor with more charisma could have made the character more interesting. The best acting in the film came from , an actor I have seen in many supporting roles, and I am glad to see that he gets near more consistent roles towards a lead role in the future that he certainly deserves.

The Infiltrator is not the big crime film ‘inspired by a true story’ that I am waiting for.

I liked director ‘s Drive. I read it as a love story disguised in a violent action movie, an uneasy combination that worked perfectly, to a large extent thanks to the presence in the lead role of Ryan Gosling, one of my preferred actors. From the same director comes now The Neon Demon a film that confirms the fame of Refn as a director who does not hesitate to create violence on screen in a manner that would almost make Tarantino blush, but yet has always another different message that provides substance to his movies.





‘The Neon Demon’ begins as the innocent-girl-in-LA genre, with Jesse () landing in California and finding pretty soon herself engaged on a stellar modeling path. All is due to her looks, she has the charisma and innocence that makes the room light and warm up when she steps in. Her beauty is her strength, but may also become soon her main liability as she becomes a threat to the other beautiful women around and they may fight back by all means. And ‘by all means’ indeed means ‘all means’ – we are in the beauty industry, and the demons can be as dark and scary as in a haunted mansion.


(video source Movieclips Trailers)


Much of the rest of the film is in almost pure horror genre. Some will love it, some will hate it, some will exit the screening theater at some point. My impressions are pretty mixed. I am not intimidated by explicit horror or sex on screen, I have seen worse horror in some Korean movies for example, and these actually fall within the logic (or un-logic) of the story. The film is visually striking, with plenty of beautiful video art elements, too many actually, and this is one of the aspects that I did not like. There are so many beautiful filmed scenes and they are so long that at some point the whole experience smells of narcissism. Same about the usage of electronic music.  is an excellent Jesse, beautiful and vulnerable, threatened and threatening. She is actually one almost sure bet for the list of the stars of tomorrow, with no less than 54 roles on record, three for each of the 18 years of her age (her first one was ‘Lucy 2 years’ in I Am Sam!). makes a short appearance, but his fans should not go to this film just to see him. The last 15 minutes of the film put in context all that we have seen until then, but I have seen better endings.

‘The Neon Demon’ is not a film all will like, and it’s not easy viewing even for those who will like it. It’s worth being seen despite its problems. For dully warned audiences only.


Sometimes melodrama works. Then the reviewer in me faces a dilemma. I know that you need to buy into the story in order to feel anything in a melodrama, but who does not buy into it if they are parents, faced the teen crises of their kids, were too busy to dedicate to them the time they deserve (which is approximately all the time in the world)? Did I actually name all the parents population in the world with a few rare exceptions? Of course, only very few of us if any practice the profession of paid killer in the service of the CIA, as does in 3 Days to Kill, a combination of a ‘absent father – daughter’ relation with a co-written thriller.





I belong to the category of fans who are quite disappointed about the downturn of the career of Kevin Costner (both as actor and director). It’s due in my opinion to some big projects that were less successful than planned at the end of the 90s, followed by a lack of great roles. ’3 Days to Kill’ is not the film that will put his acting career back on the stellar path, it’s a lead role but written in a manner where accurate execution and a touch of humor and sensibility are all that is needed. Which Costner delivers.

(video source Movieclips Trailers)


There is nothing special and nothing wrong in this film directed by . The professional level of execution of the story telling, good acting with a cast which aside Costner also includes another semi-comeback by , a touch of humor which makes the violence on screen palatable, the background of Paris which always looks well – all these are actually the setting for the family melodrama which simply works. The cast also includes good performances by (in the role of the teenage daughter, she actually has an impressive acting record although she was just around 18 when the film was made) and .

We can ask for more, of course, but for this summer day it was the good entertainment I needed.


This may be the first Czech film that I see in 40 years. The occasion is the Czech film festival hold in my city (and several other Cinematheques) in Israel. The good news are that the Czech cinema seems to be alive and doing quite well, an observation which I hope will be confirmed by the other two films that I plan to see in the coming weeks.





