Archive for December, 2012

Did I already say that I love exploring small art museums? Of course, I also love even more visiting the great museums of the world, but the experience of finding a small museum in a not-so-important city, in a remote and sometimes unexpected place in the world is also a source of satisfaction and sometimes of wonderful surprises. This is the case with the Glass Art Museum in Arad (the Israeli city of Arad, not the Romanian one) which I wanted to see for quite a while and I eventually got to last week.



Located in the outskirts of the city of Arad, in an industrial area turned into artists’ district, the museum is easy to find when traveling to or from the Dead Sea. Established by the Fridman family, it aims to be an open house for all artists and fans of glass art. The experience of the visit is quite pleasant as visitors are guided by one of the four permanent guides, one of them being the house artist Gideon Fridman, whose works occupy most of the space (but the museum also hosts works of other artists working in the media).




Fridman started to work in glass about 17 years ago, and he does not blow glass, but rather uses recycled glass of all sorts which he processes using techniques of his own. One of the effects he discovered and masters allows for the work to change shape depending on the angle you are looking at it. The guides will help you walk in between the works and observe the unique effects, as well as the special way of lighting used in the museum, where light does not fall directly on the works, but on the walls and cellar, and the passing of the light though the material creates the shapes.

Here are a few of the many remarkable works, but I should warn from start that a full understanding of the art in the Arad Glass Art Museum is complete only if you get there, move in between the works, and get the dynamics of the interaction between glass, movement, viewers.



‘A Female Heritage’



‘All My Sons’ - an impressive memorial work



‘The Wall of Spirit’ - the interpretation is left free to the viewer, I was impressed by the missing places, as well as by the occupied ones.



‘Violence 99′ is quite different in style from the majority of the other works, but the message is striking.



The name of this work ‘Genesis 2:23′ alludes to the creation of Eve in the Bible. Nine statues as the nine months of human pregnancy, nine steps in the evolution of Woman, from the slim curve of Adam’s Rib, through growth, youth, maturity to the eventual decay.



‘Yirimiahu 2:2′ sends us to another quote from the Bible, telling the story of Abraham, the son he embraces, and the other son – Ishmael. A dot of blood reminds the conflict between the descendents of Abraham, painfully open until the modern times.



A separate room in the museum hosts in darkness a huge candle, lit from inside, a symbol of remembrance for the Holocaust. It could as well be hosted at Yad Vashem.


The performance with ‘The Trojan Women’ put on stage by the Cameri Theatre in Tel Aviv and the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre is a proof of the way great theater transcends time, and to what extend a tragedy written 24 centuries ago can be so actual and can speak so directly to the issues of modern history or even of the contemporary times. It certainly tells a lot about the genius of Euripides, but also about human nature, and about the world we live in. The play deals with the fate of the Trojan women, waiting for the Greek victors to decide their fate – slavery or death – after the defeat of Troy. It can be seen as a long lament and a dispute with the gods about the fate of a vanquished nation, the destruction of a homeland, the loss of freedom and the vicissitudes of the condition of women in times of war.




The ambitious project now on stage (for only one week) in Tel Aviv is the result of the collaboration between the Cameri Theatre and the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. Director Yukio Ninagawa is a well-know name in Japan, very high regarded for his staging of Shakespeare and Ancient Greece playrights. He  is not at the first tentative to work with an Israeli theatre. The history of his collaboration and involvement with the problems of the region and some of his thoughts and experiences during the realization of the current production are described in an interview given a few weeks ago to the Japan Times. It is no easy task to bring together on the same stage Japanese, Jewish and Arab actors, to make them work as one team, to bridge the cultural barriers, to defuse the political tensions and the tensions created by the text and subtext. Because of its perennial nature  Euripide’s text can be read as a metaphor of Hiroshima and the disaster of Japan in the 2oth century, of the Holocaust, or of the Palestinian exile and occupation. The mission of the director was to transform these tensions into artistic tension, in art.




