Archive for October, 2014

When Tim Burton and Johnny Depp come together one already knows what to expect. Dark Shadows is the 8th film directed by Burton with Depp in the cast, the first one being Edward Scissorhands from 1990, maybe the most famous of all. We already know that a fantastic and strange world of weird beauty and ugliness will be created on screen. We know that it will be scary but that we need not take it more serious than necessary because we are now adults and fairy tales do not scare us any longer (do they?). We also know that Depp will again be hard to recognize, but will be himself as well, another entry in a series of fantastic characters that we – who love the actor – wish will last for as long as possible.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077368/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077368/

 

‘Dark Shadows’ is inspired by a TV show which gained cult status in the late 60s and early 70s which I have never seen or heard about before. It starts as a Gothic witches and vampires story in the 18th century to continue as a back-from-grave witches and vampire comical action in the contemporaneity of the TV show. Tim Burton and his script writers chose the path of creating from the perspective of 2012 a retro-actual comedy combined with situation gags about the culture, revolts and music of the 70s including a cameo appearance of Alice Cooper. These are actually some of the funniest moments in the film, as the rest of the story is pretty conventional and does not exceed the level of a mediocre comics-inspired intrigue.

 

(video source Fresh Movie Trailers)

 

Acting-wise we have of course Depp, as pale and as weird as ever. Besides Depp the film is blessed with exquisite cast including Michelle Pfeiffer which unfortunately seems lately to fade away from important roles, Eva Green which has a love scene like you never saw on screens before with Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter which I wish had spent more time on screen. And yet, despite moments of fun and splendid visuals that only the imagination of Burton can create, something is missing in the script. I did not see the TV show, and yet I had a very strong feeling of deja vu which could not be completely balanced by acting and spectacular visuals. A movie relying only or mostly on visual effects, as perfect as they may be, risks to feel like unfinished.

I am following quite closely the development of the Romanian cinema, and Corneliu Porumboiu is one of the directors whose previous work I enjoyed a lot, especially ’12:08 East of Bucharest’ which was a story about the 1989 events of the fall of the Communism in a small town of Romania, placed under doubt both from a political as well as personal memory perspective. I confess however that I was deeply disappointed by this 2013 film which seems to me to be a dry and didactic exercise in method taken to the extreme where all substance and action become largely irrelevant. The result is simply boring, and the reaction of the audience at the Haifa Festival was a mix of incredulity, sarcasm and revolt with the daring one leaving the screening hall before the end and getting back good minutes of their lives.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3102906/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3102906/

 

 ’When Evening Falls on Bucharest’ tries to tell the story of a delayed day in the making of a film that does not tell anything important. The director (Bogdan Dumitrache) endlessly rehearses a nude screen with the lead actress (Diana Avramut) who ‘happens’ to be his lover. The scene is meaningless, but the director tries to get some sense of it. Almost the same as the envelope of this film which contains meaningless dialogs about the beauty and ugliness of the human body, the cinema of Michelangelo Antonioni or Chinese food. The lives of the characters are empty, their actions are incomprehensible (why does the director go through the pain of simulating an endoscopy in order to postpone a filming day? we never know), and the result is boring.

 

(video source Independenta Film)

 

I know where this is coming from. Much of the success of Romanian cinema in the last decade was due to using a minimalist approach in describing the day-to-day lives of people during the Communist rule, or the transition period that followed. The method fit well the stories, because it is good to speak on low tone about situations that otherwise would generate revolt in the hearts of the viewers. The human dimensions of the characters of those films are much emphasized by the method.  In ‘When Evening Falls on Buchares’ acting is very much according to the method, but the characters are empty, there is no human dimension to emphasize. There is only one good idea in the whole script, one scene in which the scene in the film is mirrored in reality, with the roles of the man and woman switched over. Reality is more efficient than the best directing. The rest is flat. If the director meant to say something smart about the relationship between director and actor, or pass some social message about the emptiness of life in today’s Romania, it all got buried in the huge boredom that this film creates which to some viewers may cause even anger. Talking about Antonioni is even less than an Antonioni quote. The characters of Antiononi exercised existential spleen because they first of all existed. Porumboiu’s characters in this film do not even exist.

 

 

The Judge is a rather classical combination of family drama and court drama, enjoying a couple of fine actors in lead roles that will land them some place in or close to the area of the Academy Awards candidacies. It’s solid but rather conventional cinematography, and as I understand the first output of a new production enterprise where Robert Downey Jr. is placing some of the money earned by the best-paid actor in Hollywood today. As a capitalist Mr. Downey Jr. seems to like conservative, low risk investment.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1872194/?ref_=nv_sr_1

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1872194/?ref_=nv_sr_1

 

Hank Palmer (Downey) is a successful and filthy lawyer who helps people rich enough to pay him to get away in the American courts of law even if they are obviously guilty. When his mother dies he returns for what should be a one or two days unwanted family reunion in the mid-west city of birth too small for his ambitions. As much as he dislikes the trip he is also rather disliked by a quite non-functional family run by a tyrannical father (Robert Duvall) who is also the judge practically running the place, a man admired by half of the town (the good one?) and hated by the other half (the bad one?). When his father is accused of murder Hank will find himself defending him for once with truth and justice as goals, while all the past he was running of for the last two decades risks to overwhelm him.

