Archive for June, 2013

Romanul de mici dimensiuni al lui Don DeLillo (aparut in 2012 la Editura POLIROM, in colectia Biblioteca Polirom, in traducerea careia nu i-am gasit vreun cusur a Veronicai D.  Niculescu) ii va lasa descumpaniti la sfarsitul lecturii pe multi dintre cititorii sai. Daca ar trebui sa aseman cu ceva stilul in care este scrisa aceasta carte cred ca termenul de ‘minimalism’ ar fi primul pe care l-as folosi si asta nu in legatura cu dimensiunile cartii ci mai ales in ceea ce priveste economia de mijloace pe care autorul o foloseste in descrierea ambiantei, personajelor, relatiilor dintre ele. In genul pictural este mai degraba o schita, dar o schita apartinand unui artist de mare talent care nu are nevoie de multe linii sau culori pentru a exprima un gand sau o emotie.

Despre punctul Omega aflam undeva, pe la mijlocul cartii, din cuvintele unuia dintre personaje:

‘- Constiinta se acumuleaza. Incepe sa se intoarca asupra ei insesi. Exista aproape ceva matematic in asta, mi se pare. E aproape ca o lege din matematica sau fizica pe care inca n-am reusit s-o deslusim, unde mintea transcende totul catre interior. Punctul omega, a zis el. Oricare ar fi sensul harazit acestui termen, daca are un sens, daca nu e un exemplu de limbaj care se trudeste catre vreo idee dincolo de experienta noastra.’ (pag. 107-108)

Cel care rosteste aceste cuvinte este Richard Elster, un teoretician al razboiului, unul dintre cei chemati de guvern sa faca parte din ‘trustul de creiere’ care sfatuieste in probleme de politica internationala. Elster este un om al cuvintelor in a carui bibliografie se afla un eseu despre un singur cuvant englez ‘Renditions’ ale carui multiple sensuri sunt analizate in detaliu. Retras in singuratea unui desert american este vanat de cineastul Jim Finley, povestitorul la persoana intai a majoritatii cartii, care doreste sa realizeze un film despre el, un film in care cuvantul sa joace rolul principal, cu Elster vorbind pe un fundal ultra-simplificat despre actualitate si despre trecutul apropiat, incercand poate sa explice ‘perioada in care lucrase pentru guvern, toata vorbaria si balbaiala cu Irakul’ (pag. 31)

 

9789734631704_p0_v1_s260x420

 

Daca Elster este un om al cuvintelor, Finley este un om al imaginilor. In palmaresul sau se afla un documentar in care decupase imaginile lui Jerry Lewis din filmele anilor 50, dar numai imaginile lui, incercand sa redea epoca prin prisma unui singur personaj, al unui singur actor. Relatia intre cuvant si imagine este una dintre temele principale ale cartii, in contextul manipularii de care sunt amandoua capabile? Care dintre aceste unelte ale comunicarii manipuleaza cu mai multa eficienta? cuvintele lui Elster sau imaginile lui Finley?

Al treilea personaj care apare in carte este Jessica, fata batranului. Este o figura aproape ireala, un alter-ego al lui Elster care o iubeste cu adoratia specifica tatilor pentru fiice. In mijlocul desertului, departe de civilizatie, cele trei personaje incep parca sa se apropie, sa comunice, ba chiar apare o oarecare tensiune sexuala intre cei doi tineri. Este climaxul emotional al unei carti altfel scrisa rece si cu economie nu numai de cuvinte ci si de sentimente. Imediat dupa aceasta timida apropiere Jessica va dispare, si cartea se transforma intr-un fals roman detectiv. Disparitia Jessicai inseamna si prabusirea lui Elster. ‘Daca iubire nu e, nimic nu e’ spunea cineva?

 

source http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/books/04delillo.html?_r=0

source http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/books/04delillo.html?_r=0

 

Undeva in carte este mentionat si haiku-ul, acea forma literara concisa, in care doua idei juxtapuse sunt exprimate in trei versuri cu un numar fix si predestinat de silable. La scala unui miniroman ‘Punctul Omega’ are o structura de haiku. Expunerea principala cu ideile sale pereche (civilizatie – izolare, cuvant – imagine) este infasurata intr-un prolog si un epilog care se petrec in Muzeul de Arta Moderna din New York, in sala in care este proiectat un exponat video care desfasoara in 24 de ore filmul Psycho al lui Alfred Hitchcock. Personajele cartii apar, poate, ca umbre si fara a fi identificate precis. Povestitorul este altul, un observator al scurgerii timpului, care creaza sistemul de referinta al realitatii noastre imediate. Proiectia lenta schimba intreaga perspectiva:

‘E nevoie de o atentie sporita ca sa vezi ce se intampla chiar in fata ta. E nevoie de truda, de un efort cucernic, pentru a vedea ceea ce privesti. Era fermecat de asta, de profunzimile la care se putea ajunge prin incetinirea miscarii, lucrurile de vazut, profunzimile lucrurilor atat de usor de ratat in ingustul obicei al vazutului.’ (pag. 22)

‘Punctul Omega’ este o lectura scurta dar nu si lejera. Cartea deschide multiple planuri de gandire, pune multe intrebari, funizeaza putine raspunsuri. Si totusi, in pofida brevitatii, senzatia care ramane dupa lectura este cea a unei carti dintre cele mai interesante despre America de astazi, o carte la care cititorul continua sa se gandeasca si dupa ce lectura s-a terminat.
 