 ’The Snake Brothers’ directed by has an atmosphere and an intrigue which is quite typical for much of the cinema issued in the last 25 years in the former communist countries. It tells the story of two brothers and their friends in a small city in the Czech republic trying to meet ends in a world that changed the rules without adapting the economic infrastructure but especially without replacing the old set of rigid moral patterns with something that can provide a goal in life. It is however much more than another story of survival in the Wild East of the New Europe. The two brothers – one hard working and with some entrepreneurial spirit, the other smelling pure trouble in all he does and hurting everybody around in order to feed his drugs addiction – represent a modern incarnation of the Cain and Abel couple, at least apparently. As the very well written story develops we understand the things are not necessarily what they seem to be. Then end is one of the bests I have recently seen in movies, and makes you think about the fate of the characters long after the film is over, and gives a new sense (almost ad literam) to the old ‘deus ex machina’ expression. Accomplishment is often based on somebody else’s tragedy – but can this really be a source of happiness? You will find yourself asking this question after screening is over.


(video source Offside Men)


There is much more to be said about the quality of this film. Director is surprisingly at his first long feature independent film on big screens. His previous work was all TV-related, but maybe some of the accuracy in reading the psychology of the characters reflects this experience. He is strongly supported by a team of superb actors including the (real) brothers and who bring to life the small Czech city landscape. ‘The Snake Brothers’ is a (good) film about the troubled times part of Europe goes through, but is also much more than that.


The centennial anniversary of the breaking of WWI was an opportunity for several books to be written and films to be made (most of them documentaries) not only about the war itself, but also about the years that preceded it. Those were the finals years of a period that had started at the end of the Franco – Prussian war in 1870 and had seen a period of more than four decades of peace, never encountered in the written history of Europe. For many people living it those times La Belle Epoque seemed to signal an apparent stability based on the balance between the power of a few Empires and Republics. A middle class appeared in Europe allowing for economic development, arts flourished, and life was good for many. Yet, the political tensions were present at the level of the relations between the big powers in Europe, and many of the national societies were sick. Which is exactly the theme of ‘s film ‘Ma Loute’.





Dumont is one of the masters of a cinema sub-genre which I will call ‘films about degenerated people’ (or social, or family relations, or a combination of these). and  ‘s Delicatessen is another example of the genre, so is Dogtooth by Greek director . ‘Ma Loute’ not only takes the genre one step ahead because of the quality of the execution, but also provides political and historical dimensions by locating the story of mysterious disappearances, social conflict between the rich tourists and the poor fishermen and a love story which is impossible for many reasons in a precise place – the North-West of France close to Calais and time – the end of La Belle Epoque.


(video source S. Ü.)


Viewers should be warned that this is no easy film to watch. 5% of the audience walked out the theater I was in. Among those who stayed I suspect that half disliked what they have seen, with the negative reactions between considering the theme disgusting to ridiculous. The acting style is also very heavily and intentionally exaggerated. It is the description of sick families, of hateful relations between classes, of a non-functional society at all levels. The fact that all these seem to get some rational explanation may satisfy for a moment, but then the film slides in a combination of grotesque and fantastic (the levitation scenes) that is close to genial. Watching fine actors as , ,or   is of course a delight but do not expect them to act like in any other movies that you have seen with them in the past. The young couple acted by and both at their first film add some level of innocence, but all is under the sign of the deformed mirrors here.

‘Ma Louche’ is a very different kind of cinema experience, viewers take risks watching it, and they are rewarded with a surprise which according to taste and approach can be very good or very unpleasant.