 

(video source MOVIECLIPS Trailers)

 

The relation between father and son is enhanced by the intense acting of Downey Jr. and Duvall which may both compete for the Academy Awards a few months from now. Director David Dobkin seems to have previously dealt with comedies only, The Judge being his first exploration of a ‘serious’ thematic. He make a few mistakes on the road – the film is too long, and the treatment of the subject too heavy and conventional to my taste. It’s not bad cinema, it is just so expected. I hope that better contenders will show up on the road to the Awards between now and February 22, 2015, the date of the ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, LA.

Quentin Tarantino or the Coen brothers would have loved to make this film. It is  filled with characters from their world, transplanted in the hellish cold landscape of Scandinavia. If I am to compare it with experiences that are familiar to the ‘mainstream’ cinema viewers ‘In Order of Disappearance’ is a combination between the world of Tarantino, with his little-brained gangsters immersed in their own sub-cultured world transported in the landscape of ‘Fargo’ the original with its endless landscapes of snow and the cold that crosses the screen to almost freeze the cheeks of the viewers in the cinema theater.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2675914/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2675914/

 

As in many other gangster stories tragedy hits by hazard a regular family whose son is killed by mistake for being at the wrong place and time which intersects with a drug trafficking scheme. When the police takes the easy path of declaring the incident an accidental overdose case, the father decides to follow the path of the killers and to take revenge. The fact that he is driving a huge snow-plow will play an important role in what follows, and this is where director Hans Peter Molland seems to make another respectful bow to one of the earlier movies of Spielberg, where a huge truck is chasing a man on deserted roads. The temperature is different here.

 

(video source Film Festivals and Indie Films)

 

I mentioned a number of possible quotes, and they may be real or just reflect my own cinematographic associations. Actually this is a very original and well made film, with an exquisite cinematography based on the contrast of snow and darkness, with a Scandinavian atmosphere and a very Scandinavian hero (superb acting from ) with all the sadness of a grieving father and the resolution of making justice, even when left left with no choice.  On the way the film also makes a few painful comments about the state of things in the Scandinavian society, the relation with the immigrants, the culture, the prejudices and the lack of empathy to the fellow human. It is populated with a full world of tragicomic characters, and it is fun to watch. Go and find it!

 

Notele de calatorie si fotografiile facute de Erica in calatoria sa in Rajasthan, India in 2013 stau de foarte multa vreme in fisierele mele. Acum Erica se afla in Japonia, si dorinta de a ne impartasi si impresii de calatorie din aceasta recenta aventura a sa m-a mobilizat sa platesc aceasta veche datorie, si sa editez textul si sa includ fotografiile ei. Ii multumesc pentru impartasire si astept cu placere materialele urmatoare pentru a le pune la dispozitia cititorilor blogului. 

———————–

E a doua calatorie a mea in India. Prima a fost in India de Sud, adica incepand din Chennay pana la varful de sud al subcontinentului coborand dealungul marii de-a lungul golfului Bengal si apoi urcand spre Nord dealungul marii Arabiei. Am inceput cu sudul fiindca mi s-a spus ca e mai putina mizerie si cred ca a fost o alegere buna pentru o prima excursie nu in grup organizat. Impresii din excursia asta sunt.

De data asta am ales Rajasthanul  nu numai pentru palatele extravagante si fortaretele si templele unice.  E un rai pentru turistii non-back packer care se pot simti ca un maharaja (rege sau print cel putin) cand innopteaza  intr-un heritage hotel.   Si ce este deosebit e faptul ca orasele principale ale acestei regiuni sunt extrem de diferite intre ele: Jaipur e orasul roz, culoarea predominanta a fatadelor si a palatelor, Jodhpur e bleu, Jaisalmer, situat  la marginea desertului e orasul de aur construit din pietre de nisip iar Udaipur situat  la malul unui lac fotogenic  este ceva cu totul neasteptat.

Farmecul estetic al fortaretelor si al palatelor pe care le-am vizitat se datoreste in buna parte si influentei artei musulmane (din anul 1200 Rajasthan, ca si alte   parti din India de nord au fost sub stapanire musulmana iar din secolul 16 au facut parte din imperiul Mogul) .

Ca in alte povestiri de excursii nu voi face un jurnal pe zile, ci voi impartasi impresii care mi-au ramas.

 

Diwali in New Delhi

Diwali in New Delhi

 

Shop in Delhi-1

Shop in Delhi

 

New Delhi.  Am picat  in orasul asta in ajunul festivalului Diwali-festivalul luminilor si dulciurilor. Cerul era luminat de focuri de artificii iar vitrinele erau decorate si dulciurile se vindeau peste tot.  M-am plimbat singura prin oras timp de doua zile pana ce  m-am intalnit cu grupul de australieni/englezi/neo-zeelandezi cu care am pornit la drum.