 

For us, folks living out of the United States there seem to be two institutions that govern strongly the lives of our American friends: the courts of law and the shrinks. While tribunals are institutions that for most people out of the US seem to be equal to being in trouble and lawyers a category of people to avoid, a little more acceptable than the gravediggers, the American way takes easily its conflicts into courts, and lawyers seem to be on the top of the social and wealth scales. Same for psychoanalysts, with the process of going to one being considered to be a social and personal necessity even for the not so rich in America, and the sign of some malady or deep trouble elsewhere. Actually in ‘Side Effects’ Jude Law does not hide at all his native British accent as he plays shrink from the UK who comes to Manhattan in order to be able to exercise his profession as a honorable one. He works hard, he seems to succeed and then he meets trouble.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/

 

Trouble comes under the shape of a young and troubled woman (Rooney Mara) whom he meets in hospital after she tried to commit suicide. She has a history of such troubles and even more reasons now, as her husband (a white collar offender) got out of jail and was trying to find his way back to the world of investment. Like everybody around doctors, patients and everybody else knows about psychotic drugs, the shrink tries some, they do not work, try another experimental one, it seems to work … and then she kills.

It’s just the start of a film that changes a few times tone and direction approaching successively a few themes – the obsession of the American society with shrinks and related medication, the ethics of using experimental drugs, the relation between shrink and patient, and a crime story which also changes angles and develops towards an unexpected but also an incredible outcome.

It is not really clear what kind of movie Steven Soderbergh wanted to do. He observes well the medium and cinematography is very good in emphasizing the atmosphere and the stress the characters go through. The crime story he relies on is however too complicated and not only the ending is hard to accept, but also some of the key details on the road. Are we supposed to believe that a doctor who was involved in the medical past of the patient, and who may be suspected of malpractice because of allegedly using an experimental drug with unexpected side effects will not only be accepted as an expert witness in court, but also continue to be trusted as the personal psychoanalyst and supervisor of the accused after she is condemned to be interned into a mental institution?

 

(video source Movie Trailers)

 

IMO, acting is not stellar either. Rooney Mara conveys at the beginning the fragility of a troubled mind to the point that I found hard to believe the final twists. Jude Law with his face stoned in one expression only for the whole film (with just his beard growing, cheap way of showing men in trouble in movies) is ‘only good’, which is relatively bad for this splendid actor. Catherine Zeta-Jones is the worse – a miscast which cannot be believed neither as shrink nor as lover.

It is said that director Steven Soderbergh declared this will be his final film. I really hope this is not true, this would be for me a poor ending to a career that has seen much better achievements.

This ambitious project realized 15 years ago and directed by Francois Girard uses a not completely new pretext for its story line retracing 300 years of history of a superb violin manufactured at the end of the 17th century, a violin born in tragedy and seeming to carry unusual passion and power which marks the destinies of all its successive owners. When watching this film we cross centuries, countries, continents following the destiny of an unusual instrument which seems to be hiding the special gifts making wonderful sounds, but also a curse for the fate of its owners. An object that ignites art and passion.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0120802/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0120802/

 

The story telling predicts by a few years the novels of Dan Brown and the like, and we deal in parallel with the chronological told story of the violin and with the intrigues behind the scenes of the public auction in which it is sold at the end of the 20th century. As the story develops we understand that the participants in the bid are also related to the history of the instrument, descendants of its previous owners, connected also through a destiny predicted in cards of tarot, which is also revealed gradually as the story progresses.

 

(video source Basstango)

 

15 years after the film was made its music and some of its independent story segments survive better than the whole. Violinist Joshua Bell was the musical consultant and probably played much of the score, which makes for some very interesting but out of the beaten track music. I liked it, but do not expect to hear any famous scores, you will need to listen carefully to understand the passion and appreciate the quality. The short stories in the history are all well written but also a little bit conventional, characters are drawn with attention, and love for music. The connection between the episodes is not so well made, the five cards can be a transition trick that works well on TV, but the jumps in time and the changes of hands of the owners are too sketchy for a big screen movie. The final episode (of the public auction) introduces an element of suspense which I found again to be a little too conventional and not really in tune with the rest of the story. A little bit like a musical composition with many beautiful passages but lacking strength in composition and a ‘finale’ to remember.

If this story happened in the USA it would have been labelled as the American Dream story. An Italian immigrant comes to the new country with his three kids. A few years later he receives citizenship. The younger of the children dreams to become a movie star. He starts to sing in clubs, enjoys some success, tries doing movies, it’s a failure, does more music for another two decades, then returns to the big screens. He becomes one of the most successful singers AND actors of his generation, a symbol of the new country. He is even considered to have good chances to be elected president. A success story. It’s just that it did not happen in the USA but in France. A French Dream and Success Story. The name is Ivo Levi, better known as Yves Montand. My cousin who knows it all or almost says that the name was given to kid Ivo by his friends in Marseille who were laughing at his mother shouting to him ‘Ivo, monta!’ when he was too late getting back home.