I find the result spectacular. The stage is deprived of any garments, all the rendition of drama is left to the actors and to the stage music which combines intonations of Japanese music with Middle Eastern lamentation tones. The cast is composed of Japanese, Jewish Israeli and Arab actors, in an almost mathematically equal  distribution. All actors speak their own language, and the chorus (composed of five Japanese, five Jewish and five Arab actresses) repeats each incantation three times, once in each language. Although text translation is offered, at some point in time it becomes irrelevant. While director Ninagawa allowed or maybe even instructed each sub-team of actors to act in their own (classical Japanese, modern European, and melodramatic Arabic)  styles, the whole performance has a definite Japanese atmosphere, and especially in the second part stage movements and intonations became more important than the words of the text.  A great contribution is brought to this esthetic quality by the lead actress Kayoko Shiraishi in the role of Hecuba. She dominates the whole performance, melding the personalities of a hero of Greek tragedy with the calculated drama of a Japanese acting star. I will not mention other names, but the whole rest of the team is homogenous and very well directed.

This version of Trojan Women is an event from many points of view. It stages almost every day of the week until Saturday. For these of you who can reach this week Tel Aviv, love theatre, and can find tickets my strong recommendation is not to miss it.


‘Am scris atit cit m-au tinut puterile despre breasla mea. Intre altele, am publicat in Romania Literara un articol de aproape doua pagini despre ce inseamna “A fi ziarist in Romania”. Am spus acolo lucruri pe care, din cite stiu, nu le-a mai dezvaluit nimeni pe meleagurile dimbovitene. Am sustinut si sustin ca este profesia ai carei truditori au evoluat cel mai mult dupa 1989.’ (pag. 213)

Putem fi de acord cu ultima afirmatie sau putem argumenta ca mute alte profesiuni au trecut prin schimbari si mai radicale in ultimii 23 de ani, iar altele nici nu existau pe atunci, dar nu putem nega miezul de adevar in ceea ce priveste reinventarea profesiei de ziarist in conditiile libertatii subite a cuvantului traite de intreaga societate romaneasca, dar si a haosului social si economic de dupa 1989, ca sa nu mai vorbim de avansurile tehnologice pe care breasla le-a acumulat in aceasta perioada. Si in carte este evidenta schimbarea totala a vietii de ziarist, de la entuziasmul, improvizatia, invatatul din mers al meseriei la inceputul deceniului ultim al mileniului 2, la profesionalismul, accesul imediat la informatie, dar si rutina combinata paradoxal cu instabilitatea locurilor de munca inscaunate pe la mijlocul primului deceniu al mileniului 3 cand se termina practic periplul de 15 ani al eroului real-inventat al cartii lui Tudor Calin Zarojanu.




‘Mass Media Insider’ este marturia unui insider care nu isi asuma complet aceasta conditie. Motivele imi sunt incerte si efectul este amestecat. Cartea descrie cresterea profesionala unui personaj devenit in mod aproape accidental ziarist in perioada de inceput a tranzitiei, personaj fictiv dar cu o biografie identica cu cea a autorului (convenabil prezenta pentru cititor spre comparatie pe marginea interioara a primei coperte). Personajele cartii sunt toate personaje reale (nu sunt sigur dar am impresia ca nu exista niciun personaj total fictiv in carte), majoritatea poarta nume codificate in mod cat de poate de transparent, pastrand cu rigurozitate initialele numelor. Este cazul tutoror colegilor de breasla, dar si al unora dintre politicieni, in timp ce altii sunt descrisi sub numele lor reale. Codificate apar si numele publicatiilor si altor institutii de mass-media unde se perinda eroul ziarist dar si aici codificarea este transparenta: ‘Flacara’ devine ‘Lumina’, ‘Cotodianul’ devine ‘Zilnic’, etc. Deci, de ce? Sincer sa fiu nu stiu, poate ca Zarojanu a vrut sa evite discutarea cartii sale ca o marturie care in vreun fel ‘tradeaza’ breasla, poate ca i-a fost mai comoda pozitionarea in zona semi-fictiunii, unde abaterile mai mult sau mai putin minore de la exactitate sunt scuzabile, poate a dorit sa adauge inca o carte la lista sa de carti de fictiune, poate niciunul din aceste motive sau o combinatie a tuturor.

Dezvaluiri explozive nu face Zarojanu in aceasta carte. Sincer sa fiu ma asteptam la mai multe amanunte mai de esenta despre trusturile de presa, influenta magnatilor, conexiunile politice. Putine am gasit din acestea, si la tonul destul de general. De exemplu, o proaspata capitalista editoare de jurnal confruntata cu adversiunea birocratiei pe la inceputul deceniului 90 izbucneste:

‘Inainte stiai ca suni un secretar de Partid si si se rezolva!!