 

The metro in Delhi

The metro in Delhi

 

Un detaliu foarte interesant din Delhi: metroul e nou, curat cu statii moderne. Insa, exista vagoane separate pentru femei si pentru barbati. Si cuplurile se despart cand intra in metro. Nu stiu de cand e legea asta, dar nu ma mira in urma cazurilor cumplite de viol.

 

Estetica palatelor si a fortaretelor, murdaria de jur imprejur

 

Agra fort 1

Agra fort

 

Agra fort 2

Agra fort

 

Am inceput cu fortareata din Agra in care a stat sultanul din Delhi incepand din 1488, dar ce se vede astazi a fost renovat in 1558.  A nu se confunda cu cunoscuta cladire a Taj Mahalului, uimitoare  prin proportiile ei perfecte, care e de fapt un mausoleu construit pentru sotia defuncta a imparatului Shah Jahan in 1653.

 

Jaipur fort 4

Jaipur fort

Jaipur fort 3

Jaipur fort

Jaipur fort 2

Jaipur fort

Jaipur fort 1

Jaipur fort

 

La Jaipur, fortareata  Amber (1592)  a fost si mai uimitoare.

 

Mandawa painted house

Mandawa painted house

Mandawa painted house

Mandawa painted house

 

Dar nu numai fortaretele sunt exemple de estetica si maestrie. Un orasel intreg , Mandawa, e plin de case decorate , una mai frumoasa ca alta.

 

 

Mandawa town

Mandawa town

Mandawa town

Mandawa town

 

Dar in acelas orasel, in fiecare colt sunt resturi de material care au ramas dupa constructii si mormane de gunoi cam peste tot.

 

Milk distribution Jaisalmer

Milk distribution Jaisalmer

 

As vrea sa adaug aici si contradictia intre tehnologia apparent foarte dezvoltata – computer si wi-fi peste tot, dar laptele tot in bidoane se aduce, cu motocicleta insa.

 

Indienii si animalele

 

In Jaisalmer

In Jaisalmer

In Jaisalmer

In Jaisalmer

 

E un fapt bine stiut ca la indieni vacile sunt un animal sfant. Dar pana ce nu vii in India nu-ti poti inchipui in ce masura. Vacile se plimba pe strada, pe trotuare sau in mijlocul strazii, in grupuri sau singure,  la fel ca oamenii si masinile. I-am intrebat pe indieni dece se plimba prin oras si am primit doua informatii: 1. Ele se plimba ziua si seara se intorc in curti sa doarma pe langa stapanii lor si 2. Cand ele dau lapte au stapani, dar cand nu, ele pleaca in lume. In orice caz, cu sau fara stapani, ele mananca din gunoiul care e aruncat peste tot. Si cand vor sa doarma se intind pe o insulita de circulatie. Masinile nu par sa le deranjeze. Vedeti fotografiile.

Am incercat sa inteleg semnificatia vacilor in reiigia hinduista, fiinca  vaca e respectata ca un animal sacru. Dar dece? Vaca nu este de fapt o deitate. Acest animal a devenit important pentru indieni cam 1000 de ani BCE ca simbol al bogatiei. In afara de asta, vacile reprezinta sacrificiul fiindca untul topit (ghee) produs din lapte este o componenta principala la oficierea sacrificiilor. Deci, vacile fiind socotite ca darul D-zeilor omenirii , vanzarea si consumarea carnii de vaca este interzisa prin lege. Dar nu numai consumul carnii de vaca este interzis. Un numar de religii originare din India (Jainismul, Hinduismul si Buddhismul ) preconizeaza vegetarianismul in general in mod mai mult sau mai putin riguros si am fost din nou uimita cate restaurante in care vin si turisti sunt restaurant strict vegetariene

Ati stiut oare ca nu numai vacile sunt socotite animale sfinte, exista si …sobolani sfinti??

 

Rat temple

Rat temple

Rat temple

Rat temple

Rat temple line

Rat temple line

 

Da, in cadrul acestei excursii in Rajasthan am vizitat si Templul Sobolanilor de langa Bikaner. In fotografii vedeti si coada oamenilor care se pregatesc sa intre in templu, unii deja cu batiste la nas, dar toti localnicii cu daruri pentru sobolani, si eroii templului, sobolanii in actiune.  In templul pe care l-am vizitat traiesc vreo 20.000 de sobolani negri si nu este singurul templu de acest fel din India. De unde provine sfintenia sobolanilor?

O legenda spune ca unul din eroii mitologiei indiene a fost salvat de la inec cu conditia ca toti copiii lui de sex barbatesc sa fie reincarnati in sobolani. O alta legenda spune ca o armata de 20.000 de soldati a dezertat de la o lupta si ar fi trebuit sa fie pedepsiti pentru dezertare. Karni Mata, o inteleapta hinduita, reincarnata in zeita Durga, a decis sa-i ierte dar i-a prefacut in sobolani si le-a oferit templul ca adapost. Acesti 20.000 de sobolani sunt venerati de indieni; este o mare onoare sa mananci din mancarea gustata si de sobolani…

Personal nu recomand aceasta vizita amicilor mei care care au de gand sa viziteze Rajasthanul……

 

Dormi ca un maharaja

 

Hotel room in Udaipur

Hotel room in Udaipur

 Entrance to Maharaja residence Jaisalmer

Entrance to Maharaja residence Jaisalmer

Resort hotel in Mandawa

Resort hotel in Mandawa

 

Exista o serie de hoteluri in palate sau foste resedinte ale maharajilor. Nu intotdeauna totul functioneaza perfect, dar impresia camerei, a salilor de primire si a restaurantului este ca in 1001 de nopti.