 

source avaxhome.ws

source avaxhome.ws

 

Patrick Rotman‘s TV documentary brings to screen the biography of Yves Montand. It may look like an easy task, as Montand was filmed copiously on stage, on screen, in his private and public life, so there was plenty of material to chose from. It is also a challenge for the documentary director as he has to filter the material, assemble it and give it a chance to become a portrait and a story. The story of the life of a big artist, but one that demands respect without becoming adulatory, one that presents the disputable aspects of the biography (and there have been a few of these as well) without falling into cheap sensationalist. One that leaves us with the complete story and portrait of the man and of the artist. While choosing a conservative chronological way of describing the biography and the work of Montand, Rotman in my opinion succeeded, he stood well by the challenge. His portrait of Montand is interesting, the story is well told, no (important) skeletons stay in the closet (maybe with the exception of the old age parenting dispute), and the film is interesting to watch and listen to. To his credit most of the songs figuring in the film are not yet on youTube so there is one more reason for the fans of Montand’s music to look for this film and see it in cinemas (if possible) or on the net (if available).

 

(video source CulturClub France)

 

The almost two hours of projection allow the time to develop the story of the rags-to-Olympia career of the singer which passes through the encounter with Edith Piaf, of the love story of almost a life with Simone Signoret, of the crisis of their relationship when Marylin Monroe interfered. Most interesting however were for me the episodes related to the political engagement of Montand. The singer and the actor was what the Communists call ‘a road companion’ or even a little more than that, playing into the hands of the Communists and the Soviets until and including the year 1956, when he went to a triumphal tour in Moscow, Leningrad and other East Block cities right after the Soviet bloody crushing of the Hungarian anti-communist revolution. His direct contact with the realities beyond the Iron Curtain were however also a trigger to his awaking, He not only realized the lies of the Soviet system, but also departed from the tradition of his family (his father had become a Communist in opposition of Mussolini in his native Italy, his brother was a Communist and a syndicalist leader).  Starting with 1968, the year of the Soviet invasion in Czechoslovakia Yves Montand became an active fighter for human rights against all totalitarian systems, left or right. He opposed dictatorship in Greece, Argentine and Chile, but also the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and he supported the movements for democracy in Poland and Czechoslovakia which eventually led to the fall of the Wall in Berlin and of the Iron Curtain in Europe. In the 80s he sang in Israel in support of the fight to allow free immigration of Jews from the Soviet Union.

 

(video source Anna Screengazer)

 

The best parts in the film are however the musical ones, with a lot of original and well documented clips from the early periods of Montand’s career, including the concerts on Broadway in 1960 which fulfilled his dream (and possibly the dream of his parents) to reach the shores of America and be successful there. The film career of Montand seems a little bit neglected relative to the musical one, Montand was a huge actor, but we are shown too few and told only scarce things about his film career. The magic of stage seems to have conquered director Rotman, and he succeeds to pass it to the viewers, at the expense of other dimensions of the personality of the artist. Yet there is much in this film that is worth seeing and much to learn and love about the personality of Montand. If you are not already in love with him you have good chances to fall under the spell of Ivo Livi dit Yves Montand after having seen this film.

Poet, prozator si istoric cunoscut in Suedia, Kjell Espmark este membru al Academiei Suedeze – acel forum care in fiecare an selecteaza castigatorul Premiului Nobel pentru Literatura. Acum Espmark se confrunta cu publicul romanesc care are ocazia sa ii cunoasca una dintre cartile sale recente – ‘Bela Bartok contra celui de-al Treilea Reich’ aparuta in 2012 in colectia ‘BIBLIOTECA POLIROM’ a editurii cuacelasi nume. Traducerea nu este insa direct din suedeza, Angela Marin traducand cartea din spaniola. Traducerea mi s-a parut de bun nivel cu exceptia unui neasteptat si deranjant ‘camp de concentrare si exterminare’ (pag. 73), dar ma intreb totusi daca si dece nu s-o fi gasit un traducator din suedeza pentru a evita dubla traducere.

 

index

 

Este dificil de categorisit aceasta carte. La mai putin de 150 de pagini ‘Bela Bartok contra celui de-al Treilea Reich’ este cam de dimensiunile unei nuvele, dar structura narativa este destul decomplexa pentru a o apropia de genul romanului. Ar fi deci un mini-roman biografic, dar multe dintre paginile cartii inclina candspre eseul istoric, cand spre poezie tradand poetul obisnuit cu slefuirea cuvintelor si sublimarea gandirii in directia metaforelor.Nici planul temporal nu este clar – naratiunea este o succesiune de flash-back-uri alternate cu vise si cu premonitii despre viitor, pe care muzicianul Bela Bartok le traieste in dupa-amiaza unei zile de toamna tarzie, undeva in sudul Frantei in anul 1940, in timp ce se afla in asteptarea plecarii spre taramul libertatii numit America, printre ultimii refugiati care mai aveau posibilitatea de a parasi Europa democratiei infrante, inainte de a fi ferecate orice porti de iesire pentru cei pe care noii stapani ai continentului ii considerau nedemni de o viata omeneasca sau pur si simplu nedemni de viata. Nu este clar daca toate gandurile si visele acestea se petrec in decursul catorva secunde sau al catorva ore, dar nici nu este prea important, ceea ce conteaza este perspectiva temporala care include intreg trecutul muzicianului, dar si viitorul sau, cei cativa (putini) ani pe care avea sa-i mai traiasca in exil in America.