Ce nu se prinsese ea era ca si acum erau sunati secretarii de partid, numai ca la alte numere pe care nu le avea.’ (pag. 33)

Sau despre libertatea de exprimare cam in aceeasi perioada:

‘Abstractie facand de titluri si corecturi (inclusiv stilistice), sefii nu umblau pe text, nu existatu subiecte interzise, nici subiecte comandate. Un articol prost scris fie nu aparea, fie era dat la refacut, dar nimeni nu spunea: “Nu e bine sa scriem despre asta.” Iar continutul si structura fiecarui numar erau exclusiv la latitudinea redactiei. Da, domn’e, stiu, e SF. Uite cum zicem: am avut eu bafta asta sa lucrez in singurul loc din presa mioritica in care se intimpla asa. Acum e mai bine?’ (pag. 54)

Urmarim deci in paralel dezvoltarea presei romanesti ca si dezvoltarea profesionala a autorului-erou (camuflat si el in spatele unui foarte subtire si neverosibil pretext). Barack-Zarojanu lucreaza in cei cam 15 ani acoperiti de relatarile din carte in presa cotidiana, saptamanala si lunara, in agentii de presa si la radio – abordeaza meseria din toate unghiurile si la toate nivelele, de la intrus amator, la reporter, ziarist de opinie, redactor-sef, editorialist. In aceeasi perioada presa romaneasca traieste evolutia de la formele clasice ale secolului 20 la comunicarea internetica, telefoanele mobile si accesul imediat si nelimitat la informatia bruta, de la redactiile improvizate la sediile moderne. Ceea ce ramane constant si evident in tot parcursul lecturii este pasiunea autorului fata de meserie, solidaritatea si respectul fata de colegii de breasla (desi nu lipsesc complet impunsaturile si micile reglari de conturi cu persoane si personaje sumar ascunse de mastile transparente ale pseudonimelor).




Marturisire personala – sunt un pasionat de presa. Plecat din Romania in 1984 am urmarit cu interes deosebit trezirea la viata a presei romanesti si apoi evolutia ei in anii de dupa 1989. Cartea lui Zavoranu avea toate premizele sa ma pasioneze, dar din acest punct de vedere reusita a fost doar partiala. Problema principala pentru mine a fost lipsa unor linii directoare si a unor delimitari mai ferme in descrierea structurilor mediei romanesti. Pana la un punct au fost interesante relatarile din redactii, am savurat si eu descifrarile de portrete si descrierile peregrinarilor prin redactii, a vanzolelilor, intrigilor, rasturnarilor de situatii. De la un moment in colo au inceput sa se repete, si aici apare problematica raportului fictiune-realitate din carte. Daca personajele, ziarele si revistele ar fi fost identificate sub numele lor real, repetarile acumulate ar fi parut firesti – realitatea nu este obligata sa creeze o balanta estetica. Ficiunea insa da, si ca opera de fictiune ‘Mass Media Insider’ este repetitiva, si pe la al optulea din cele 13 capitole am inceput sa ma cam plictisesc.

Cele mai bune pagini ale cartii mi s-au parut unele dintre cele nelegate direct de subiectul principal. Primul capitol, pre-’revolutionar’ are savoarea unor episoade din ‘Amintirile din Epoca de Aur’ ale lui Mungiu. Capitolul despre ‘Colegii mei, academicienii’ ar merita sa devina o carte de sine statatoare. Stilul neformal in care este scrisa cartea invita cititorii sa nu o ia prea in serios, dar am impresia ca atunci cand va fi scrisa istoria presei si comunicarii mass media din Romania de dupa 1989 cartea lui Zavoranu nu va lipsi din bibliografii.

The 20th century is over and the class wars also seem to be over, or at lease gone through a gradual but radical transformation. Communism may be dead in its Soviet variance, but the unions fights seem to have brought some results in Southern France where the action of ‘Les neiges de Kilimandjaro’ takes place in what concerns salaries, work conditions, pensions, retirement benefits. Even licensing is now done in agreement between employers and unions, sometimes by means of raffles. Michel, the hero of the film is a union leader, close but still before retirement age who is fired as the result of such a raffle. Yet the social safety net should avoid him a financial crash, and the family net extends the moral support. Michel, his family, his friends look more like an established bourgeois clan than like typical harbor proletarians. The family and friends even gather enough money to send the couple to a safari trip in Africa. All this until a violent robbery deprives them not only of the present, but also breaks into pieces the balance of their apparently accomplished lives, making them to face the realities of a world that does not always know, understand or care about the path and fights they went through in order to achieve the relative balance and happiness ati the older age.