‘Pe atunci credeam ca exista doua entitati care sunt vesnice: Dumnezeu si Comunismul. Am colaborat cu amandoua – mi-am impartit viata intre credinta in biserica si delatiunea la Securitate. De a doua as fi vrut sa scap la un moment dat. Dar nu s-a mai putut.’ (pag. 11)

Mi-a fost imposibil de-a lungul lecturii sa ma identific cu personajul povestitor al romanului ‘Sarbatoarea corturilor’ semnat de Ioan T. Morar si aparut in acest an la Editura POLIROM in colectia Fiction Ltd. Elementele principale ale cazului sau sunt exprimate din primele pagini ale cartii dupa cum puteti vedea mai sus. Ambele coordonate imi sunt insa straine. Imi repugna colaborarea cu Securitatea si nu am nicio intelegere pentru cei care au acceptat-o. Nu vibrez cu nimic la ideea credintei, mai ales in cadrul unei biserici (sau sinagogi). Voi incerca sa evaluez totusi in mod obiectiv aceasta carte (care are multe calitati literare), si sa nu las ca aceasta antipatie fata de eroul-povestitor si unghiul sau de vedere sa-mi influenteze aprecierea.

Personajul principal si povestitorul la persoana intai a cartii este la inceputul actiunii un tanar baptist din Arad (cel din vestul Romaniei) la sfarsitul anilor 70 sau inceputul anilor 80, pe nume Corneliu. Prietenul meu, preotul Aurel Mateescu din British Columbia, mi-a povestit cateva amanunte despre persecutiile si permanenta supraveghere la care au fost supuse cultele protestante si neo-protestante din Romania in perioada comunista. Corneliu din cartea lui Ioan T. Morar este supus unui santaj de scurta durata, caruia ii cedeaza usor si devine informator al Securitatii. Pleacand de la un rationament simplist si auto-justificator:

‘… daca nu era Iuda nu aveam Inviere. Daca nu era Iuda nu se implineau Scripturile …. Eu m-am sacrificat, mi-am dat linistea sufleteasca “organelor statului” pentru ca ei sa treaca prin incercari si sa-si consolideze credinta. Puterea lor sufleteasca s-a cladit si pe slabiciunea mea. Ca sa fie ei aproape de Isus a trebuit sa fiu eu aproape de Iuda.’  (pag. 11)

Relatia cu ‘legatura’ cu Securitatea intruchipata prin figura ‘inginerului Oproiu’ are toate elementele relatarilor despre modul conspirativ de actiune din acea perioada, si in plus are si o evolutie a sa in timp, care constituie unul dintre firele secundare ale actiunii cartii.

‘S-a mai inmuiat parca. Asa cum si eu, de la o vreme, mi-am mai domolit elanul de turnator fruntas. Deveniseram, amindoi, doua rotite aproape impresonale, ale unui angrenaj care producea supunere in folosul statului. Eu dadeam Cezarului mai mult decit era al Cezarului, iar el ma platea pentru asta ca din partea Cezarului.’ (pag. 88)

Observati folosirea – neintamplatoare – a vocabularului biblic.

Prima din cele patru parti ale cartii (cu titlul ‘Nume de cod Luther’) este in fapt un preludiu construit ca o galerie de portrete ale celor treisprezece membrii ai grupului de baptisti, care incep o evolutie spirituala in cautarea … nu este exact clar a ce. Posibil a adevaratei credinte? Peregrinarile lor ii vor duce de la baptisti la penticostali, de la penticostali la adventisti, si in cele din urma la iudaism.