Cartea urmareste in general cu exactitate biografia muzicianului maghiar, care fara a fi un creator prolific a fost unul dintre muzicienii cunoscuti ai primei jumatati a secolului 20, si al carui nume a ramas in istoria muzicii in special prin extensivele cercetari folclorice, inregistrari si culegerea de cantece populare din Ungaria, Romania si Slovacia. Una dintre primele secvente ale amintirilor compozitorului este legata de calatoriile in satele indepartate, de relatia cu taranii si cu muzica lor:

Curios este ca aceasta muzica este legata anume de acest loc, cu ulita satului gloduroasa si cu mirosul patrunzator de balegar, fiind totodata universala in libera ei circulatie ce nu se opreste in fata capricioaselor frontiere nationale – ba romaneasca, ba maghiara, ba slovaca. Aidoma plantelor ale caror seminte sunt imprastiate de vant si prind radacini cand ici, cand colo, insa intotdeauna dau marturie despre inrodirea dintre ele dincolo de inversunatele linii rosii ale hartilor’ (pag. 20)

 

sursa www.ilbrigante.it

sursa www.ilbrigante.it

 

Muzica joaca un rol important in naratiune, cu doua bucati muzicale dominand prima si a doua parte a cartii. In prima parte este introdus cvartetul de coarde numarul 6, prilej pentru autor de a glosa prin intermediul personajului Bartok despre relatia dintre forma si continut in arta in general si in muzica in special, despre frica dictatorilor din totdeauna fata de arta care nu poate fi incadrata in canoanele formale pe care ei le cunosc si pe care le stapanesc, despre libertatea creatorului care atunci cand nu se poate exprima liber in continut se manifesta in permanenta cautare a formelor noi. Nazismul la fel ca si comunismul au dispretuit si au incercat sa distruga arta libera, cautarile formale etichetate drept ‘arta degenerata’:

‘… or fi avut chiar atata putere cateva masuri ale unui cvrartet de coarde incat sa opreasca un tanc? … Ce l-o fi putut ingrozi atat pe Goebbels cel din somn si ce le-o fi sadit celor de la putere atata frica de arta? A, ca arta era o activitate complet libera? Evident. O arta ce scapa oricarui tip de control birocratic ori militar constituie chiar un pericol.’ (pag. 40)

‘E limpede ca ii sperie pe langa singularele tonalitati, si neasteptata libertate preluata de Bartok din cantecele tarancilor si din melodiile muzicantilor de la sat. Ii deranjeaza vechile tonalitati ecleziastice , ba chiar si elementele pentatonice – mult mai vechi in muzica populara, ruralismul dezlantuit, in raspar cu evolutia muzicii urmata de spiritul german de doua secole. Si nici ca pot altceva decat sa se ingrozeasca si sa dispretuiasca bogata varietate a ritmurilor involburate si schimbarea cadentei pe care taranii le adora – acestea fiind cu totul diferite de cadenta lor disciplinata de mars militar.’ (pag. 47)

 

(video source honekawasujiemon)

 

Dihotomia intre estetic si politic, cele doua planuri in care se desfasoara lupta intre artist si tiranie, intre individ si sistem este pusa in evidenta cu pretul unei singure – dar majore – abateri de la biografia reala a lui Bartok. In niciun moment in carte nu este mentionat faptul ca a doua sotie lui Bartok – Ditta Pasztory – era evreica, si acest fapt trebuie sa fi fost determinant in hotarirea sotilor Bartok de a parasi in ultimul moment Europa cotropita de nazisti. Nu am gasit informatii care sa confirme sau sa infirme asocierea voluntara prezentata in carte a lui Bartok cu ‘artistii degenerati’ sau sfidarea deschisa a germanilor prin auto-declararea ca ‘evreu voluntar’ intr-o vreme in care devenea din ce in ce mai clar ca evreii sa-i numim reali se aflau in pericol de moarte. Relatia intre Bela si Ditta este descrisa in toata complexitatea si frumusetea ei prin intermediul unei alte splendide piese muzicale – Sonata pentru Doua Piane si Percutie, care avea sa fie piesa de rezistenta in primul concert dat de perechea de muzicieni dupa ce vor ajunge in Statele Unite.

 

(video source aherzog32)

 

Bela Bartok a ales pana la urma exilul si aceasta prilejuieste dezvoltarea a inca unei teme importante a cartii, tema legata de dilema intelectualului si artistului obligat de furtunile istoriei sa se desparta de spatiul geografic si cultural in care s-a nascut si in care isi crease arta pana in acel moment.

‘… o intrebare ce-i framanta pe toti fugarii – ca si pe cei care nu au fugit inca, o intrebare pusa in atat de multe limbi, incat probabil ca-i insoteste pe oameni de cand lumea – cand e bine sa fugi? Nu prea devreme, ca sa nu fii nevoit sa-ti parasesti rudele si prietenii, caminul si bunurile, cultura si limba, in conditiile in care viitorul nu-ti poate aduce decat instrainare, saracie si o neincetata pribegie. Dar nici tarziu, sa te trezesti ca granitele s-au inchis, ca autobuzul plin cu capturati asteapta cu farurule stinse chiar in spatele barierei de control, iar patrulele de noapte, odata ce au terminat ce era de facut, incep sa tranteasca usile inchizandu-le. ‘ (pag. 75-76)

Cati dintre emigrantii politici si refugiatii de teroare (etnica, rasista, politica) nu au facut aceste calcule ‘in atat de multe limbi’, cum scrie autorul?

In situatia in care se afla refugiatul Bela Bartok, artistul, muzicianul, europeanul Bela Bartok in acea toamna, plecarea era singura solutie. Bartok era nu numai un muzician cu un exceptional si acut simt al auzului, era si un om sensibil la suferintele semenilor sai, capabil sa le auda nu numai fiecare nota de tanguire din cantece, dar si fiecare suspin si tipat de groaza din momentele de suferinta.

