Archive for September, 2013

I must launch one of my rants about film titles translations. Usually my complains are about translating English titles to Hebrew or my mother-tongue Romanian – now it’s about the reverse translation. This film is titled in Hebrew ‘Who’s afraid of the Big Wolf’ which is obviously a reference to Edward Albee’s play. Why on Earth (or in the Negev Desert) would this reference to the title of a well known play written in English be dropped when translating the title of the film from Hebrew to English? Luckily this is one of the few mistakes made by the creators of this interesting film, a good exercise in the genre of horror which slowly gathers mass and quality in the Israeli cinema.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2309224/?ref_=sr_3

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2309224/

 

The story of the film directed by   and   could have been a thriller as it is built upon a police case, but it’s a case we learn almost nothing about. There is a police file in the film which ends by being used for very different purposes than intended, but we really do not know on what the suspicions on evil crimes of pedophilia and murder are based, on what grounds the main suspect, a high-school teacher is arrested, freed, kidnapped and eventually punished. More than a thriller this film is closer to the horror genre and asks in an implicit manner some tough questions about truth and guilt, about punishment and who has the right to apply it, about morality in the cases when justice cannot be made. Fans of horror should by no means be discouraged as all these (important) message are implicit and they are served in ‘Big Bad Wolves’ with a copious portion of their preferred stuff which seems to have been the first priority of the directors (who also wrote the script).

 

(video source Film Festivals and Indie Films)

 

The team of actors includes a few faces who are well-known to Israeli audiences and I was almost envying the foreign audiences for whom splendid actors like , , , or Doval’e Glickman are new. They all do good jobs. The musical score is well fit, in sync with the action in many moments, or providing the connection with the universe of childhood and fairy tales which is the emotional counterpoint of the whole story in other. Cinematography tries and succeeds a few good things, but falls into routine in the basement and night scenes which occupy much of the story, and editing could have been a little more alert for my taste. Overall I liked this film, and I believe it has chances for a good run among the fans of the genre and not only among them.

ICR Tel Aviv a organizat in aceasta dimineata un eveniment care i-a avut ca invitati pe scriitorii Carmen Firan si Adrian Sangeorzan care traiesc la New York, ocazie pentru publicul israelian de a-i cunoaste pe cei doi scriitori si de a asista la o dezbatere (la ‘masa rotunda’ – desi masa nu era chiar rotunda) a carei tema a fost definita ca ‘Eterna Calatorie si dilemele identitare. Despre nelinistea si provocarile drumului’. Celor doi invitati de peste ocean li s-a alaturat Vlad Solomon ca reprezentant ‘local’, iar dezbaterea a fost moderata de Marlena Braester.

Titlul evenimentului era incitant si la fel tema care a fost si va fi subiect a numeroase dezbateri intre cei care ne-am schimbat la un moment dat in viata (unii de mai multe ori) locul de trai si am reinceput vietile pe alte meleaguri, printre alti oameni si in spatii culturale si politice noi, ceea ce ne-a determinat pe multi dintre noi sa reflectam la ceea ce am fost si am devenit, la modul in care schimbarea de tara ne schimba si ne redefineste personalitatile si identitatile. Sunt intrebari pe care si le pun desigur in mod acut artistii si mai ales scriitorii pentru care limba este materia primordiala de exprimare, dar si le pun in general cred eu toti sau majoritatea intelectualilor si a tuturor celor care au trait asemenea schimbari.

 

IMG_1054

 

Dupa introducerile de rigoare cei doi invitati au citit din cartile lor scrise in limba romana. Marturisesc ca citisem foarte putine din poeziile lui Carmen Firan si am ramas impresionat. Este o voce poetica clara, distincta, sensibila, expresiva – iar textele alese de dansa si de moderatoare au fost foarte potrivite temelor. Si proza citita de Adrian Sangeorzan a fost bine selectata si mi s-a parut a reflecta o parte din temele carora le era dedicat evenimentul, dar din opera unui prozator trebuie citit ceva mai mult decat incape in cateva minute pentru a-ti forma o parere articulata. Ocazia de a-i cunoaste pe cei doi scriitori si scrisele lor a fost pentru mine binevenita, banuiesc ca si pentru altii.