In text:

‘Daca i-as fi acordat mai multa atentie la inceput, ar fi trebuit sa retin o fraza spusa de el, si care a stat intr-un fel, ca o piatra unghiulara la baza calatoriei noastre teologice. “Doamne, as vrea sa fiu credincios in toate religiile deodata, ca sa te cunosc mai bine.” Nu a fost chiar asa, nu puteam sa fim membri in mai multe biserici. Si de aceea le-am luat la rind.’ (pag. 34)

Cel la care se refera textul este conducatorul grupului, Jac. Impreuna cu adjunctul sau Ben, ei conduc spiritual grupul, pe cai nu intotdeauna clare celor care ii urmeaza. Corneliu (turnatorul, sa nu uitam) pare sa intregeasca o Treime insolita, in timp ce ceilalti membri ai grupului sunt oameni mai degraba simpli, bucurandu-se de placerea de a fi impreuna, de a-si trai viata in mod curat, de a canta in bisericile si sinagogile in care ii poarta traseul lor ecumenic. Culegerea de portrete din prima parte a cartii, ca o galerie naiva schitata de un artist ardelean sau maramuresan, constituie una dintre cele mai reusite sectiuni ale cartii.

A doua parte a cartii ‘Taierea imprejur’ descrie procesul de convertire la iudaism.

‘Pina atunci am ratacit tot pe la pocaiti, am trecut de la baptisti la penticostali, de acolo la adventisti. In toate aceste locuri eram pe acelasi teren, cam cu aceleasi invataturi neoprotestante din ogorul amplu al crestinismului, cu un singur botez neotestamentar recunoscut dintr-o parte in alta. Eram pe acelasi mal al Iordanului. Acum paraseam acel tarm. Ne mutaseram in Casa de Asteptare si traiam scurta ratacire prin pustie inainte de a ajunge la liman. La celalalt liman. Cel Vechi’ (pag. 122-123)

Frumos scris, dar cu putine fundamente in intamplarile si transformarile spirituale prin care trec eroii. Nici prima parte a cartii nu elucideaza nimic din cautarile spirituale, nelinistile prin care trec eroii, nici macar nu furnizeaza detalii in legatura cu dezamagirile care ii determina sa caute in continuare, intr-o frenezie religioasa care pare in contrast cu abordarea simpla si curata a vietii de catre majoritatea membrilor grupului.





Iudaismul pare si el ca isi deschide cu greu portile celor care ii bat la usa. Prezentarea comunitatii din Arad pare a fi mai degraba anecdotica decat bazata pe o experienta reala. Aflati ‘in documentare’ la un spectacol al teatrului evreiesc, eroii par uimiti sa descopere ca evreii aradeni arata ca oricare dintre ceilalti cetateni ai Aradului, si nu au vesminte, podoaba capilara sau palarii care sa ii deosebeasca. De unde vor fi fost create aceste asteptari nu stiu, eu am trait 31 de ani in Romania, dar primii evrei ultra-religiosi i-am vazut in carne si oase doar dupa ce am ajuns in Israel (ma rog, cu exceptia rabinului care ne-a cununat la Templul Coral). Si personajul care ii conduce spiritual si logistic in procesul de convertire – domnul Weiss – profesor de ebraica si iudaism, este departe de a fi un evreu religios tipic. Din experienta traiului in Israel pot spune ca mi-este greu sa cred ca ar fi acceptata aici o convertire facuta de acest personaj.

‘Sunteti ilegalist? Ilegalist comunist? – Da, e o poveste din tinerete. M-au inscris niste prieteni si pe mine in partid, era un fel de moda sa vrei sa schimbi lumea. Mi-au facut carnet, desi eu nu prea am mers la intilniri, erau multi prosti pe acolo, nu-mi facea placere. Dupa 1947, cu carnetul de ilegalist mi-am creat un fel de imunitate. Nu se ating de mine, eu nu-i incurc cu prezenta mea. E comod. Pot primi ce carti vreau, de oriunde, am ce citi. Cred ca m-ar lasa sa si plec in strainatate, dar nu cred ca as rezista fara biblioteca. Ea e ghiuleaua mea legata de picior. Nici in Israel nu m-am dus tot din cauza asta. Cum si unde sa duc atitea carti? In fond trebuie sa ramina cineva si aici, sa pastreze comorile lasate de cei plecati. Comorile culturale, sa nu intelegeti altceva.’ (pag. 141)