‘Incepe sa se faca tarziu in Europa. Seara este scindata intre un cuvant gol si o bezna deasa. Doar cel care pleaca de aici se mai poate intoarce. Iar el pleaca.’ (pag. 147)

Biographical films tend to be respectful to the historical figures that they describe. Even when they describe complex and controversial  characters they try to explain and to put in context the motivation of deeds which in the perspective of history seem evil. Paolo Sorrentino‘s ‘Il Divo’ is quite the contrary, it is a negative biography about a character who dominated the Italian politics for most of the second part of the 20th century, the leader of the Christian-Democratic Party and seven-times Prime Minister of Italy, Giulio Andreotti. The film does not lack complexity – quite the contrary – and the historical context of the 80s and 90s is described in detail, but the effect is willingly opposite than in usual biographies. Even political actions which would have seen candid or neutral seem to catch a strong significance and are seen through the perspective of the corruption and Mafia-relations which seem to have dominated Italian political life of the period.

 

www.imdb.com/title/tt1023490/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1023490/

 

My knowledge about the Italian politics is too superficial to make a definite judgment about the correctness of the facts presented on screen. What I can say after seeing the film is that it does not seem to pretend to be objective. Even if there is no explicit statement, there is neither any positive angle we brought into the film or positive dimension that is not questioned. Even the relationship with his wife (‘I knew all these years what kind of man I married’) or helping the poor (which looks more like a political exercise deprived of sincerity). There are however many other scenes (like the repeated walk on empty streets surrounded by cohorts of security people, the reception after his last nomination as Prime Minister) which describe not only the outer-worldness of the man, but also of the whole system.

Even more amazing is the fact that Andreotti was alive when this film was made (he actually died about a month ago) and has seen at least part of the film, allegedly walking out after a while. So this is not only a biography, but a pamphlet directed against a living politician. Andreotti, by the way, was no stranger to the Italian cinema industry, he played an important role in establishing the rules that protected the local industry against foreign (especially Hollywood) imports in the 50s, but also the establishment of a de-facto censorship over the content of the productions which was in place for many decades. Is this film also kind of a revenge of the now free industry over this character? Maybe.

 

(video source Artificial Eye)

 

To a very large extent ‘Il DIvo’ relies on the extraordinary acting performance of Toni Servillo. He makes one of these creations which in time tend to superpose and replace the visual representation we have about the real-life person. Great acting indeed, but do we end by understanding better Giulio Andreotti the man? I doubt it. Paolo Sorrentino certainly knows how to construct complex characters which do not show easily their intense internal beings. Looking now retrospectively he did the same thing in This Must Be the Place (which he made later, but I saw it before). He does not however serve the viewers with ready prepared answers about the motivation of his heroes. I knew very little about Andreotti before seeing this film, I know many more facts now, but the man remains a mystery.

 

I believe that there is such a genre called ‘the Tarantino movies’. They have a story which is usually a gangster story, but not necessarily. Men in the story are teenagers or they all have teenagers minds, they are addicted to comics and pulp fiction, they love cinema if cinema was invented when the action takes place, there must be a scene in a cinema theater or at least in front of a TV set in these films. Girls are gorgeous and hookers. Morality plays an important role, but is of a special kind. There is a lot of violence in this films, so well filmed that viewers know it’s not true and they have fun watching it. Martial arts are the real art.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0108399/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0108399/

 

Some of the Tarantino films are made by Quentin Tarantino. Some other not. ‘True Romance’ is not, but it’s written by Tarantino, it was made 20 years ago but looks as fresh as if it was made yesterday, which shows that the genre beyond other qualities also has the one of aging nicely. It’s a gangster story, it’s a love story, it’s a crime comedy about a young couple semi-willingly becoming murderers and unwillingly becoming drug dealers, it’s a road movie, it’s a movie about Hollywood. And it’s fun to watch.

 

(video source C64b)

 

There are so many good things in this film that I have a hard time picking which one to list. Dialogs and the musical score (Hans Zimmer – see the list of the films he composed for at IMDb and you will understand why you loved even more some of the best films in Hollywood in the last 30 years) are exquisite. Acting is stellar with the lead exception of Christian Slater which I simply cannot force myself to like. Lucky me, he is paired in the film with Patricia Arquette, and then we have Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman … wow … each of them in supporting roles hard to forget.

The director of this film is Tony Scott, who died last year. He was among these directors who would never get an Oscar because he just made the films that pleased the crowds. ‘True Romance’ is however much more than a crowd-pleaser, it may be T.Scott’s best and one of the best Tarantino films ever made.

Am avut multe motive sa citesc imediat ce am avut ocazia cartea lui Daniel Cristea-Enache ‘Literatura de azi’ cu subtitlul ‘[email protected] pe net’ (ortografia originala, desigur, din toate punctele de vedere), aparuta acum cateva saptamani la POLIROM. In primul rand pentru ca Daniel Cristea-Enache este criticul meu literar preferat, si insubstanta si in stil, un critic care stie sa caute esenta si frumosul in carti si sa scrie frumos despre ele, un prieten, coleg, discipol si mentor (varsta sa-i zicem mijlocie ii permite sa se bucure de ultimele doua functii simultan) al multor scriitori romani contemporani. Al doilea motiv este implicarea intensa a criticului in lumea internetica in care ne-am intalnit si in care eu vin din cu totul alta directie. Daniel este un utilizator hiperactiv al Facebook-ului, si mai mult decat un suporter, este un promotor al exclusivelor internetice, lucru aproape unic printre criticii literari, si destul de rar intr-un mediu in care multe figuri ilustre continua sa duca un razboi  fara speranta pentru pastrarea suprematiei suportului de hartie al cuvantului tiparit fata de cel pastrat electronic si facut accesibil cu ajutorul Internetului. Aceasta carte insasi este dovada ca Daniel este printre aceia, inca putini, care a inteles puterea distribuirii literaturii si a informatiei culturale in general in mod liber si instantaneu, fara a tine cont de frontierele geografiei. ‘Literatura de azi’ este o culegere a interviurilor publicate intre sfarsitul lui 2011 si inceputul lui 2013 in foiletoane saptamanale de portalul cultural liternet.ro, interviuri ale caror mod de desfasurare le determina structura si le da un caracter aparte.

