Archive for September, 2015

Should I feel guilty? I really enjoyed this melodramatic, stereotype-rich, rose-water sprinkled feel-good movie which is ‘The Intern‘, directed by , and bringing to screen the improbable pair of actors composed of and . Now I need to find out why.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2361509/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2361509/

 

One of the reasons is probably the fact that the start-up and corporate environments are pretty familiar to me, and that their screen version as conceived by Meyers is not far from what I know. Yes, I have met the ambitious CEO working herself (or himself) to death at the expense of her (or his) family life, sleeping time and own health and reason. I worked and still work in ‘open space’ and ‘glass-walled’ environments. I lived through ‘the sale of the day’ and ‘the hero of the month’ and I understand what a good day and a bad day looks like in the shop that some believe it became their real home.

Then, I am a feminist. I sincerely believe that women can be as good managers and leaders as men, and that they deserve all the credit when they succeed in the machoistic society we live in, and even more when they do it while keeping a family and raising kids who still recognize their mothers. For feminists this film carries the ‘right’ message.

Third (or maybe first) I am close to retirement. Not 70 yet, as De Niro’s character is, not wearing suits and ties (actually I know a lot of 70-ers who never do), but yet, I can understand his panic when faced with aging, his loneliness and desire to socialize, his volunteering in order to continue to be useful and relevant.

 

(video source Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

The story of the ‘retired intern’ who becomes the best friend of the carrier-obsessed CEO by balancing the over-dynamic corporate environment with some old-fashioned common sense, the crisis of the millionaire teenagers with true sensitivity may have been told a few times. Yet it looks true on screen, or better said true enough to spontaneously generate the laughs and the tears rather than squeeze them. The actor who played all those tough gangsters in the first two thirds of his fabulous career has become the most generous and kind retired and his chemistry with flamboyant  is perfect.  is just the best known of a fun support cast. ‘The Intern’ will be criticized by many but if you are a fan of feel-good movies, or you just are in the mood of seeing one you would certainly like to watch it.

Au fost multi care la 23 august 1944 au sperat in reintoarcerea Romaniei in fagasul firesc al democratiei si in spatiul geopolitic european. Trecusera cinci ani si jumatate de la instaurarea dictaturii regale care fusese urmata de statul national-legionar si de dictatura antonesciana. Frontierele Romaniei Mari fusesera ciuntite in cele patru puncte cardinale si Romania trecuse printr-un razboi greu ca aliata a fortelor Axei, razboi pe cale sa fie pierdut. Cetatenii romani de origini evreiasca si rroma isi pierdusera drepturile cetatenesti, fusesera discriminati, deportati si unii isi pierdusera viata in episodul romanesc al Holocaustului. Sperantele au fost mari, dar de scurta durata. Capitalismul si democratia romaneasca inainte de razboi nu fusesera perfecte, dar Romaniei nu ii era scris nici macar sa se intoarca la ele. In trei ani de tranzitie brutala si cu ajutorul si sub indrumarea ocupantilor sovietici, Romania avea sa sa se adanceasca intr-o noua perioada de dictatura – comunista de asta data – din care tara nu avea sa iasa decat dupa decembrie 1989.

Perioada aceasta are sansa de a avea un istoric de importanta academicianului Dinu C. Giurescu, descendentul unei ilustre familii de istorici, care a scris trei carti despre fiecare dintre cei trei ani ai fatidicei tranzitii:

  • Uzurpatorii. Romania, 6 martie 1945 – 7 ianuarie 1946
  • Falsificatorii. Alegerile din 1946
  • Lichidatorii. Romania in 1947

Aceasta recenzie este dedicata celui de-al doilea volum, re-editat si publicat in 2015 de Editura Enciclopedica. Cele 26 de capitole ale cartii parcurg anul de mijloc al ‘tranzitiei’ si se ocupa de evenimentul central al anului si al perioadei care a pecetluit trecerea Romaniei de la o democratie parlamentara multi-partinica la o ‘democratie populara’ in care alegerile erau o fatada formala pecetluind hotaririle dictatoriale ale partidului unic – ‘alegerile’ din noiembrie 1946, desfasurate intr-o atmosfera de teroare politica si al caror rezultate au fost falsificate la o scara neintalnita pana atunci in istoria Romaniei. Cele 26 de capitole ale cartii prezinta in ordine cronologica contextul politic intern si extern, pregatirile, desfasurarea, rezultatele reale si cele falsificate si consecintele acestor alegeri.