The story line told in a very classical linear manner focuses on the price people need to play to justify their happiness. It is not only about having worked and fought to achieve something, but also caring about the realities around. When the intrusion of violence risks to break the dream of their quite bourgeois retirement the response of the couple could also have been violence and rejection of the ignorance of the younger generations. The path taken by the script is however different, Michel and his wife Marie Claire will find in the goodness of their own selves the power to regain the true balance. The story does not avoid the risks of the melodrama, and the fact that it succeeds not to fall into cheapness is especially the result of good acting and low key directing.


(video source FilmsActu)


Director Robert Guediguian works with the same team of actors for quite a while, and this is felt in the natural way the actors move, act, interact. Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Ariane Ascaride are both wonderful, they carry the whole film on their shoulders and make real to the viewers two characters who in many other movies could have looked as too good to be real. Even the ideological lines drawn from texts by Victor Hugo or Jean Jaures are are well controlled and do not appear as too thick and obvious. Thanks to the directing style and fine acting ‘Les neiges du Kilimandjaro’ has a human touch and is a better film than it could have been.

It’s Christmas Day, and Christmas is the birthday anniversary of The Catcher in the Sand! I started this blog three years ago with the goal of recording on it my impressions about things I like to do, feel, experience: travel, read books, watch movies and theater, listen to music, visit exhibitions, remember things in the history. All this blog is about sharing such experiences with my family, with my friends, with people who share similar passions and interests as me. I am not a professional in any of these fields, do not pretend to be one, and do not aim to play one on the TV (last joke borrowed from my IETF colleague and friend Ron). I just enjoy writing about these things and I hope that some people enjoy reading them. I consider blogging a wonderful form (made possible by the Internet) of recording impressions, memories and thoughts about what we experience and to share these with the ones who have similar interests.


The last year was a busy professional and personal year. I wrote a little less in the blog, and also started to use my Facebook Timeline to record and share some of the my discoveries. Yet, I think that The Catcher recorded this year as well as in the previous ones my principal experiences about the places I traveled to, books, films, music I enjoyed. I also hosted with pleasure a few friends withe shared interest, I thank them again for being so kind to allow me to present their contributions to the readers of the blog, and I will continue to do it in the future. I will also continue to avoid dealing here with professional subjects or with politics. It’s not because I am not interested in those, but because I approach them in other spaces.


(video source Rafael Petrosyan)


Here is a present for all readers on the blog – a discovery I made today, watching a recorded show from ARTE TV. The show featured actually a different personality, the German jazz musician Roger Cicero, who told the story of his father, Eugen Cicero (Ciceu), born in Romania in 1940, who was an exquisite classical and jazz pianist. I knew nothing about the two, and I looked for some of their music on the Internet. I discovered that Eugen Cicero was a remarkable jazz pianist  and luckily a full set given by him live at the subway station in Koln, in the year of his early death in 1997, was filmed and is available on youTube. I wish the next and coming years will be full of such wonderful discoveries which I hope to share with the readers of the blog.

Happy Birthday, Catcher in the Sand!

The concert last night at Mercaz Einav in Tel Aviv featured the Israeli pianist Amir Katz in the first out of two programs of Beethoven Sonatas (the second will take place in May 2013). The last and by far most famous piece in the program was Apassionata. Unfortunately I could not find Katz’s interpretation on the net, so I decided to write something about him, and then present four interpretations composing two full versions of the well know piece of glory in the world piano repertory.




Amir Katz was born in Haifa in 1973 and grew as a nurtured talent which turned into a fine pianist which seems to enjoy playing mostly the Romantic piano repertory – Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin – and lately Beethoven whose sonatas are the core of his performances programs this season. He has a beautiful presence, is very accurate and technical, what maybe surprised me was the apparent too strong reliance on technique and less on emotion, untypical for a Romantic piano specialist. The first two sonatas in the program sounded … well … very un-Beethoven, and even the Liszt piece at the ‘encore’ was very un-Liszt. Not bad, strong, well played, but lacking passion. It was only the Apassionata that seemed to unchain his emotional energy as well, and his version of the difficult, stormy, tumultuous piece was very good.