Abordarea iudaismului in ‘Saptamana corturilor’ este descrisa din perspectiva unui outsider, si in termeni ‘folcorici’ chiar si atunci cand se straduieste sa fie pozitivi. Sunt folosite sabloane pozitive (ca de pilda dragostea si respectul evreilor fata de litera scrisa) si foarte multe pagini sunt dedicate traumei fizice a circumciziei. Nimic insa despre transformarea spirituala. A deveni evreu in iudaism inseamna nu numai a suferi circumcizia si a adopta imbracamintea si ceremoniile de rugaciune evreiesti – inseamna a adera la un mod de viata in care savarsirea de fapte conforme criteriilor morale si religioase ale iudaismului devine scopul principal al vietii. Adoptarea acestor criterii de catre eroii cartii pare strict formala, iar despre valorile iudaismului nu am gasit nimic in carte. Eroii cartii nu par sa le fi studiat, inteles, sau adoptat. Socul suferit de eroi la intalnirea cu Israelul real este foarte predictibil. Si pentru a te confrunta cu realitatea israeliana si a ramane sa traiesti in Israel ca evrei trebuie sa existe o legatura adevarata, o aderare la niste valori care nici macar nu sunt pomenite in descrierile presupus teologice ale cartii.

Pentru un cunoscator al realitatilor Israelului, al treilea capitol al cartii numit ‘Sindromul Ierusalim’ este mai mult decat surprinzator – este in unele locuri stupefiant. Am impresia ca pur si simplu Ioan T. Morar nu a vizitat niciodata Israelul. Unii dintre termenii presupus preluati din ebraica (limba pe care eroii ajung sa o cunoasca dupa o vreme) sunt transcrisi in ortografie … franceza (pag 292 – ‘Sherout Hova’, pag. 295 – ‘Chenit Matza …’) ceea ce ma face sa cred ca autorul a folosit niste surse indirecte de informatie de limba franceza. Lipsa de intelegere si respingerea programatica a unor realitati ale societatii israeliene este cu atat mai stridenta pentru cititorul israelian, cu cat autorul nu pare sa cunoasca de aproape tara, atmosfera, peisajele. Banuiesc ca la un moment dat aceasta abordare care se concentreaza pe personaje si trairile lor este programatica. Mi-a adus aminte de experimentul cinematografic al lui Lars von Trier din ‘Dogville’ in care intregul film se petrece pe un fel de scena de teatru fara decoruri, cu un minim de obiecte si recuzita sugerand ambianta in care se petrece fiecare episod. Talentul de portretist al lui Ioan T. Morar este incontestabil, dar nu am recunoscut in carte nici unul dintre personajele reale pe care le-am cunoscut in 32 de ani de viata in Israel. Documentarea pare din nou a fi ‘din afara’ personajele sunt mai mult stereotipuri (domnul Goldberg, afaceristul organizatiei sioniste americane care aduce imigranti in Israel, medicul psihiatru Edy Talpalaru, domnul Benguigui – bogatul marocan care ajunge in Israel dupa o cariera in diplomatia marocana care in dusese pana la Bucuresti unde il cunoaste pe Ceausescu, poloneza Ana convertita si maritata in religiile conflictului, etc.) ceea ce nu inseamna ca povestile lor luate separat nu sunt bine schitate si uneori chiar emotionante.

Cititorul israelian va fi frapat si de atitudinea personajelor fata de realitatile israeliene, pe care – ei, convertitii – ajung sa le judece mai aspru decat cei mai rigizi dintre ultra-ortodocsii evrei. A treia parte a cartii primeste poate cel mai potrivit titlu, caci ‘Sindromul Ierusalim’ este un gen de experienta spirituala situata la extrema unui fanatism pe care l-am cunoscut si in viata reala la convertitii deveniti in termeni crestini, ‘mai catolici decat papa’.