Incepand imediat dupa evenimente si pana la caderea comunismului in 1989, alegerile din noiembrie 1946 au fost prezentate de propaganda comunista si de istoriografia aservita ei ca ‘primele alegeri libere’ din istoria tarii. Exact inversul ar fi mai potrivit. In noiembrie 1946 a avut loc prima dintr-un sir de mascarade electorale care a durat timp de mai bine de patru decenii, de ‘alegeri’ care numai libere nu au fost. Dinu C. Giurescu are meritul de a fi scris o carte clara si documentata care spulbera definitiv mitul creat de istoricii inrolati in slujba partidului comunist. Documentarea lui este extensiva si cam o treime din paginile cartii reprezinta referintele pe care se bazeaza argumentatia sa – extrase din presa vremii, documente din arhive, rapoarte ale politiei si jandarmeriei, rapoarte interne ale partidelor politice inclusiv rapoarte secrete ale partidului comunist, relatarile ambasadorilor si memoriile unora dintre participantii la evenimente. Imaginea care rezulta este clara si fara echivoc.

 

sursa http://www.libris.ro/falsificatorii-alegerile-din-1946-dinu-c-ENC978-973-45-0700-9--p874405.html

sursa http://www.libris.ro/falsificatorii-alegerile-din-1946-dinu-c-ENC978-973-45-0700-9–p874405.html

 

Primele capitole sunt dedicate Conferintei de la Moscova, care in decembrie 1945 a reunit cele trei mai puteri aliate si a hotarit printre altele ca in Romania sa aiba loc alegeri libere in cursul anului 1946. O comisie formata din cate un reprezentant al fiecareia dintre Cei Trei Mari (URSS, SUA, Marea Britanie) a fost trimisa la Bucuresti la sfarsitul lui 1945 si inceputul lui 1946 pentru a trasa guvernului sarcinile implementarii acordului, si a convinge toate fortele politice sa participe in acest proces. De la bun inceput acordul avea numeroase lacune, continuand linia trasata de conferinta de la Yalta care inclusese Romania in zona de dominatie sovietica. El cuprindea totusi clauze care asigurau libertatea presei si a propagandei electorale pentru toate partidele, accesul echitabil la mijloacele de informare, inclusiv radioul, al tutoror fortelor politice, includerea in guvernul condus de Petru Groza a reprezentantilor partidelor ‘istorice’, prezenta observatorilor tuturor partidelor in numararea voturilor. In realitate guvernul condus de Groza instaurat la 6 martie 1945 si dominat de comunisti a avut controlul exclusiv al pregatirii si desfasurarii alegerilor, si a fost raspunzator si de numararea voturilor si de anuntarea rezultatelor.

‘Londra si Washingtonul nu au obtinut nici o “garantie” de la Moscova. Iar guvernul controlat de PCR a avut ca obiectiv primordial sa rastoarne complet rezultatele votului din noiembrie 1946 in favoarea sa.’  (pag. 29)

Consecintele politicii conciliatorii a aliatilor au fost deosebit de grave pentru opozitia democratica reprezentata de Partidul National Taranesc (condus de Iuliu Maniu), Partidul National Liberal (condus de Dinu Bratianu) si Partidul Social Democrat (ramura independenta condusa de Titel Petrescu, nealiniata cu comunistii). Desi incurajasera activitatea opozitiei in perioada pre-electorala si electorala, si desi erau bine informati despre atmosfera de teroare in care se desfasurasera acestea si despre frauda numararii voturilor, Statele Unite si Marea Britanie au recunoscut implicit rezultatele prin semnarea acordurilor de pace de la Paris in primavara lui 1947 si recunoasterea diplomatica a guvernului comunist.