 

India, un paradis al amatorilor de shopping

 

Road to the temple in Jaisalmer

Road to the temple in Jaisalmer

Road to the temple in Jaisalmer

Road to the temple in Jaisalmer

 

Nu numai palatele si templele sunt dovezi de un gust deosebit. Si obiectele de zi de zi, mai ales textilele, bijuteriile sunt deosebite. Si dat fiindca populatia e saraca, aceste “cadouri” usor de carat sunt ieftine si de gasit peste tot. Cui ii place sa se tocmeasca  poate ajunge la preturi derizorii.

Eu am cumparat:

 

Cushions

Cushions

 

1 Fete de perne decorative

 

Shawls

Shawls

Pashmina and shawl

Pashmina and shawl

 

2. Saluri si pashmina

 

bedspread

bedspread

Bedspread

Bedspread

Bedspread

Bedspread

 

3 Cuverturi de pat

 

Carpet

Carpet

 

4. Un covoras de bumbac

 

 

‘… ii vad inhamati impreuna, pe viata, la carul totdeauna incarcat peste masura cu carti. Intorcind pe-o parte si pe alta terfeloage legate in piele de porc, stivuind foliante, luind urma unor mituri, legende, manuscrise pierdute – si asta inca de la Marburg, din vremea studentiei, iar mai apoi si prin alte locuri, oriunde s-ar putea depozita lucruri uitate. Niste romantici in drum spre Biedermeier, prefirind – impatimiti de limba – vorbe, numarind silabe, interogind limba asupra originilor ei, degustind pe cerul gurii mutatii consonantice, dind la iveala ambiguitati ascunse, retrezind la viata cu un sarut cele adormite, scuturind praful de pe venerabile monumente ale limbii, iar mai apoi, tot iscodind cuvinte, ajungind sa poarte de grija fiecarei litere si, mai cu seama cu migala deosebita, vocalelor de la inceput de cuvint.’  (pag. 9-10)

Eroii descrisi in acest pasaj sunt fratii Jacob si Wilhelm Grimm, pe care cei care traim in afara culturii germane ii cunoastem ca autori ai culegerii de basme care ne-a fermecat si inspaimantat copilariile. In lumea germana insa cei doi frati sunt si figuri dominante in formarea si consolidarea limbii germane, fiind autorii primelor volume ale monumentalului ‘Dictionar al limbii germane’, lucrare continuata, completata si sfarsita doar un secol mai tarziu, dar a carui insasi existenta si evolutie a marcat profund cultura si istoria Germaniei aflata in devenire in timpul vietilor lor. Ei sunt si eroii alesi de Gunter Grass ca pretext si structura de rezistenta pentru volumul final (poate) al memoriilor sale, un ciclu nu lipsit el insusi de controverse, la fel ca si autorul. Cartea a aparut in 2013 in colectia Biblioteca POLIROM, in traducerea lui Alexandru Al. Sahighian.

As vrea aici sa ma opresc pentru a mentiona in mod deosebit traducerea si traducatorul. ‘Cuvintele fratilor Grimm’ este o carte scrisa in limba germana despre un dictionar al limbii germane si autorii sai. Structura sa urmareste structura dictionarului, primele capitole au ca eroi primele litere ale alfabetului, cele patru articole corespunzand capitolelor A,B,C,D – cele pe care fratii Grimm le-au vazut aparute in timpul cand au trait. Limba germana devine ea insasi un personaj central al cartii, impreuna cu Jacob si Wilhelm Grimm si cu autorul insusi, cuvintele devin eroii si materia din care este plamaduit fiecare capitol. O asemenea carte pare aproape imposibil de tradus, dar atunci cand aproape imposibilul devine realitate ca in acest caz, rezultatul apartine aproape in egala masura autorului si traducatorului. Alexandru Al. Sahighian a tradus ‘Cuvintele fratilor Grimm’ in asa maniera incat aproape imi vine sa ma intorc pe bancile Universitatii Populare si sa reiau lectiile de limba germana intrerupte de peste trei decenii, o carte care ma face nu numai sa doresc sa cunosc dar sa si iubesc o limba pe care nu am iubit-o niciodata, ba chiar as avea ceva motive istorice si personale sa o detest.