Si acum despre ‘masa rotunda’. Nu a fost exact o dezbatere, si cred ca sunt mai multe motive. Unul si poate cel esential este ca intre dilemele identitare ale intelectualului roman care se stabileste in Statele Unite sau in alt loc in Occident si cele ale intelectualului evreu nascut in Romania care se stabileste in Israel sunt foarte mari diferente pe care ori le pui pe masa si le discuti deschis si fara teama de a evita controversele, ori nu le discuti. Poti trece o prapastie daca arunci peste ea o punte, dar nu ignorand-o. Participantii la evenimentul de astazi se cunosc bine si in atmosfera cordiala si politicoasa a salii de la ICR Tel Aviv nu au dorit sa deschida o discutie care risca cu usurinta sa fie abrupta si dureroasa. Singurul moment in care diferentele au fost clar expuse a fost cel in care Vlad Solomon a citit un fragment din ciclul sau de articole ‘Cum am devenit jidan’ care a pozitionat clar problema identitatii israelianului nascut in Romania cu totul in alta parte decat in spatiul problemelor oaspetilor americani. Discutia despre aceste diferente insa, nu a urmat.

 

IMG_1058

 

Am apreciat in cele spuse de toti vorbitorii excluderea cliseelor. Nu s-au pronuntat decat poate accidental cuvintele ‘dezradacinare’, ‘exil’, ‘patrie’, ‘acasa’, si termenul de ‘diaspora’ a fost marginalizat explicit din start. Scriitorii americani au prezentat cu sinceritate si argumente pozitia si simtamintele lor fata de problema identitara, asocierea si atasamentul fata de cultura, literatura, si spatiul lingvistic romanesc ca si obstacolele si contradictiile intalnite in drumurile lor, inclusiv confruntari cu mentalitati si abordari culturale foarte diferite de cele in care majoritatea dintre noi ne-am nascut si format. Aici am gasit multe similaritati in sentimente si problematica ceea ce nu inseamna ca am fost neaparat de acord cu toate afirmatiile facute. Mi s-a parut de exemplu exagerata afirmatia facuta de Carmen Firan despre posibilitatea sau necesitatea salvarii limbii romane de la vulgarizare de catre scriitorii care traiesc in afara granitelor Romaniei. Parerea mea este ca au existat intotdeauna diferente intre limba romana literara si cea vorbita pe strada (in sensul larg al cuvantului ‘strada’) iar limba romana literara nu are nevoie astazi de nicio ‘salvgardare’ din afara – ea evolueaza frumos si solid si o dovedesc sutele de carti de literatura buna publicate anual in Romania, si publicistica din revistele culturale si literare din tara.

A fost lasat timp pentru intrebari din public si eventuale discutii suplimentare, dar acesta nu a fost folosit decat de catre regizorul si directorul de teatru Nico Nitai pentru a multumi participantilor pentru continut si pentru frumoasa limba in care s-a desfasurat evenimentul. Sunt aprecieri si multumiri la care nu pot sa nu ma alatur. La fel nu pot decat sa sper ca filiala din Tel Aviv a ICR va continua cu astfel de initiative, si ca ele vor atrage si un public mai numeros si vor genera si mai multa dezbatere si participare de partea celor din cealalta parte a mesei (rotunde sau nu). Daca tot am vorbit despre identitate si s-a mentionat in discutie (tot de catre oaspetii americani) transmiterea componentei culturale si lingvistice romanesti a identitatii catre generatia urmatoare, cred ca asemenea evenimente nu vor putea fi considerate ca succese pana cand nu va fi prezent si activ in sala public care nu apartine numai primei generatii de emigranti (a noastra) – adica pana cand nu vor fi prezenti si activi aici si cei din generatia copiilor nostri si prietenii lor ‘ne-romani’.

I read that director Chan-wook Park decided to go into movies after seeing Hitchcock’s Vertigo. He grew up into becoming one of the most successful directors of horror movies in the Korean school of cinema and he now pays back his dept with Stoker – his first American film – which would not have made his master blush at all in my opinion.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0661791/

source http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0661791/

 

The story in Stoker has all basic ingredients of the classical horror movies.  We are in a small town and most of the action takes place in an isolated mansion. The father dies and the 18-year daughter has to deal with her personal trauma and with her mother who seems to be eager to forget as soon as possible and to start the next phase of her life. At the funeral the younger uncle shows up, an uncle the girl has never heard about before, who will stay in the house and take back a place left void by the father who disappeared. It sounds like a family drama, and up to a certain point it is, but the signs of incertitude are there from the beginning, as the descent into horror is not at all unexpected. Mother-to-daughter relations and the mix of grief and coming to age have seldom looked so frightening.