‘Liderii PNT, PNL si PSDI nu au fost defel avertizati in vreun fel ca Aliatii din Vest au de gand sa confirme rezultatele “alegerilor” prin semnarea Tratatului de pace cu Romania, in februarie 1947, urmata de un schimb de reprezentanti diplomatici.’ (pag. 262)

Consecintele au fost tragice. La scurt timp dupa semnarea Tratatului putinii deputati ai opozitiei au fost exclusi din Parlament, conducatorii partidelor istorice au fost arestati si condamnati in urma unor procese inscenate. Multi dintre ei au pierit in inchisori.

Dinu C. Giurescu se ocupa in capitole succesive cu demontarea mecanismelor prin care comunistii au dominat campania electorala si sugrumat activitatea fortelor de opozitie: interzicerea publicarii presei ne-aservite sau sugrumarea celei existente prin alocarea de cote infime de hartie si cenzura aplicata de sindicatele tipografilor, interzicerea accesului la radio, multiplicarea partidelor aparent neasociate dar de fapt aservite regimului (tactica pe care o vor aplica si neocomunistii din FSN in 1990 si 1992), incurajarea dizidentelor din partidele istorice (fiecare a avut cel putin cate o varianta aliniata politicii comunistilor). Cu toate aceste actiuni contrare libertatii de exprimare si de organizare si a incercarilor de a deruta electoratul sau de a intimida fizic pe votanti, rezultatele reale ale votului, atat cat au putut fi reconstituite si estimate dupa mai bine de o jumatate de secol arata ca blocul pro-comunist nu a obtinut decat in jur de 21% din voturi, si ca Partidul National Taranist ar fi castigat majoritatea absoluta, si impreuna cu Partidul National Liberal ar fi obtinut peste 70% din voturi. Comunistii nu numai ca au inversat rezultatele reale ale alegerilor, dar lucrand dupa metoda rezultatelor planificate anticipat au pretins o majoritate de peste 91% in Parlamentul instaurat la inceputul lui decembrie 1946.

Foarte interesante sunt capitolele care descriu rolul regelui Mihai si incercarile acestuia de a se opune procesului de preluare a puterii de catre comunisti, la capatul caruia era clar ca va urma abolirea monarhiei. In aceasta privinta insa, Constantin C. Giurescu se abtine de la o judecata clara a situatiei si include versiunea facuta publica de Mihai dupa 1990, conform careia procesul era practic ireversibil si singura politica posibila era cea a protestelor timide si ineficiente si a intarzierilor in speranta ca totusi Aliatii din Vest vor actiona in favoarea fortelor democrate mai devreme sau mai tarziu. Imaginea unui rege slab si care a facut destule compromisuri acceptand in cele din urma toate etapele tranzitiei spre comunism, inclusiv rezultatele alegerilor falsificate este greu de evitat.

Sunt prezentate in detalii si discutiile interne care au avut loc la nivelul conducerii partidului comunist. Au existat tabere diferite, dar diferentele erau in tactica si nu in scop sau metode.

‘De ce alegerile constituiau pentru liderii comunisti o batalie, si nu o competitie? Conceptul de alternanta la putere nu intra in mentalul lor. Existenta unei opozitii insemna anatema, era de neconceput. A lasa opozitia sa se manifeste insemna, in scurt timp, a pierde conducerea.’ (pag. 72)

Apare si tactica comunicatelor laconice, care cenzureaza pana si dezbaterile care au loc in randurile conducerii comuniste, prezentand spre exterior o falsa imagine de ‘unitate’. Apare si limbajul de lemn si deformarea conceptelor politice in scop propagandistic. Insasi cuvantul ‘democratie’ va insemna incepand cu anul 1946 si vreme de 43 de ani dupa aceea pentru presa si propaganda comunista aservire intereselor partidului unic, deci exact contrarul democratiei.