 

sursa http://www.elefant.ro/carti/carti-premiate-nobel-pulitzer-booker-s-a/nobel/iixixix-gunter-grass/cuvintele-fratilor-grimm-216538.html

sursa http://www.elefant.ro/carti/carti-premiate-nobel-pulitzer-booker-s-a/nobel/iixixix-gunter-grass/cuvintele-fratilor-grimm-216538.html

 

Obstacolele in calea acestei intreprinderi nu au fost putine. Unul dintre ele, vizibil mai ales in prima parte a cartii este legat de gasirea echivalentelor in limba romana a arhaismelor germane pe care fratii Grimm le-au dezgropat si cercetat, le-au explicat si uneori le-au readus in circuitul limbii germane. In multe cazuri Alexandru Al. Sahighian a facut o cercerare si explorare similara in romana veche, redescoperind multe cuvinte pentru care cititorul contemporan ar avea el insusi nevoie de un dictionar. Cu mana pe inima, cate dintre cuvintele urmatoare va sunt familiare: abagiu, azbuche, biriiecii, basbuzuca besleaga, casub, etc.

In fiecare dintre capitolele dedicate literelor Grass creeaza variatii poetic-muzicale in jurul literei respective din alfabet. Iata de pilda poemul in F:

‘facerea de rau, felonia, fetisuri in loc de Dumnezeu ori problema deseurilor ori a incalzirii globale, fir-ar ele sa fie – fiecare din ele-i ca funia in casa spinzuratului!

Despre falsitate si fraude la politicieni

doar farfaralele de ziaristi fac mare caz – ei, si?

In biserica si in instanta nu se fluiera,

Iar rufele sa spala in familie!

Pilat se tot frasuia fara rost, fiindu-i cam frica sa decida si vrand sa se fofileze, dar fariseii, fierbind de furie, i-au fortat mina, la care el a zis: “Fie si pe-a voastra!” (pag. 223)

Literele limbii germane au si ele personalitatea lor, si descrierea acestei personalitati da caracterul si unitatea tematica a fiecarui capitol al cartii. A este legat de introducere si de legatura cu trecutul, B de comunicare (Brief = scrisoare), rotunjitul C se afla in permanent conflict cu militaristul K dominant in germana, D caruia i-a dedicat o mare parte din viata si activitate mai tanarul Wilhelm incepe cu degetelul lui Tom pentru a ajunge la notiuni fundamentale ca Democratie sau Deutsch (German – limba, popor), etc. Amestecul intre romana (cat se poate echivala) si germana este aproape perfect omogen in traducere, tranzitiile sunt line, cartea este fara indoiala scrisa intr-o romaneasca aleasa, dar pastreaza logica si aderenta la substratul germanic.

Din lectura cartii ramanem cu o imagine bine conturata a personalitatii fratilor Grimm si a locului lor in epoca. ‘Cuvintele fratilor Grimm’ este si o meditatie despre rolul intelectualilor si impactul pe care acestia il pot avea in vremurile in care traiesc si in posteritate. Concluzia este aproape tezista. Iacob si Wilhelm Grimm nu au fost revolutionari care sa iasa in strada, au fost liberali insa au preferat si proferat moderatia, si in anumite momente ale biografiilor lor au fost mai aproape de linia conservatoare decat de cea revolutionara. Cele doua celebre luari de pozitie publica – refuzul de a schimba sau reafirma juramantul de credinta depus fata de regele Hanovrei, care i-a costat posturile universitare si i-a dus in exil in 1837, si participarea lui Jacob ca membru al Adunari Nationale la Frankfurt in revolutionarul an 1848 – au fost actiuni chibzuite si dictate de aderenta la principii fundamentale. Contributia lor hotaritoare in cristalizarea identitatii nationale germane care are ca rezultat dupa sfarsitul vietilor lor formarea primului stat unitar german a fost in scrisele lor – in colectiile de basme, folclor si mitologie si mai ales in punerea bazelor si publicarea primelor capitole ale dictionarului.

Fermecatoare este si relatia dintre autor si eroii sai. In imaginatia sa Gunter Grass se include precum o faceau vechii maestrii in opera, devine un personaj al cartii, ii spioneaza pe cei doi frati in bibliotecile si camerele de studiu, le asculta convorbirile, ii urmareste in plimbarile lor in Tiergarten in Berlin. Gradina din centrul Berlinului devine in a doua parte a vietii celor doi scriitori si a doua parte a cartii un spatiu pe care il cunoastem din ce in ce mai bine, spatiu de plimbari, explorari si intalniri reale si imaginare. Grass incearca sa intre in vorba cu cei doi, sa le povesteasca despre ce s-a mai intamplat dupa disparitie lor fizica, sa ii intrebe un amanunt sau altul, ba chiar sa le faca vreo observatie impertinenta, dar de cele mai multe ori cei doi – oare dece? – il ignora.