 

(video source Fresh Movie Trailers)

 

Acting plays a central role in the way Park builds his story, characters, and the relations between them. Each of the three lead characters can be considered a slight mis-casting, but this is intentional as none of the heroes really feels well into her or his own skin. Nicole Kidman plays another variant of her ‘beautiful mature lady in trouble’ type she specialized in for the last decade, with an extra touch of evil and despair. Matthew Goode is as disquieting as he is handsome. Mia Wasikowska is the one who steals the whole show, and as spectator I spent most of the film wondering who she really is – angel or daemon, victim or predator.

Chan-wook Park brings to this film the techniques and the atmosphere of the Korean thriller, but he transplants these well into an American story. He plays with the symbols of the American horror films tradition, even allowing himself a shower scene which quotes directly from Hitchcock (but Polanski’s influence is also present). I do not know what he exactly plans for the future and there are reasons of concern in my opinion because his genre of films is being under-appreciated by American serious movie goers and his style has an implicit and subtle violence which does not necessarily translate into enough blood on screen for success with the larger audiences. At some point in time he will need to invent something new to keep the interest alive, let us just hope that it will be at least as good as Stoker.

‘Templul de aur’, cartea scriitorului japonez Yukio Mishima re-editata acum de Humanitas fiction in cadrul colectiei Raftul Denisei (traducerea apartine Angelei Hondru) este o carte cunoscuta de multa vreme iubitorilor de literatura din Romania. Acesta editie este cel putin a treia daca este sa ma ghidez dupa informatia de pe Internet, prima fiind aparuta in 1985 in colectia Globus. Pentru mine este prima intrare in lumea acestui scriitor care a fost el insusi un personaj dintre cele mai interesante ale epocii sale, caracter plamadit parca din materia din care sunt alcatuite legendele japoneze si personajele cartilor sale.

‘Cand oamenii se concentreaza asupra ideii de frumos, fara sa-si dea seama macar, ei se confrunta cu cele mai intunecate ganduri ce exista in lume. Asa cred eu ca sunt facute fiintele omenesti.’ (pag. 49)

Pentru cititorul de astazi care alege lectura Templului de aur par vizibile similitudinile intre eroul cartii si scriitor. Obsesia pentru estetic a culturii japoneze pare sa-si fi gasit un exponent extrem in scrierile lui Mishima. Pe de alta parte biografia scriitorului nascut in 1925 este curmata in 1970 de participarea la o tentativa de lovitura de stat al carei scop era restaurarea prerogativelor si a gloriei imperiale, incheiata cu o sinucidere rituala dupa esecul putch-ului. La fel si eroul cartii, un tanar japonez de acelasi leat cu scriitorul, care urmeaza cariera studiilor de preotie budista (folosesc ortografia din carte pentru acest cuvant), este obsedat de frumusete si sfarseste printr-un act de distrugere violenta. Si totusi este vorba doar despre coincidente biografice, sau cel putin asa era situatia in anul 1956 cand a fost publicat romanul. Cartea are la baza un eveniment real care s-a petrecut in anul 1950, cand un tanar invatacel a dat foc unui templu din Kyoto construit inainte de anul 1400 si care rezistase vicisitudinilor istoriei, naturii si ale oamenilor. Bazata pe documentare atenta si pe interviuri cu criminalul insusi cartea lui Mishima este sincrona cu genul cartilor de literatura sau de documentare care incearca sa descifreze mintile si sa gaseasca motivatiilor criminalilor, ale oamenilor de nimic care prin actele lor violente schimba cursul istoriei. Carti despre Lee Harvey Oswald sau Yigal Amir ar putea avea o structura similara.

 

sursa http://www.bookblog.ro/recenzie/mishima-si-templul-de-aur/

sursa http://www.bookblog.ro/recenzie/mishima-si-templul-de-aur/

 

Diferenta este in stil. Templul de aur este o carte profund japoneza, si pentru cititorul mai putin familiarizat cu cultura si traditia Japoniei ea deschide o poarta fascinanta spre o lume cu moduri de gandire si comportament fundamental diferite de cele ale lumii sa-i zicem ‘occidentale’ in care traim. Viata personajului principal pare a incepe sub semnul traditiei (va urma calea preotiei profesate de tatal sau) si a frumusetii – tot tatal sau este cel care ii transmite legenda frumusetii Templului de Aur, cladire si simbol, care se va transforma pentru tanar in realitate, insa o realitate departe de idila modelului.