Capitolul dedicat incidentelor nationaliste din Transilvania si in special de la Cluj arunca lumina asupra felului in care conflictul national a fost folosit de care comunisti in scopul polarizarii opiniei publice si atragerii votului minoritatilor nationale. Rolul jucat de Lucretiu Patrascanu in ‘linistirea’ situatiei este explicat mai putin, ca si contextul luptelor interne dintre taberele ‘nationala’ si ‘cominternista’ din conducerea PCR. In acel an 1946 a fost practic transata aceasta disputa, Patrascanu insusi incepand sa-si piarda influenta pana la caderea sa completa si arestarea sa care se va petrece in 1948. Cuvantarea sa de la Cluj din mai 1946 va fi unul dintre punctele cheie ale anchetei si actului de acuzare la procesul care avea sa se incheie cu condamnarea la moarte si executarea sa in 1954.

 

sursa http://www.cotidianul.ro/manifestul-catre-romani-al-prof-acad-dinu-c-giurescu-199352/

sursa http://www.cotidianul.ro/manifestul-catre-romani-al-prof-acad-dinu-c-giurescu-199352/

 

Am citit cu mare interes si capitolele dedicare organizatiilor evreiesti si rolului evreilor in Partidul Comunist si in campania electorala. Ele mi-au confirmat ceva ce stiam din relatarile parintilor si ale bunicilor, dar care a aparut de multe ori rastalmacit in istoriografia si polemicile romanesti recente sub titlul ‘evreii au adus comunismul in Romania’.

‘Evreii cetateni romani constituiau un grup important in anii de dupa incheierea razboiului. Cu toate pierderile si uciderile din Basarabia, nordul Bucovinei si Transnistria, cat si in partea de nord a Transilvaniei (sub administratie hortista intre 1940-1944), evreii din Romania insumau (numar estimativ) 355 972 si erau integrati in felurite arii de activitate. Pe plan politic insa, situatia lor este foarte limpede definita, intr-un raport al misiunii americane datat 7 februarie 1946: “[...] In timp ce o minoritate de evrei sprijina politica practicata de comunisti, majoritatea evreilor romani se opun regimului Groza, a fel cu ceilalti (locuitori] din Romania.’ (pag. 83)

‘Concluzia raportului Misiunii SUA despre lucrarile “congresului” [este vorba despre congresul Uniunii Democrate a Evreilor din Romania, care in ianuarie 1946 adunase pe evreii simpatizanti comunisti - DR]: “Agitatia continua a unei foarte reduse minoritati militante printre evreii romani, sprijinind energic partidul comunist si Guvernul Groza, s-a lovit de rezistenta pasiva a majoritatii covarsitoare a evreilor din Romania, care se opun tacticilor folosite.’ (pag. 85)

Este ceea ce stiam si eu. Majoritatea evreilor din Romania precum majoritatea celorlalti locuitori ai Romaniei nu s-au lasat amagiti de mirajul comunismului, s-au opus pasiv, si au incercat sa-si vada de viata lor in perioada de preluare – prin frauda si metode teroriste sub protectia ocupantilor sovietici – a puterii de catre comunisti in anii 1945-1947. ‘Foarte redusa minoritate’ care a colaborat cu comunistii si a participat la preluarea de catre acestia a puterii era formata din indivizi care au facut-o nu ca evrei sau reprezentati ai majoritatii evreilor.

Textul lui Dinu C. Giurescu este clar si cursiv, si va fi o lectura pasionanta pentru cei interesati de istoria perioadei. Istoricul foloseste destul de des si tabele comparative ale evenimentelor si versiunilor acestora, si acestea sunt de asemenea bine alcatuite si ajuta. Cu atat mai mult sunt greu de inteles problemele de editare ale cartii, mai ales ca este vorba despre o a doua editie care se vrea si revizuita. Apar greseli in calculul procentajelor (de exemplu ‘Aceasta cifra (63) reprezinta 7,87% din totalul de 528′  ca in pag. 34). Apare un typo enervant si repetat in scrierea gamelor de procente (’809-90% ca in pag. 5). Continutul unei tabele se repeta aproape identic la doua pagini distanta (pag. 153, pag. 155).