 

sursa http://www.bookandborrow.com/AuthorDetails.asp?autID=1014

sursa http://www.bookandborrow.com/AuthorDetails.asp?autID=1014

 

De aici ajungem la relatia dintre biografia fratilor Grimm si (auto)-briografia lui Grass. Caci ‘Cuvintele fratilor Grimm’ nu este numai o carte biografica despre doi titani ai limbii si culturii germane, si nu numai un fermecator eseu si poema de dragoste fata de limba germana, ci si un volum de memorii, in care Grass foloseste si extinde jocurile lingvistice si amanuntele biografiei lui Jacob si Wilhelm Grimm pentru a se prezenta si explica pe el insusi. Senzatia cu care am ramas din lectura a fost cea de colaj si de inconsistenta. Cand se ocupa de fratii Grimm, Gunter Grass explora. Cand se ocupa de el insusi se auto-explica. Exemplul cel mai bun este pasajul in care aduce vorba despre episodul inrolarii, la 17 ani, in SS. Pornind de la refuzul principial al fratilor Grimm de a depune un al doilea juramant fata de regele Hanovrei, juramant care l-ar fi anulat in ochilor pe primul, depus in fata unui rege mai liberal, Grass aduce in discutie episodul:

‘Imi vine aici in minte incercarea mea de a a-mi aduce aminte in timp ce “descojeam ceapa”: ceea ce ramine si nu poate fi relatat decit sovaitor.

S-a intimplat intr-un luminis de padure iernatic inghetat. Aveam sapteseprezece ani atunci cind, asezati in careu sub un cer de noapte de-o limpezime geroasas, ne-au pus sa juram pe fuhrer, patrie si popor, precum si pe reichsfuhrerul Waffen-SS. Am rostit una dupa alta propozitie: “Jur” Eram cu totii patrunsi, si eu, de solemnitatea clipei. Dupa depunerea juramintului am inceput sa cintam: “Chiar de-ar ajunge toti sperjuri, noi tot loiali vom fi… ”

N-a mai fost cazul. Sfirsitul razboiului m-a eliberat de obedienta oarba ce-o jurasem, fara sa devin totusi pe data vazator si sa pricep ce crime enorme poate tainui un juramint rostit intr-o nopate geroasa. N-as mai depune nici un juramint in veci.’  (pag. 76-77)

Acest exercitiu concis si maestru de auto-purificare este un exercitiu ratat. Pentru mine problema lui Gunther Grass nu este juramantul rostit intr-o noapte geroasa de baiatul de 17 ani abia iesit sau poate ne-iesit din adolescenta fata de o forta a raului aproape absolut (Grass sustine ca a fost recrutat fara voia lui in SS). Problema este presupusa amnezie publica care vreme de mai mult de jumatate de secol i-a permis sa ascunda acest detaliu si sa se prezinte in fata publicului german si international ca o constiinta a noii Germanii. Aceasta perspectiva arunca semne de intrebare asupra episoadelor biografice – altfel interesante – relatate de Grass in carte, cum ar fi asocierea cu Willy Brandt si Partidul Social-Democrat, a criticilor politice aduse globalizarii, cenzurii, sau conformismului intelectual, sau a judecatilor din perspectiva istorica despre soarta celor doua Germanii, in care din nou sunt combinate experienta personala cu judecatile unei persoane cu o constiinta nu tocmai ne-intinata:

‘ Lectie cu lectie cuvantul “democratie”, cu regulile lui de comportament, a trebuit sa-mi fie bagat in cap si mie, baiatului de saptesprezece ani pe care razboiul si opiniile dictate il prostisera … Si asa, ca elevi-model ai patronilor invingatori, au trait germanii patruzeci de ani unii impotriva celorlalti. Considerandu-se, de fiecare parte, a fi democratii mai buni.’ (pag. 177)

Elocinta si talentul sunt prezente fara niciun dubiu. Metafora Germaniei postbelice ca o Frumoasa Adormita trezita din somnul  adanc de un secol al experientelor totalitare este splendida. Liantul moral al edificiului este insa indoielnic.

Capitolele finale se ocupa de literele la care Jacob si Wilhelm nu au ajuns niciodata, de evenimentele care avut loc in cei aproape o suta de ani de la plecarea celor doi frati dintre cei vii si de terminarea dictionarului. Sunt timpurile in care editorii si continuatorii (unii controversati ca antisemitul Weigand) ai celor doi frati au preluat stafeta, regimurile politice s-au succedat intr-o goana accelerata, alternand imperii si republici, democratii sovaielnice si dictaturi barbare, pentru a finaliza lucrarea ca pe un rar exemplu de cooperare intre intelectualii si institutiile Germaniilor divizate. Ca orice lucrare de acest fel si ‘Dictionarul limbii germane’ inceput de fratii Grimm se sfarseste cu litera Z, litera care in limba germana se afla si la inceputul substantivului Zeit = Timp. Ultimul capitol al cartii se ocupa si de acest substantiv. Timpul este cel care poate va da perspectiva si care va permite sa-l plasam pe Gunter Grass mai bine decat o putem face noi azi in contextul perioadei in care a trait. Detasarea dintre opera si om este dificila pentru multi in acest moment, si poate este inutil sa o incercam acum. Pana atunci insa cred ca nu trebuie sa ne refuzam placerea intelectuala de a citi cartile unuia dintre scriitorii importanti ai vremii. ‘Cuvintele fratilor Grimm’ face parte cred dintre cartile bune ale scriitorului, fiind in partile sale cele mai bune o lectura pasionanta, un omagiu respectuos al partilor luminoase ale culturii si limbii germane, fara a le ascunde si a eluda tenebrele.