‘De acasa, din Romania, mi-am imaginat Israelul, poporul lui Israel, ca pe ceva foarte compact, unitar … Nu sint decit de putin timp aici si deja simt o framintare teribila. Nu-mi imaginam de acasa asa ceva. Marea Diaspora a poporului lui Israel s-a reunit in Tara Parintilor unde s-a transformat in mici diaspore: rusi, polonezi, unguri, romani, marocani … Eu ma simt putin descumpanit … ma deprima realitatea asta … e destul de departe de ce mi-am imaginat.’  (pag. 219)

Noii veniti in Israel adopta nu numai obiceiurile si imbracamintea evreilor ultra-religiosi, dar si conceptiile acestora. Nu exista in atitudinea eroilor cartii nici un fel de intelegere fata de modul de viata laic al majoritatii israelienilor, fata de idealurile sioniste in afara identificarii religioase. O parte din timp Claudiu si Ben o petrec intr-un kibbutz, si iata cum ii prezinta si ii judeca pe locuitorii acestuia:

‘Acesti muncitori agricoli (inca nu erau tarani) care, incet-incet, se descalificau religios, se indepartau de spiritul Legii, acesti laici cu kipa pusa doar din obisnuinta asa cum iti pui o salopeta cand lucrezi, sa fie Poporul lui Israel?! Poporul cu P mare, cel alaturi de care am vrut sa fim, pentru intilnirea caruia am facut mii de kilometri, calcind legamintul religios al parintilor nostri pentru noul legamint, cu stramosii lor? Nu, ei, acesti sateni colectivisti faceau parte nu din Poporul lui Israel, ci din Populatia lui Israel.’ (pag 252)

sau aceasta prezentare nu simplificatoare ci simplista, lipsita de empatie si intelegere fata de ceea ce este unul dintre aspectele esentiale ale Israelului real:

‘Ma asteptam sa ajung intr-o comunitate in care toti sa fim prieteni, sa ne bucuram de sansa de a fi in Israel, de a trai momente religioase inaltatoare Dar am ajuns intr-un fel de CAP, locuind impreuna, muncind impreuna si construind socialismul impreuna. Un socialism rural, inspirat nu de Marx, ci de Tolstoi. Singura diferenta dintre colhozurile sovietice (sau ceapeurile romanesti) si kibbutz era ca nu ni se cerea sa fim atei. Eram credinciosi, dar nu se punea baza pe asta. Un fel de adiere laica se simtea in mai multe kibbutzuri, printre care si al nostru. Venit drintr-un stat care avea ca ideal ateismul stiintific, integrarea mea, om in cautarea credintei, a fost imposibila.’  (pag. 249)





Spre sfarsitul celei de-a treia parti a cartii stilul povestirii devine mai complex si mai putin liniar. Ioan T. Morar scrie cu talent, nu numai in portretistica si in micile povesti biografice, ci si in redarea dilemelor eroului principal. Dezamagirea fata de experienta israeliana se imbina cu reaparitia firului secundar al actiunii, ampificat de ceea ce in psihologia romaneasca se va numi poate in viitor ‘obsesia serviciilor’.  Se petrecuse deja recent momentul de rascruce 1989, si eroului i se aduce aminte de angajamentul sau dormitent cu Securitatea fiind santajat spre intoarcerea in Romania. Un numar de coincidente il fac sa se simta nici mai mult dar nici mai putin decat ca un pion in jocul serviciilor secrete – romanesc si israelian. Greselile tineretii sunt platite cu o dependenta fata de ‘serviciile’ despre care eroul (poate si autorul) crede ca nu si-au incetat influenta si controlul.