(video source Amir Katz)


What I did find on Amir’s channel on youTube is another piece by Liszt ‘Paganini’s Etude nr. 2 in E flat major’- great interpretation, if that one was in the program last night together with Appassionata.


(video source theoshow2)


There is no need to write many words about Piano Sonata no. 23 by Beethoven. It was composed between 1804 and 1806, and named Appassionata after his death. It is one of the most vigorous and temperamental pieces of piano in the Romantic and world music, it demands virtuosity and deep resonance to render its whole beauty and complexity and it deserves its name.

Sviatoslaw Richter’s recording of the first movement is presented above.


(video source ValentinaLisitsa)


Valentina Lisitsa plays the second movement in the recording above.


(video source conception3)

Above, Claudio Arau plays the final part.

(video source ArioniaTellus)


Here is the full piece in the version of Daniel Barenboim

This may be the toughest non-combat task in any army – announcing families that their dearest ones, son or daughter, husband or wife fell on the line of duty in war. It needs to be done fast, as relatives should learn about the tragedy before the news show in the media, it needs to be done with dignity and sensitivity for the grief of the family, and rules, of course, rules need to be respected. However what rules are worth in such personal and painful moments? And how can the messengers, even if or especially because they are themselves people who have seen combat and faced death, their own and the one of their comrades, cope with this task? These are the key questions asked by The Messenger, a film with excellent premises which has as heroes a team of two of the uniformed soldiers the US army deploys home to pass to families the messages of death.




It’s quite interesting that this American film about the consequences of the American wars for the people who fight and for the families left home was written by an Israeli and an Italian (Alessandro Camon) and directed by the Israeli – Oren Moverman. Or maybe it is not, at least on what Moverman is concerned. This story could have happened in Israel as well, where quite a number of families have to deal with the loss of their closer family or friends in wars or terror attacks, and where Memorial Day is one very special moment, felt and lived together by the whole nation. Quite amazingly the Israeli cinema has dealt very little until now with this subject, and Moverman, who lives in the US made the film there. The result is The Messenger - a very American and a very universal film at once, one of the most interesting made until now about and against the war in Iraq.


(video source VISO trailers)


At no moment I had the feeling that this is the first long feature film directed by Moverman. As director he masters well the camera moves, alternating traditional and fluent scenes with hand-held camera giving the feeling of reality and passing to viewers the intense dramatic effects when the announcements are being made to the families. The team of actors does a fine job as well, with Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson up to the task of playing the two soldiers with their lives transformed forever by the war even if they survive it, and with Samantha Morton whose work I love every time I see her giving a strong and perfectly restrained performance as the fresh widow who tries to keep hope and make the life go on despite the terrible loss. The big problem of the film is that despite the excellent premises the story does not have enough dramatic tension, so the excellent first half creates expectations that are not well fulfilled in the second half. The story of the fight near the lake, or the incident at the wedding do not fit well and do not add too much to the evolution of the characters. Moreover, the discussions between the two members of the team become suddenly too verbose for people who up to then seemed to be much more used to action than words, and who looked like understanding situations and communicating just by gestures or expression of eyes. The feeling I was left at the end was that The Messenger has a story of big potential, but not fully realized.

One trick I truly dislike when a movie is promoted is when the label ‘inspired by a true story’ is placed into a too visible place, especially when it comes to true stories and to characters which I could in theory at least meet on the street (well, on some streets). I am confused by mix of documentary and drama that are not frankly labeled as such but prefer to disguise in fiction movies resorting the ‘inspired by …’ label only when in artistic or credibility trouble, and I do not buy easily the theories about life exceeding melodrama. After all what counts for me in a film is the artistic truth, and there is a credibility of emotions and situations that does not necessarily go at the same pace as plain reality. For plain reality I have the real life, and I have TV news, Internet and written press. I am looking for something else when I watch a fiction movie.