Mai exista insa un al treilea motiv si acesta este propria mea pasiune pentru interviuri in general, si interviurile cu scriitori si oameni de cultura in special. Originile acestei pasiuni personale pot fi gasite in anii de inceput ai ‘Romaniei Literare’, care in 1968, anul de speranta al scurtului si amagitorului dezghet politic si cultural romanesc inlocuia anchilozata ‘Gazeta literara’, sub o noua conducere cu Geo Dumitrescu redactor-sef si Adrian Paunescu redactor-sef adjunct. Printre multele noutati de format si continut gazeta continea in acei ani interviuri pe care poetul tanar si gazetarul talentat care era Paunescu in acei ani le lua colegilor de breasla scriitori, dar si oamenilor de cultura din alte discipline, precum si unor personalitati din alte domenii, inclusuv cel politic. Atunci, in anii (pentru mine) ai adolescentei si formarii intelectuale, am simtit forta interviului de calitate in a aduce cititorilor fatetele diferite ale personalitatilor intervievate, detalii ale biografiei lor, atitudinea fata de controversele zilei, fata de marile si micile probleme ale tarii si societatii in care traiesc. Nu a durat mult perioada de dezghet, ‘Romania literara’ a trecut in alte maini, si seria de interviuri a fost intrerupta. Adrian Paunescu avea sa o reia cativa ani mai tarziu la Flacara, dar nu mai era nici aceeasi atmosfera de entuziasm si deschidere in cultura si societatea romaneasca, si nici Paunescu nu mai era acelasi, devenind din ce in ce mai aliniat cu directivele de partid, si plusand in directia crearii unor formate care serveau cultul personalitatii perechii de dictatori din fruntea Romaniei acelor ani. Interviurile devenisera din ce in ce mai rare, si scriitorii romani ai anilor 70 si 80 au fost din nou pentru citititori in marea lor majoritate doar niste nume pe copertitle cartilor. Nu este deci de mirare ca dupa 1989 scriitorii mai mici si mai mari au abordat cu entuziasmul si foamea recuperarii genurile care permit expunerea personala de la jurnal la corespondente, de la publicistica de atitudine la interviuri. Pentru multi dintre scriitorii cei mai de succes ai Romaniei de astazi cartile de publicistica, jurnalele, dialogurile si interviurile ocupa numeric locuri aproape egale cu cele ale operelor literare insasi.

 

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Interviurile publicate de-a lungul lunilor si anilor de Daniel Cristea-Enache prilejuiesc o cunoastere a scriitorilor romani de astazi dincolo de opera lor, dar contextul este aproape intotdeauna cel al operei scrise. Ca autor de interviuri Daniel are marele avantaj de a cunoaste perfect si in profunzime cartile autorilor cu care discuta, o cunoastere care pare sa depaseasca simpla relatie intre critic si scriitor. Ca si atunci cand scrie cronici literare, intrebarile pe care le pune arata ca nu este vorba numai despre un critic ci si despre un cititor pasionat si empatic, doritor de a afla cat mai multe despre omul din spatele cartii si astfel de a-i intelege mai bine opera scrisa, si despre un cercetator atent care si-a pregatit bine lectiile cunoscand in amanunt biografia partenerilor de discutie. Aceasta ii permite sa abordeze interviurile compuse din patru sau cinci intrebari sau grupaje de intrebari fara preambule, direct si foarte la obiect in ceea ce priveste persoana si opera scriitorului cu care discuta. Iata de exemplu cum incepe interviul cu
Livius Ciocarlie:

‘DANIEL CRISTEA-ENACHE: Stimate domnule Livius Ciocarlie, in cea mai recenta carte a dumneavoastra, ‘La foc marunt’, va marturisitiimposibilitatea de a refuza o solicitare, o rugaminte, o invitatie, precum si seriozitatea si aplicatia oarecum atipice cu care purcedeti la onorarea lor. Tot aici, constatati ca, in ultima vreme, ritmul acestor solicitari a scazut: numai uneori, spuneti, mai cade cate un “obuz”.
De ce oamenii vin spre dumneavoastra cu aceste solicitari? Si de ce nu le puteti spune “nu”? De ce ati acceptat din prima clipa sa facem acest dialog, fara vreo “codeala” de vedeta ori invocarea unei agende cu alte prioritati?
Totusi, stimate domnile Livius Ciocarlie, este vorba despre timpul dumneavoastra. Timpul: ceva foarte pretios pentru un scriitor si pentru un eseist. De ce-l fragmentati si de ce oferiti altora bucati din el?’ (pag. 143)