‘Nu exagerez daca afirm ca prima problema de seama pe care am avut-o de infruntat in viata mea a fost cea a frumusetii. Tatal meu nu era decat un biet preot de tara cu vocabular sarac, dar a fost cel care mi-a atras atentia ca “pe lumea aceasta nu exista nimic mai frumos ca Templul de aur. La gandul ca frumusetea a patruns pe lumea aceasta, straina mie, simteam o oarecare stanjeneala si iritare. Si daca exista frumusete acolo, atunci existenta mea era lipsita de frumusete.’ (pag. 22-23)

In mare parte problemele cu care se confrunta eroul principal al cartii sunt personale. Traume din copilarie lasa urme descrise in termeni freudieni. Copilul si tanarul care devine este balbait si aceasta problema de comunicare cu lumea din jur impreuna cu uratenia fizica reprezinta bariere care il impiedica sa-si exprime pasiunile si nazuintele interioare, sau sa creeze o relatie cu fata pe care o doreste in adolescenta. Sfarsitul tragic al acesteia are ca urmare neputinta eroului de a intra in relatii cu femeile, fie si la nivelul trivial al relatiilor sexuale – si aceasta inhibitie fizica se adauga repertoriului de cauze care duc spre pacat in termeni morali sau religiosi, sau spre criminalitate in termeni legali, cauze ar constitui un frumos si complicat dosar psihanalitic al eroului.

‘Intre fata si mine, intre viata si mine, aparea invariabil Templul de aur, din care cauza ceea ce atingea mana mea pe cand incerca sa prinda se prefacea in cenusa, iar perspectiva in pustiu.’ (pag. 155)

Cauzelor personale li se adauga influenta mediului si a prietenilor, putini, pe care reuseste sa si-i faca eroul. De fapt ei sunt doi la numar, colegi de studentie, si reprezinta poluri opuse, model doctor Jekyll si Mr. Hyde. Figura luminoasa a lui Tsurukawa, prietenul bun si bonom este contrapunctata de cea a lui Kashiwagi, figura intunecata care ii dezvaluie personajului principal alternativa sumbra a frumusetii, si sadeste in el germenii actiunii distrugatoare. Ierarhic si psihologic troneaza peste acest triunghi figura staretului Templului – autoritate spirituala si ghid in viata de zi cu zi al invataceilor, pe care Mishima alege insa sa il prezinte nu ca un personaj idealizat, ci ca o figura complexa, cu dimensiuni si slabiciuni omenesti, cu lumini si umbre.

 

source http://blog.syracuse.com/shelflife/2008/01/writers_born_this_day_215.html

source http://blog.syracuse.com/shelflife/2008/01/writers_born_this_day_215.html

 

Cartea merita sa fie citita insa si sau in primul rand datorita stilului in care este scrisa. Fiecare din cele zece capitole ale cartii abunda in descrieri ale Templului si altor lacasuri similare, ale naturii, relatari istorice, referiri la traditie si obiceiurile religioase. Este un stil bogat si complex, care provoaca la fiecare pagina interesul cititorului pentru o lume pe care parca doar o intrevedem printr-o poarta deschisa peste pragul careia suntem invitati sa pasim si sa o exploram. Desigur, experienta de lectura a unui cititor japonez nascut si educat in aceasta traditie trebuie sa fie foarte diferita. Chiar cand este vorba despre un eveniment istoric de semnificatie cruciala in viata tarii si destinul personajelor referirile sunt tot istoric-traditionale. Staretul va rosti o pilda al carei sens ambiguu este descifrat diferit in momente ulterioare de diferite personaje si punctul de referinta al descrierii sentimentelor povestitorului este din nou Templul:

‘Pierderea razboiului a fost pentru mine o experienta a disperarii. Si acum vad in fata ochilor lumina aceea de vara ca o flacara a zilei infrangerii: 15 august. Se spunea ca toate marile valori s-au prabusit; dar in sinea mea, dimpotriva, s-a desteptat eternitatea, a inviat si-si cerea drepturile. Eternitatea care mi-a spus ca Templul de aur va ramane in veci acolo. Eternitatea care cobora din inalt lipindu-ni-se de obraji, de maini, de stomac si ingrapandu-ne cu totul in cele din urma. Ce lucru blestemat! (pag. 65)

Putem intelege in cele din urma motivatiile eroului cartii? Sunt explicatiile psihologice, cele legate de traditie, sau de mediul social suficiente pentru a da sens unui act de extrema violenta indreptat nu impotriva oamenilor ci a insusi universului lor – caci ce sunt frumusetea si traditia pentru lumea japoneza altceva decat fundamentul sistemului lor de valori? Fiecare cititor va putea da raspunsul dupa citirea cartii. Retin insa propozitia care incheie cartea si care – din nou in perspectiva biografiei autorului – este premonitorie, dar il si delimiteaza pe scriitor de eroul sau (mediocru in cel mai bun caz in conceptia japoneza) care refuza alternativa sinuciderii: ‘Voiam sa traiesc.’

 

The Shakespearean ‘All the world’s a stage’ gets a new meaning with this very interesting and very different film made by the Taviani brother whose actors and heroes are individuals for which the world is  the high security prison where many of them are to spend long years paying for serious crimes. Using theater as a mean of therapy end education happens in some of these prisons, now a film not only dares to make this process known and visible outside the perimeter of the prison, but also tries to make of it a work of art. The Golden Bear at the Film Festival in Berlin is a proof that the Taviani brothers succeeded to convince at least the critics and members of the jury. I get the feeling that the larger public was less convinced – it’s a very interesting piece of cinema, but not one of these that attracts audiences in numbers. This is not entertainment.

 

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_Must_Die

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_Must_Die

 

In one of the introductory scenes we see a screen test. The actors-to-be are asked to introduce themselves in two situations – a ‘soft’ family one, and a second which demands them to feel constrained and express rage. Each of them acts with a mix of sincerity and intensity that much exceeds and compensates their lack of professionalism. This is the key of the film. We have already seen theater in theater (Shakespeare himself is the first and maybe greatest master of the genre) and theater about prisons, and many of these were already brought to screen. What we have never seen before is the mix of situations which makes the walls of the prison disappear for the ephemeral moments  when the words of the ancient drama become the reality of life for the prisoners acting it.

 

(video source Sacher Distribuzione)

 

The film asks many questions which arise after the screening ends. Julius Caesar is a play about values – honor, democracy, freedom. How do the prisoners relate to these? The characters of the play are cruel in modern terms, the plot is also about treason and murder – how do these men who have committed serious crimes relate to these deeds? Some of the most interesting moments in the play (and there are only a few of them) are these in which real life (which for the actors is life in prison) interferes in the scenes of the play. I found the smooth, sometimes unobserved, sliding of life in a 21st century prison into the political drama that took place in the first century BC to be terrifying.

And then we have the ending. The show is over, it ends in applause and ovations. Then the actors get back to what is their ‘home’ – the prison where most of them still have to spend many years. What we do understand is that life cannot go on without such a film changing it. The lives of the special actors in this movie, but to some extent the lives of the spectators as well.

 

 

 

After many years I renewed this season my subscription at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. An announcement received yesterday inspired me for the theme to pick for this Sukkot holiday. A change in program brings in the first concert of the new season the ‘Ouverture on Hebrew Themes’ by Prokofiev. I searched for it, as I did not know it, and then for some of the pieces of music inspired by the Jewish tradition (and by tradition I mean musical tradition as well) and here are a few of the gems I found.

 

(video source Raniero Tazzi)

 

First, here is the piece that triggered my search. Sergei Profofiev’s Ouverture on Hebrew Themes played by the Brodsky Quartet.

 

(video source goturhjem2)

 

I also found a splendid piece by Shostakovich which I did not know – the Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67. Here is it’s story as it appears on the youTube page:

Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67, is remarkable for a number of reasons. It was written in 1944, just after his Symphony No. 8, with which it shares its overall structure; it is a lamentation for both Shostakovich’s close friend, musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky, and the victims of the Holocaust, the news of which horror did not reach the U.S.S.R. until the liberation of the camps began; and it is his first work to employ a “Jewish theme,” a musical tribute that used the scales and rhythms of Jewish folk music as Shostakovich knew it.