One of the problems with The Soloist is that while director Joe Wright uses all the tools of the great studios films, the story does not gather neither enough ‘meat’ not enough ‘steam’ to sustain the whole film. The story of the Julliard drop-out who becomes a homeless to be accidentally discovered 30 years later by a LA Times reporter can make for a good article in the LA Times, or even a good series of articles or a book, but not for a whole film. One of the reasons is that the script writer does not seem to have fully investigated the case, or maybe decided not to bring the whole material to screen. I confess that I did not understand the reasons of Minnesota-born cellist Nathaniel Ayers leaving school – we have flashbacks that bring indications about childhood problems, some words about a big-handed father (maybe child abuse?), other flashbacks hint to racial pressure at Julliard or just the pressure any young artist experiences in such a competitive environment, and other words speak about his need for RESPECT – so what is the conclusion? The director does not let us know, or I did not get it.


(video source watchmoviepreviews)


There are many artistic qualities in this film. First the superb acting of the two lead actors – Jamie Foxx is troubled and vulnerable and the efforts to break the wall of non-communication he built around himself make it to the viewer. Robert Downey Jr. provides the interior strength and the humanity to make us love his hero, and believe strongly that there must be a place for investigative journalism and its true heroes in our future lives. What causes The Soloist not to be the good film it aimed to become is the lack of decision in choosing the right tone while throwing away the overweight of moralization. While saying emphatically that it is based on the realities of our days, the film dares not adopt the documentary techniques, but emulates them using the traditional tools of Hollywood. It is just that good acting and splendid music are not enough in this case.


I met Olivia in a few Internet discussion lists where we were both subscribed. Olivia is a pen name, she introduces herself as a teacher in Connecticut, the state that was at the time of the posting in the news because on (another) tragedy that took place in a school from all places, a tragedy which human mind and soul (for those humans who have minds and souls) have a hard time to cope with. The subject of this posting is however different. Olivia has seen a film about Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Righteous Among Nations, a man who dared to not obey in order to keep his faith and humanity in times of darkness. (she wrote In Romanian) about the Man and the film and she allowed me to share this with the readers of The Catcher in the Sand.


Film artistic francez cu puternice tonuri documentare, despre ce a facut a facut Sousa Mendes, consulul general al Portugaliei in Frantza in timpul celui de-al doilea rzboi mondial.
Tata a 15 copii, 14 cu la sotia Angelina Mendes, Sousa Mendes s-a considerat catolic. El si-aformulat practicarea credintei in felul urmator
Am sa ma aliez mai curand cu Dumnezeu impotriva omului decat cu omul impotriva lui Dumnezeu.
Nu am inteles ce a vrut sa spuna decat  dupa ce s-a terminat filmul.



Pus in fata unei situatii imposibile Mendes nu a ezitat sa-si urmeze credinta intr-un Dumnezeu care l-a invatat sa fie  uman si drept iar  omul la care se referea era presedintele Portugaliei Salazar.

Salazar a dat ordin tuturor consulilor Portugaliei in tarile europene afectate de razboi sa nu dea nici un fel de viza eventualilor refugiati temandu-se de un influx de imigranti in Portugalia care ar putea debalansa neutralitatea aproximativa a tarii. Mendez care a asistat la ororile cozilor de refugiati infricosati, infometati, obositi la ambasada lui a hotarat ca nu va asculta ordinul si a emis 30 de mii de vize celor care nu aveau incotro si trebuiau sa paraseasca tara. Alternativa lor ar fi fost moarte sigura. A facut asta cu sacrificii imense, pericol permanent si epuizare fizica. A fost ajutat in aceasta actiune de proportii doar de secretarul consulatului si fiul lui cel mare. Printre cei care au primit vize au fost cetateni rusi, polonezi, romani, francezi, belgieni, refugiati politici, indivizi alungati din tarile de origine care nu aveau unde sa se duca, evrei inainte de arestarea spre camerele de gazare, invalizi bolnavi, bogati, saraci. Ulterior istoricii au declarat aceata actiune a consului Mendes ca mai extinsa operatie de salvare de vieti omenesti indeplinita de un singur individ. Mendes a fost interpelat pana la urma de serviciul secret portughetz si i s-a interzis sa mai emita vize. Acest serviciu secret imi aminteste de securitatea romaneasca tot in mana unui dictator, si la fel de brutala. Fortat sa se intoarca in Portugalia natala, lui Mendes i s-au retras toate drepturile politice si sociale, nu mai avea voie sa munceasca, copiiilor lui li s-a interzice sa mearga la universitati sau sa lucreze, si deci Mendes si-a continuat restul vietii in saracie. A refuzat sa paraseasca Portugalia si sa primeasca ajutor de la cei pe care i-a salvat, printre care se afla si Rothschild cu familia lui, oameni extrem de generosi. Speranta lui Mendes a fost ca il va face pe Salazar, crestin practicant si el  sa inteleaga ca gestul de neasculare a ordinelor a fost dictat de constiinta si religia pe care o practicau amandoi. Salazar l-a umilit pentru tot restul vietii lui, neacordandu-i nici macar o audientza.