‘Ce sa fac in Romania? Cum sa ma intorc? Ce sa le spun? Ca nu m-am adaptat? Tocmai cand ma adaptasem de tot? Sa ma intorc la sinagoga aradeana?  Oare mai traieste domnul Weiss? Sa ma intorc totusi la baptisti? La adventisti? La penticostali? Ce parte a calatorie mele spirituale sa o fac drept cale intoarsa? (pag. 365)

‘… am venit aici pentru credinta si am dat peste oameni. Nu am gasit credinta in sine, credinta asteptindu-ne pe noi si invitindu-ne in templu. … Nu am fost pregatiti pentru a ne integra in Israel. Si nici Israelul nu a fost pregatit sa ne primeasca. (pag. 389)

Aspra judecata. Ceva ce au simtit intr-un moment sau altul cam toti cei care am imigrat in Israel. Unii dintre noi am ramas, altii am luat decizii asemenatoare cu eroii cartii, parasind tara, in general nu inapoi in Romania, ci mai departe, in alte Diaspore. In cazul lui Corneliu si Jac, neintelegerea pare insa sa fi fost de partea lor in principal. Poate ca Israelul ar fi fost dispus sa ii primeasca, dar in realitate este vorba despre un alt Israel decat cel imaginat de ei, si efortul de a intelege acest Israel real nu este deloc evident in carte.

Paradoxal, cel care ramane este Ben, alegerea sa este insa si ea una ezoterica, Ben alaturandu-se discutabilei caste a evreilor mesianici, care il transforma inca odata intr-un tolerat in Israelul dominat de evreimea ortodoxa. Corneliu si Jac se intorc acasa si intemeiaza o noua religie ‘Sarbatoarea Corturilor’ un fel de sinteza a experientelor lor neoprotestante si iudaica. Ce sanse are o asemenea antepriza in lumea reala? Poate o carte viitoare ne va spune.

‘Sarbatoarea corturilor’ a lui Ioan T. Morar este o carte care descrie o calatorie spirituala neobisnuita. Este o carte a propriilor credinte si obsesii. Nu am pretentia ca le-am inteles si ca am rezonat cu toate.


Each summer brings to the screens a fair amount of films which aim pleasing especially the family crowds but never or seldom make it to the list of awards of the year or just to the list of the films we will remember until the next summer. It uses to be a combination of comics or comics-inspired films, animation or actors – based, some science-fiction, continuation or remakes of previous themes, sequels and prequels. ‘Jason Bourne’ enters the schedule, but not necessarily the stereotype. This may actually be the action movie of the summer of 2016, although from a box-office perspective it may be a little bit too serious compared to contenders that race and fight spaceships or bring to screen super-heroes descending directly from comics books.





The identity troubles of Mr. Jason Bourne continue and as in the previous few series its again director at the helm, and also as co-writer of the film inspired by the hero created by Robert Ludlum. I must declare myself guilty of being a fan of Ludlum and of the genre of international spy action movies. I like films where the pretext is intelligent, where heroes are faced with credible dilemmas, they feel pain and memory losses, and identity crisis. Bourne is thrown out at the fringes of the society in this film, he tries to get back, but is it for revenge? or maybe to re-enter a world that he has all the reasons to hate, but which he cannot abandon because this is his life, he was created by it and this is what he knows to do best – for the good and for the bad motifs.


(video source Universal Pictures)


I am no fan of Matt Damon and I will not say more about his acting performance in this film than the fact that he may get better in maturity. On the other hand  was so good that I kept wondering for the whole film who is this fresh newcomer face, sexy and focused. She not only has great looks but also reinvents herself in many of the films she plays in – she was a completely different person for example in A Royal Affair or in Ex Machina. An actor who certainly reached maturity and more is , but I was frankly expecting more from him than the extra wrinkles. is superb in his revenge killer role, he paid back his ticket over the ocean. Paul Greengrass  directs skillfully the action scenes (and there are a lot), his accelerated pace did not disturb me this time, as car chases and gun and fist fights have logic and clarity and fit well in the story, they are not just choreographed violence. If there is something missing in the story it’s the romantic dimension, but with the heroes played by Alicia Vikander and Matt Damon alive at the end of the film, and an open end scene that may well be the first one of the next installment, all is possible.





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