 

 

 

 

Films about film making, about famous actors and directors were very much en vogue a few years ago, and “My Week with Marilyn” belongs to this wave. About that time two (good) movies about the master of suspense were made, one came from Hollywood – Hitchcock -, the other from the BBC – The Girl. ‘My Week with Marilyn’ combines The Forces,being a coproduction of Hollywood (Weinstein) and BBC, about another Anglo-American film making experience. This time it’s not about a great English director getting to the peak of fame on the shores of the Pacific, but about the ultimate American star and sex symbol, Marylin Monroe landing in 1957 the UK to make ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’.  That was from a certain point of view a stellar encounter of the third degree, between the comet of Hollywood and the star of the English stage and screen Laurence Olivier. On the sides it was also the story of the encounter of a young ‘third’ (number is important) studios assistant with the woman of any man’s dream in the epoch. Colin Clark was the name of the character, he wrote a book of memories about the experience, and the film extends the subject to a romantic story – carrying into the film the ups and downs of adaptations of memoirs or ‘true stories’.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655420/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655420/

 

The question one asks himself when seeing this film is ‘was Marilyn Monroe really the awful actress that is described here?’ I probably need to watch the 1957 film (it is available for free on the Internet) to have an answer. The closing text run on screen before credits tells us that the next film of Marilyn was to be ‘Some Like It Hot’ – the most famous film she ever made. Maybe the problem was her uprooting from Hollywood to the British Pinewood studios? ‘My Week with Marilyn’ does not explore this track. Was she also the terribly insecure and unhappy human being that is described here, too beautiful to be ever loved for anything but her physical appearance? This seems more plausible, especially because we know the end of her life. Did she really get comfort and moral support in the relation with a young and anonymous assistant, one of the tens of figures in the shadows in any film production, as the script claims? Were there ever buddies of a love story in this relation? Probably only in the mind of the memoirs writer, but who really cares? The character played by Eddie Redmayne is so unconvincing that I was wondering if his lack of charisma was the result of masterful acting or directing or of lack of talent and … well .. charisma.

 

(video source BTSmovies)

 

With quite a thin story, and with a BBC style of directing that avoids too thick an intervention in the story telling, much of the film relies on acting and actors. Talking about acting let me start with the supporting roles. The list is really impressive, having on-screen Judy Dench or Emma Watson is a pleasure, although for each of them I have wished the roles were more consistent. If anybody was concerned that Kenneth Branagh will approach the role of Olivier with too much deference to make it real, he can rest quite – Branach constructs a real life Olivier, infuriated by the lack of talent and professional ethics of the American star, but also a middle aged man fascinated by the beauty and by the romance of the superb blonde with the camera. In the lead role Michelle Williams creates a Marilyn that risks to replace the real Monroe in the minds of those who see this film. Her Academy Awards nomination was highly deserved.

It’s one of those films made with love for cinema, one of the cases when superb acting overcomes the lack of consistency of the story that is being brought to screen.

The holiday of Sukkot arrived, with it the first (kind of) rain over the Land of Israel, and here is my traditional holidays posting.

Jews are considered, right or wrong, quite a musical people. I have dealt in past postings with different aspects of Jewish music and musicians, from the traditional instruments and traditional music played at the Jewish holidays to the contemporary Israeli music. Let me introduce you today to another subject, which is ‘Jewish rockers’ or ….

 

    source http://urbanmilwaukeedial.com/2014/05/12/arts-roundup-jews-who-rock-and-role-model/

source http://urbanmilwaukeedial.com/2014/05/12/arts-roundup-jews-who-rock-and-role-model/

 

… in the words of the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee ‘Jews Who Rock’ which was the name of an exhibition organized at the museum this year. Jews are (they say, as they do not know me) talented musicians. They also tend to rebel and join and some even lead protest or even revolutionary movements. So it is only natural to find Jews among the rockers. We all know the big names, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Barbra Streisand, solo singers who are Jewish, or were born Jewish, or are of Jewish descent. Now I will deal with Jewish musicians who were or are playing of rock bands. You may know some of them, and you may discover some.

 

 

 

(video source Sammy04)

Gene Simmons  is one of the several Jewish musicians in Kiss, the American hard rock band formed in 1973 and still active. He was born in 1949 in Haifa, Israel as Chaim Witz, the son of Holocaust survivors. Here he is in a memorable bass solo.

 

Original rhythm guitarist and vocalist for Kiss, Paul Stanley was born Stanley Harvey Eisen in 1952. He told Tom Snyder in 1979 that when growing up, he was the only Jewish kid in an all Irish neighborhood. ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ is one of their well known musical pieces.

 

(video source DreamyLadyify)

 

T-Rex lead singer and guitarist Marc Bolan was born Mark Feld, son of a Polish Jew who settled in England. The group was extremely popular at the end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s, but their popularity decreased by the mid-70s, and the group split after Bolan died in a car accident in 1977.