The interpretation belongs to the Borodin Quartet.

 

(video source Alexander Rosenblatt)

 

Pianist and composer Alexander Rosenblatt authored a Fantasia on Theme in Jewish Style for two pianos. Here he is playing it together with Oleg Sinkin.

 

(video source Wellesz and Co)

 

In my teens years I had the chance to see Aaron Copland conducting in Bucharest. I now discovered a beautiful piece inspired by the Jewish tradition of Eastern Europe called Vitebsk. This version belongs to the Niew Amsterdam Trio.

 

(video source Gerard Vecordia)

 

To end, here is one of the most famous works belonging to this category – Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish symphony. Bernstein conducts this version with the IPO and Montserrat Caballe.

 

source http://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.co.il/2010_07_01_archive.html

source http://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.co.il/2010_07_01_archive.html

 

(illustration – Sukkah meal. Amsterdam, 1722 by Bernard Picart)

 

I hope that you enjoyed these piece of music at least as much as I did.

Hag Sukkot Sameakh! A Happy Sukkot!

 

 

Cu romanul ‘Purificare’ tradus in peste 40 de tari si rasplatit cu premii literare semnificative si cu versiunile scenice ale cartii jucate pe multe scene ale lumii intre care cea a prestigiosului teatru La MaMa din New York scriitoarea finlandeza Sofi Oksanen a devenit un nume cunoscut pe scena literara internationala a ultimilor ani. Publicarea in Romania de catre Polirom a cartilor sale (inca o carte de a ei isi asteapta randul la lectura si recenzie pe raftul meu) o aduce acum si in atentia amatorilor de literatura buna de la noi. Cartea a aparut in seria Actual a Bibliotecii Polirom, in traducerea careia nu i-am gasit vreun cusur a Adelei Victoria Korshin.

Desi scrisa in finlandeza actiunea cartii se petrece in spatiul Estoniei de unde este originara mama scriitoarei. Stiu foarte putin despre literatura acestei zone a Europei, si chiar si cunostiintele de istorie mai veche sau mai noua ale Estoniei si tarilor pe care le numim ‘baltice’ imi sunt destul de sumare, astfel incat Purificare a fost pentru mine nu numai o simpla lectura literara ci si o sursa de informatii despre istoria estona a mijlocului si sfarsitului de secol 20. O istorie care nu a fost deloc simpla, republicile baltice trecand de la dobandirea independentei dupa primul razboi mondial la aservirea pentru scurt timp Uniunii Sovietice la inceputul celui de-al doilea razboi mondial, o alianta nefasta dar partial justificata de contextul istoric cu Germania nazista in timpul razboiului, ocupatia intai germana si apoi sovietica, si incorporarea in URSS ca ‘Republica Sovietica Socialista’. Intre personajele principale ale cartii gasim doua surori din mediul rural eston care traiesc pe pielea lor tragediile si tranzitiile istoriei. Iata de pilda momenul 1940 descris din perspectiva eroinelor:

‘Ingel a avut dreptate. Au rezistat, tara a rezistat, eliberatorii au sosit. Germanii au marsaluit in tara, alungand fumul caselor arzande de pe cer, incat vazduhul a devenit iar albastru, pamantul, negru, iar norii, albi. Hans a inceput sa se intoarca acasa, si cand acel cosmar s-a terminat a inceput altul. Comunistii s-au pierdut cu firea si cum orice mijloc de transport era oprit, au luat-o la pas sau la fuga …’ (pag. 108)

 

sursa http://librariumbookcorner.wordpress.com/promotiile-noastre/

sursa http://librariumbookcorner.wordpress.com/

 

Actiunea cartii se petrece in doua perioade istorice care sunt povestite in mod intercalat in felul in care au fost traite de personajele principale. Prima sunt anii 1940-1950, anii razboiului, ai ocupatiei germane si sovietice, ai ascensiunii comunismului si a terorii care au urmat. A doua perioada sunt anii 1991-1992 cei imediat de dupa caderea comunismului, care pentru Estonia au insemnat si redobandirea independentei si cautarile de redobandire a identitatii nationale si istorice siluite si deformate de perioada de incorporare in Uniunea Sovietica. Pentru cititorii romani multe dintre situatii par asemanatoare, inclusiv contextul istoric – atat in ceea ce priveste venirea la putere a comunismului, lupta intre nationalismul adanc inradacinat la sate si noua ideologie sustinuta de aparatul de represiune al KGB-ului, dar si perioada de dupa prabusirea sistemului sovietic, cu zbuciumarile, dezorientarea morala, mizeriile economice si dezamagirile ei:

Totul se repeta. Chiar daca rubla se schimbase in coroana si erau mai putine avioane de razboi deasupra capului si nevestele de ofiteri isi coborau vocile, chiar daca difuzoarele din turnul Pitka Hermanni difuzau toata ziua imnuri in cinstea independentei, intotdeauna vor exista bocanci cromati, intotdeauna o sa apara alti bocanci, care semanau sau nu cu aceeaia de pe vremuri, dar care la fel o sa-ti apese gatul. Transeele fusesera astupate, carcasele de obuze din paduri se innegrisera, ascunzatorile secrete se prabusisera, cei cazuti putrezisera, dar anumite lucruri se tot repetau.’  (pag. 260)

 

sursa www.taloussanomat.fi/

sursa www.taloussanomat.fi/

 

Fraza ‘intotdeauna vor exista bocanci cromati’ rezuma concluzia eroinelor cartii in legatura cu repetabilitatea istoriei in acest colt al Europei. Regimurile politice se schimba, ocupantii vin si pleaca, dar represiunea pare a fi componenta esentiala a vietii. Victimele sunt in cele mai multe cazuri femeile, si aici ajungem la a doua tema fundamentala a scrierilor lui Sofi Oksanen – femeile ca victime permanente ale abuzurilor si violentei la scara istorica sau la scara personala. Eroinele cartii apartin unor generatii despartite de inca o generatie si de aproape jumatate de secol de comunism si alienare si chiar o buna parte din primele capitole ale cartii aflam cum ele se intalnesc, se studiaza cu neincredere si chiar cu ostilitate, pentru ca apoi sa se apropie treptat una de cealalta si sa se recunoasca una in cealalta, in trairile comune, in traumele similare traite si repetate dupa multe decenii. Figura lui Aliide, eroina centrala a cartii, care isi traieste iubirile si dezamagirile, pasiunile si tradarile navigand prin meandrele istoriei este memorabila, una dintre cele mai bine trasate figuri de personaje feminine pe care le-am intalnit in lecturile mele din ultima vreme.

Ultima din cele cinci parti ale cartii este scrisa in stil cu totul diferit decat restul. De la marturiile personale se trece la rapoarte seci din dosarele KGB, note informative si denunturi. Daca in primele patru parti am cunoscut perspectiva personala a eroilor, Sofi Oksanen alege sa-si pecetluiasca romanul cu o colectie din acele acte infame care au caracterizat perioada de teroare comunista descrisa in carte. O documentare a tradarii sub semnul careia se afla evolutia peronajelor cartii. Tradarea oamenilor si a istoriei.

There are many ways one can dislike Nine . For example trying to compare it with the films of Frederico Fellini, on whose figure the main character in the movie is based on. Or trying to compare it with Broadway musicals, as the one from the 80s on which the film is based upon. Fellini’s films are unique, and by the time the great Italian director was making 8 1/2 Rob Marshall, the director of Nine was just born. Broadway musicals have their own laws of casting, of staging, of telling the story. The screen adaptation of a musical about the making of a film by Fellini is not a film of Fellini and not a Broadway musical. I liked Nine the movie, and here are my arguments.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0875034/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0875034/

 

Nine is a musical about a film in a film. We are from the start introduced in the atmosphere with an opening song where the theme and the stars of the show are paraded on the kind of music that builds the entertaining score of the show. The sets are the ones in the Cinecita studios where the famous director Guido Contini prepares his next film. It is just that his film is not at all ready as the producer expects. The director’s style of life is as chaotic as his manner of making movies. The personal history is a series of relations with women – from his mother (Sophia Loren, back on the big screens after many years of absence, still glamorous) to his wife, his lover, his inspiring actress, admirers, etc. Can he put all these relations together and make sense of his private life in order to focus on his art? Or maybe he is just destroying himself, and the people around him, especially the women he is involved with? I will just say that the result is entertaining and in my opinion does not make a bad service at all to the image of Fellini.