La asemenea intrebari sau grupaje de intrebari atent formulate si bine argumentate rapunsurile sunt pe masura, fiecare profilate pe stilul si personalitatea celui intervievat. Livius Ciocarlie raspunde in stil banatean, cu o argumentare personala care dezvaluie laboratorul literar si crezul personal. Cu Carmen Musat raspunsul la prima intrebare capata dimensiunile unei treceri in revista a evolutiilor politice ale ultimelor decenii si atitudinii scriitoarei. Ioan Es. Pop raspunde la o intrebare lipsita de menajamente legata de implicarea poetului cu Securitatea cu includerea unui poem scris in acea perioada ale carui versuri vorbesc mai bine despre framantarile si umbrele acelor vremuri care continua sa-l insoteasca. Norman Manea, si el autor de carti de dialoguri dezvaluie mecanismele acestora si nevoia de a discuta in conditiile exilurilor (interior, geografic) pe care le-a trait. Iar Lucian Dan Teodorovici isi descrie pasiunea pentru … Dinamo.

Dezvoltarea in continuare a fiecaruia dintre interviuri este contruita pe raspunsul primit la intrebarile precedente, si cateodata
influentata si de evolutia evenimentelor politce. Multe dintre interviuri au avut loc in zbuciumatul an 2012, anul protestelor si al  suspendarilor, al referendumului si al alegerilor. Zgomotul strazii si zarva mediatica a lui 2012 se lasa auzite in spatiul virtual in care se desfasoara interviurile. De cele mai multe ori insa Daniel Cristea-Enache reuseste sa obtina de la interlocutorii sai raspunsuri care pun in evidenta esenta gandirii si scrierilor acestora, precum si informatii noi care completeza imaginea si informatia pe care cititorii si-o formasera despre ei. Aflam despre cautarile si peregrinarile lui Dan Lungu si despre istoria Clubului 8. Ne delectam cu felul in care isi descrie Emil Brumaru pasiunea poeziei, si felul in care aceasta se leaga de diversele etape ale biografiei sale. Ne emotionam la povestea de dragoste personala si autobiografica pe care ne-o asterne Radu Pavel Gheo. Reflectam impreuna cu Radu Vancu la relatia dintre poetic si politic. De la Vasile Ernu capatam un raspuns incomod dar lucid la o intrebare legata de o posibila reintregire romaneasca a Basarabiei. Aflam de la Silviu Lupescu lucruri inedite despre istoria editurii POLIROM.

 

foto: Viorel Ilisoi

foto: Viorel Ilisoi

 

Personal am fost fascinat in mod special de interviul cu Norman Manea. Exilul este una dintre temele principale ale operelor lui Manea, dar ceea ce a reusit sa obtina Daniel Cristea-Enache in interviul sau cu scriitorul care traieste astazi peste ocean este un eseu personal si o reflectare sintetica a problematicii exilului, in special pentru un scriitor al carui mod de a trai este atat de legat de limba in care s-a nascut si format. Cand scrie ‘Paradoxal, nevoia unei patrii poate fi mai acuta pentru cel acuzat mereu ca nu o are si nu ar putea avea vreuna, desemnat ca strain in propria tara si oriunde.’ (pag. 251) Manea descrie intr-o singura propozitie dilema identitara a intelectualilor evrei din exil dintotdeauna, pentru ca apoi sa-si dezvolte experienta personala de peregrinari geografice si spirituale:

‘Exilul este o socanta dislocare si disposesie, in care pierzi locul firesc, limba, prietenii, cartile, rutina unei vieti ritmate de ciclul natural al calendarului si al virstelor. Este o dialectica a schimbarii, cum spunea Brecht, si anume a uneia brutale care solicita intens fibra intregii fiinte. O trauma esentiala. Dar si o enorma sansa, care te obliga s-o asumi, sansa de a te reanaliza si a deschide larg ochii spre diversitatea lumii, la care nu aveai acces in ograda bine imprejmuita a provinciei natale. O trauma privilegiata, un extraordinar exercitiu pedagogic al scrutarii sinelui, cu necunoscutele sale, solicitate sa se puna in valoare si, concomitent, a necunoscutului din jur. Descoperi, vrind-nevrind, o noua lume si noua lume din tine insuti.’ (pag. 252-253).

Faptul ca raspunsurile la interviuri sunt scrise creaza oportunitatea diferentierilor stilistice, mai evidente la unii dintre respondenti, mai putin la altii. Nu cred ca va fi greu sa fie detectat stilul si identificat autorul in textele scrise de Emir Brumaru, Razvan Petrescu, Norman Manea, Livius Ciocarlie – si acestea isi vor putea gasi locurile in tomurile de opere complete de mai tarziu. Ultimele intrebari din fiecare grupaj difera ca stil si abordare. In unele cazuri este vorba despre ‘proba cea mai dificila’ (la Livius Ciocarlie), in altele (iarasi Manea) este lasat interlocutorul sa-si puna sie insusi intrebarea care ‘sa nu fi venit’ in multe alte interviuri date anterior. Fiecare grupaj de scriitor este completat de un Curriculum Vitae scris de fiecare autor, inca un prilej de auto-analizare, de cizelare a perspectivelor si a contextului si de diferentieri interesante in modul de scriere.