Am vazut filmul (Desobeir – O Consul de Bordeus) la invitia unor vecini portughezi, vizionare organizata de asociatia portugheza din oras. La vizionare a fost si nepotul lui Mendes, unul din multii desigur, locuieste actualmente in Montreal unde de fapt s-a si nascut. La inceputul filmului a spus cateva cuvinte de introducere, mai nimeni din sala nu auzise de Mendes. La sfarsit spectatorii au avut posibilitatea sa-i puna intrebari. Si au fost multe. Asa am aflat ca dupa moartea lui Mendes s-a inceput o munca intensa pentru reabilitarea lui. Guvernul Suares l-a reabilitat integral i-a recunoscut toate titlurile si drepturile si si-a cerut iertare din partea parlamentului portughez familiei care a suferit atat. Chipul lui Mendes astazi este pe timbre portugheze, numele lui este incrustat pe monumetul de la Yad Vashem din Israel, cu titlul de Drept intre Natiuni (Righteous Among The Nations). Filmul, jucat impecabil de actori francezi este prezentat in sali mici dar in toata america de nord unde au ajuns multi dintre supravietuitori care au primit viza semnata de el. De asemenea filmul este material didactic in Portugalia.Cineva din sala a intrebat de ce aceasta poveste nu e repovestita de un mare regizor si distribuita larg. Nepotul lui Mendes nu a stiut ce sa raspunda dar sunt sigura ca idea nu i-a fost straina. Dupa film s-a servit o gustare, mancaruri specific portugheze. In fundal cineva canta un Fado, noi spectatorii printre mese parca pluteam inaltati de acesta poveste, impartaseam impresii, si atunci in seara acea,m-am simtit portugheza si catolica dar in special mandra ca sunt parte din rasa umana. Asta a facut pentru mine Mendes in seara acea.
Si un documentar despre Aristides de Sousa Mendes pe care l-am gasit pe Internet

(video source Joao Sousa)

The Mission Impossible the Bond series share growth pains. They are both making huge efforts to adapt and behave nicely in the new millennium.It’s not an easy task for series whose characters, rules and conventions have been written originally in novels of the 50s, or in TV series of the 70s. They both answer by building darker stories (in the mood of the pessimist start of the millennium), hiring new actors (with the exception of the eternal Tom Hanks of course), and new directors who put the emphasize on building flesh and blood characters, humans who can feel pain and sorrow.


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Directing is trusted in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol to Brad Bird whose all previous successes were with animated movies. I cannot say that this is felt at all, or at least I did not detect any flaws in the fluency of the story telling or the work of the actors which are as little cartoonish as a MI-series film can be. The story this time has the quality of being well written, keeps the number of characters almost to the minimum needed and thus is easy to watch. We are still jet-flown in a handful of different countries, impossible infiltrations and games of masks are still part of the action, messages self destroy and at least one symbolic building is badly damaged – but there is an overall effort to make the intrigue, the relations between characters and even the extreme situations more credible, and this effort is mostly successful.


(video source VISO trailers)


Acting is exactly what is expected. The only regret is that Michael Nyquist has no real role and not enough screen time to demonstrate the huge talent we admired in the Scandinavian version of the Millennium trilogy. Tom Cruise who turned 50 this year is more and more involved in the MI series, he is here not only the lead actor but also the producer. One difference between the Bond and the MI series is that Ethan Hunt’s role was never undertaken by another actor but Cruise, while at least five actors featured in the 23 Bond films. Of course, Cruise is still in great form, but the problem will be on the table maybe two series and ten years from now and the question is whether the MI series will over-live Cruise’s aging. We shall live and we shall see.