 

(video source HQTrailers1)

 

I started by listing the reasons one can dislike Nine, but there are many reasons to like it as well. These include the presence on screen of stars like Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Judy Dench. They all look beautiful, they all act, sing, dance and create characters that are distinct and expressive and find their right places in the story. But before all we have Daniel Day-Lewis. Let me say that Day-Lewis is an actor I admire but I do not necessarily love. Well, I may be starting the process of falling for him – as I absolutely adored his performance here. He is passionate, he is troubled, he fights with his past and Catholic upraising, he loves and sins, he is credible. However, my ultimate criteria of liking or disliking a film is whether it succeeds to create emotion. And yes, Nine succeeded to make me care for its heroes, made me remember Fellini and wish to see again his films, and it entertained me. On the IMDB scale it’s a NINE.

By the end of the opening scene of Revanche something falls (maybe it was thrown) in the quite water of a lake. Then we can see the idyllic landscape of a lawn with warm colors like from a Renoir painting being molded. We can guess that all this quietness is apparent, and that it will be troubled soon by violent events. This is what eventually happens, but it happens at its own pace and is told in a clear and distinct voice in this film by Austrian director Gotz Spielmann. An unexpected suspense drama coming from a school of cinema that proves that Michael Haneke is not the only remarkable Austrian director. There is actually something from the Haneke style in this film, with a story where chance may lead to tragedy and with the world of dark secrets hidden under the appearances of quite and banal lives.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1173745/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1173745/

 

Two distinct worlds are presented in Revanche. One is the world of the brothels in Vienna where most of the working girls come from Eastern Europe, a world of sin and violence. The best characters who can populate this world are a couple of lovers (he’s some kind of bodyguard and driver, she is a hooker) who try the coup which would arrange their lives – more like in an American movie with roles like Nicolas Cage used once to play. This world is the back door of the other world, the ‘normal’ Austrian society, with pastoral country-side, devoted policemen who jog and have wives who go to church. When the two worlds meet the collision can be tragic, even if tragedy is caused only by human mistake. The ensuing drama one of these eternal stories of love, death and revenge, but a revenge which is obtained in a very unexpected manner. Eventually the balance is re-established but at a huge price.

 

(video source criterioncollection)

 

There are a lot of surprising turns in this film and I will avoid telling anything about the story in order to leave the pleasure of following it to those who are interested. I will just recommend it for the quality of acting, of cinematography and story telling. It also fits several categories of viewers – people who like dramas and thrillers as well. The film got a nomination for the Academy Awards for the Foreign Language Film, but did not win. Its place among the nominees seems to have been however well deserved.

 

What is surprising for this two and a half hours film depicting the search after Bin Laden, the planning and the execution of the action that killed him is how superficial it is in its approach. It may be that the level of expectations was set too high by the previous film by Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar decorated The Hurt Locker one of the best if not the best film made up to now about the war in Iraq, about the men in uniform involved in it, about the moral and human impact of the war on the people who carry it. Zero Dark Thirty is a very well made film which also proves that making very well a film is not enough for the result to be a piece of great cinema.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1790885/

 

The film follows a decade of mostly covered activity carried by the CIA in tracing Bin Laden and punishing him. The film tells the story of the searches, with the ups and down, the false tracks, the mistakes, the labyrinths of lies and the misunderstandings caused by the cultural differences. Good action, well told, well filmed. It is just that we are expecting to see something else – because it is a film by Bigelow, because in a film about tracing and punishing Bin Laden we should learn something that we do not know from the stories in the press about tracing and punishing Bin Laden.

 

(video source SonyPictures)

 

It may be that the intention of the director was to provide the human interest by pointing to the character of the principal hero – the determined and fearless CIA agent played by Jessica Chastain. Too little, too schematic, I am afraid. Who is agent Maya? What makes her so obsessed with her mission? Where did she learn to fight and win her way in a world and a profession of males? There are a few moments where we are hinted to moral questions about the methods of interrogation, or when the agent mask trembles for a moment leaving room to human feelings, but none of these elements of ‘softness’ are pursued. All we are left is a character that despite spending two and a half hours on the big screen in front of us and despite good acting does not let us know more about her soul than a routine TV detective hero. Oh, yes – and the memory of a scene of confrontation with James Gandolfini (in the role of the Director of the CIA) little time before the great good-bye of the actor.

Much less than expected.