Dire Straits was formed the year Bolan died and T-Rex disbanded by Mark Knopfler and his brother David. They were raised in Scotland and their father Erwin Knopfler was a Hungarian Jew who flew the Nazis in 1939. Here you can see Dire Straits performing ‘Tunnel of Love’ at Wembley in 1985.

(video source blonde442)
Vocalist Debbie Harry is the image and and guitarist Chris Stein is the sound of Blondie . Stein was born in Brooklyn, to Jewish parents. The piece above is called ‘No Exit’ in a live acoustic version.

(video source cheffuch)
Born in California in a Jewish family Susanna Hoffs was a guitarist in the all-female band The Bangles, one of the successfull bands in the 80s. Here is one of the great hits of the band – ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’
I hope that you enjoyed this review of Jews who Rock. There are, of course, many more. I did not include – on purpose – the Israeli rock bands. I have written and maybe I will write about them in other postings.
Hag Sukkot Sameakh! A Happy Sukkot!

Watching Johnny Depp in action is always a holiday for movie fans. Depp is one of these actors who can hold a film by himself, and in fact he does exactly this in many cases, included here. The problem starts to show up when the principal reason for seeing the film is that Johnny Depp is in it, and not much more beyond. The Rum Diary is a film that Depp wanted very much to make, it is based on a true story – the one of journalist and writer Hunter S. Thompson – set in 1960, by the time the history of the Americas was taking a turn. However it is also mostly a film for Depp’s aficionados and another proof that true stories or biographies do not necessarily lead to good films.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0376136/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt0376136/

 

The dry story in The Rum Diary is very much about the profession of journalist, and about fighting personal daemons in order to be a true professional. A young journalist takes a job in Puerto Rico, a job he finds out soon nobody wanted to take. He is a drinker and befriends another journalist who is an even heavier drinker and the wrong girl owned by a local tycoon. He discovers soon that one cannot drink as much as he can or wants, befriend beautiful women, write good stories, and be honest at the same time. One may ask what is wrong with this story and why it fails to draw the attention although it has all ingredients of many other successful stories about journalists, corruption, exotic Caribbean islands and their fascinating and dangerous culture. Moreover, it is a true story! Well, this may actually exactly be the problem. We have already seen so many movies (some of them good indeed) inspired by such a true story, that when it is brought to screen closer to what it really was, it looks unsatisfying and deja-vu.

 

(video source VISO Trailers)

 

The good things – some very good cinematography and a rendition of the 1960 Puerto Rico which is both realistic and colorful. Then we have Depp – of course! The not so good thing – a story that does not really decide what it wants to be – political thriller, retro-history, comedy, with an anti-climax ending. For folks like myself unfamiliar with who Hunter S. Thompson was, this film does only tell an unconvincing story about journalism in exotic Puerto Rico. Director Bruce Robinson made a very promising debut in the 80s, another couple of movies soon after, and then stopped making films for almost two decades until this one. His fans may have expected more from his come back after such a long waiting. Good acting and sure hand in camera and cinematography cannot compensate the weakness of the story. What was supposed to be the strong point of the film eventually ends by being its weakest link. ‘The Rum Diary’ may raise in time to be better than the commercial failure it was on screens, but less than what it could have been with a better story to support the theme.

‘Under the Skin’  is directed by Jonathan Glazer whose best known previous achievement is ‘Sexy Beast’- a violent thriller made in 2000, which has allowed Ben Kingsley to make one of his most ferocious appearances grabbing on his way an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This time the star is the gorgeous (in many ways) Scarlett Johansson, who has used us lately with … unusual roles such as the ‘voice off’ from ‘Her’, or the ruthless killer in the recent ‘Lucy‘.
source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441395/?ref_=nv_sr_2

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1441395/

The role played here is that of an alien female, with Scarlett entering the skin of a terrestrial young woman coming to our planet on a mission to kill. Driving a truck, she wanders the city of Edinburgh and its suburbs in search of men whom he lures (something that us not too difficult even for an alien who entered under the skin of Scarlett Johansson) and then kills and dips them in a bath of black substance in which they enter without seeming to be aware of the danger. The goal is enigmatic to the crime film watchers, those who are really interested in a possible explanation of everything who will find it documented in the novel that inspired the book which is written, by the way, in a lighter style, very different from what we get on screen.

 

(video source Clevver Movies)

 

The spiritual and emotional worlds of the serial alien murderess and of the terrestrials seem completely disjoint at the beginning. As the action slowly progresses, change happens. The main character seems to begin to be interested in the motivations of the acts of humans, in the strange mixture of empathy and indifference, of love and hate which makes each of us. Which of these aspects will prevail, and who eventually is the more more dangerous of the species – I will let those who plan to watch the movie to guess. I will only say that, despite the slow pace and the fact that the film is hard to fit into the classical genres of ‘science fiction’ or ‘movies with aliens’, or even ‘horror films’, attentive and patient viewer swill be rewarded a superb acting performance by Scarlett Johansson, and the screen presence of extras surprised by hidden camera when climbing up in a truck driven by Scarlett; by a bleak but beautiful cinematography; and by a maybe ambiguous message which ends by asking questions about ourselves, the human species.