Am citit ‘Literatura de azi’ cu dragoste si interes fata de cei care au raspuns provocarii lui Daniel Cristea-Enache si prin el s-au dezvaluit cititorilor. Pe unii dintre scriitori ii cunosc mai bine, le-am citit unele dintre cartile mai importante, pe altii mai putin, pe cativa doar dupa nume. Cartea lui Daniel mi-a trezit interesul sa ii citesc pe toti. Cartea este cred importanta si prin relatia pe care o creaza intre interviurile care au aparut mai intai la liternet.ro si volumul tiparit – inca o dovada ca Internetul nu poate (chiar daca ar intentiona) sa ucida cuvantul tiparit, dar il poate influenta si schimba enorm, pana la crearea de noi genuri literare.

Esentialul ramane insa tot dialogul. In acest spirit cea mai buna incheiere a acestor randuri mi se pare tot un citat din interviul luat lui Norman Manea:

‘Dialogul intre oameni a suferit drastice transformari datorita evolutiei tehnicii, prin aparitia postei, telegrafului, telefonului, radioului, televiziunii, computerului si, recent a multiplelor jucarii de buzunar care permit contactul instantaneu cu lumea intreaga. Ce inseamna desfiintarea practica a comunicarii epistolare, in folosul uneia rapide si laconice si, inevitabil, reductive, nu putem inca evalua, dar este vorba, sint convins, de schimbari care afecteaza profund si personalitatea umana si societatea umana. Chiar si sub formele noi, accelerate si simplificate, dialogul ramine esential; lipsa acestuia contine grave prejudicii si primejdii. Cum s-a dovedit, indemnul “iubeste pe aproapele tau” este iluzoriu. Dar daca l-am modifica in “dialogheaza cu aproapele si departele tau”? Este greu de imaginat convietuirea in familie si societate, intro tara si in lume in lipsa dialogului sau prin degradarea sa ireversibila in agresivitate, obtuzitate, suficienta, narcisism, fanatism, idolatrizarea sinelui?” (pag. 266-267)

‘Le prenom’ translated in English in the Shakespearean ‘What’s in a Name’ is even more than an adaptation, it is almost filmed theater. Excepting the introduction which is funny but has little to do with the film and the final few minutes which could have been much better all the play … sorry … the film takes place in a Parisian apartment where five characters mid-class, mid-age meet for dinner and live the crisis of their lives triggered by a practical joke one of them makes related to the name of his baby-to-come. As in Polanski‘s ‘Carnage’ which brought to screen a play by Yasmina Reza, the border between theater and film is never really crossed. Actually this film/play is so close to Reza’s style that I would have been fooled easily if they told me it’s written by her.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2179121/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2179121/

 

Alexandre de la Patelliere and Mathieu Delaporte brought to screen Delaporte’s play and it looks like they do not have any other ambition than bringing to broader audiences the same story of good friends discovering unknown truths and hidden aspects of each other’s personalities. Every ten minutes or so we do have a new revelation, each one about another of the characters involved which will put at try family relations and friendships forged decades back, in childhood. There are no social comments of actuality and no political sub-tones if we exclude some references to the left vs. conservative stereotypes, and probably the most significant (and funniest) reference is made to political correctness, related to the selection of the name of the baby boy, but it is consumed unfortunately in the first third of the movie. However, this may play eventually in the favor of the text, keeping it timeless and helping it stay actual even if read and played many years or decades from now.

 

(video source CinemasGaumontPathe)

At the end of the day viewing ‘Le prenom’ is an enjoyable experience and this is due to the well written dialog (it’s a filmed play, but a good one) and to the excellent acting. I especially liked the pair of brother and sister (Patrick Bruel and Valerie Benguigui) who succeed both to bring real-life nuances to their characters, supplementary to the complexity and wit which is derived from the text. Do not avoid ‘Le prenom’ if it comes soon on a screen or a stage close to your place.

‘All Good Things’ is the only big screen feature film made until now by director Andrew Jarecki, who seems to have been involved previously with documentary movies, and we can feel this. Although he had for this movie at hands a splendid team of Hollywood actors who did a fine job he did not succeed to turn the juicy crime story upon which the film is based into a real compelling piece of cinema.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1175709/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1175709/

 

The story Jarecki is using is the highly publicized and never solved case of the disappearance in the early 80s of the wife of a rich class New Yorker, involved in the murky real-estate business of his family in the center of Manhattan. Twenty years and two more bodies later he was brought in Court, but his guilt was never proved and today he walks free. However the film does not focus on the investigation, but rather provides a convincing (on screen) theory of the way things happen, of the motivation and reasons of the crimes. It’s a dark story about moral misery and personal crisis in a family of super-riches. The problem is that it’s hard to define and possibly the distributors had a hard time advertising the genre and the story of the film. Crime stories fans will find themselves watching for more than half of the screening time a family drama, romance (the film starts like kind of a ‘Love Story’) quickly turns into disarray and domestic violence, reality does not necessarily make into cinematographic truth.

 

(video source VISO Trailers)

 

The best reasons to watch this film despite mixed reviews and not a very high mark on IMDb is however acting. Ryan Gosling can hardly do wrong on my taste, and here he is facing a complex role, in which he accompanies his deeply troubled hero from young age to late maturity, from the picks of the easy life of the New York socialites to the abyss of the life of a fugitive and transvestite. The even better news is that there is even better acting than Gosling’s in this film and I refer of course to Kirsten Dunst‘s role as the loving wife whose dream of marrying the nice and rich guy slowly descends into nightmare, and to the veteran Frank Langella who injects character and complexity in the role of the family father who is much more than a (anti)-moral symbol. At the end of the day and of the film the artistic truth of this story comes from a different place than the factual truth.