Regretabilele probleme editoriale nu pot diminua insa interesul lecturii si meritele acestei carti, care va ramane probabil pentru multa vreme una dintre cartile de referinta despre perioada tragicei tranzitii:

‘”Alegerile” din 19 noiembrie 1946 au constituit cea mai mare frauda politica din istoria Romaniei intre 1859 si 1946. Ele au deschis calea pentru distrugerea societatii traditionale romanesti, de tip european, si punerea ei fortata in tiparele sovietice, odata cu separarea ei de evolutia normala a celorlalte tari ale continentului.’ (pag. 281)

Winning WWII was to a large extent the merit of women – many kept the economy and the households working, many other served in different tasks in the armed forces, and yes – a few fought in secret missions. Cinema did not avoid the theme either and some may remember ‘Babette s’en va-t-en guerre‘ the 1959 film by with Brigitte Bardot . That film was fun. Unfortunately I hardly can say the same about ‘Les Femmes de l’ombre‘ written and directed almost half a century later by . The peak of fun but yet respectful movies about WWII is with no doubt Inglorious Basterds made one year after ‘Les femmes…’ . And yet, Christian-Jaque’s film of 1959 is much closer to the spirit of Tarantino.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0824330

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0824330

 

Les Femmes de l’ombre not only follows on the path of so many other films about ‘la Resistance’ and parachuted agents in occupied France but also borrows some of the worst cliches. The story of a team of amateur women assembled in a matter of three days to save the invasion in Normandy can possibly overcome the lack of credibility of the premises only if it is treated in a spirited easy comic manner, or if it adds some high thrill or emotional drama. ‘Les femmes de l’ombre’ does none of these, but rather takes a piously traditional approach to tell a story that is filled by too many expected moments. The action and drama that happens on screen never really got me interested.

 

(video source mckflz)

 

There are a few good intentions that cross the screen but they are not enough. Sophie Marceau is a fine actress and her character took shape despite the melodramatic touches. The other actresses succeeded to build each her own distinct character. On the other hand Moritz Bleibtreu was a less credible SS bastard – he looked too young, and, yes, too likable for the role. Director Salome chose a cautious conservative approach  which buried the interesting aspects of the theme. Despite the initial promises my feeling at the end of the screening was that I have seen once again a story told several times.

 

I did not see any other blockbuster this summer, but I have the feeling that having seen the latest in the ‘Mission:Impossible’ series may have been sufficient for having seen the best. I confess that good action movies are one of my guilty pleasures, but I am quite picky on this respect. Besides the mandatory portion of attractive women and spectacular landscapes, the ratio between action scenes and story telling must not be too unbalanced on any side, car chases and fight and gun shooting scenes must be well filmed and fun to follow, the pace should be alert but still allow me to understand who shoots whom, and there must be action movies logic in what happens on screen, which of course has not too much to do with the real life logic. ‘M:I 5′ comes close to perfection on all these respects.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2381249/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2381249/

 

Whoever followed the previous films know already that the writers of the scripts will not avoid doing a few things: make sure that  (alias Ethan Hunt) is on screen 99% of the time, that he will sooner or later fall in for one of the female characters in the story (Swedish actress R is on duty this time) with no good chances for a happy and long married life to follow, that enough countries and landscapes will be traveled during the movie than in a full season of a National Geographic series, and that some of these landscapes will be badly altered after our heroes visit them. This installment also continues the intrigue in the previous one, as the secret services department to which Ethan Hunt belongs is threatened by the more conventional services, which obliges the hero to go rogue and become the most chased person on the planet, followed by both the good guys and bad guys organizations.

 

(video source moviemaniacsDE)

 

When all these happen on screen my first thoughts were to remember that this is almost the same script that was written for the latest James Bond series (with the changes of M, remember?). Actually under the hands of director and script writer the latest ‘Mission: …’ looks more and more like a James Bond film, even better than one on some respects. Just listen to the variations of the music theme for example. The two series address now the same space in the movies spectators preferences and the borders are being effaced. It’s good that the releases seem to be coordinated to avoid bringing to screen the new films in the two series during the same summer seasons. If the quality stays at this level I will not complain. This summer’s ‘Bond/Mission’ was well written, alertly directed, Tom Cruise who gets near his mid-50s is in an acting and physical shape of an early 30-er, and even the stiff-as-usual acting of  could not spoil too much maybe because his role was of a stiff CIA boss. The bad guys were also quite schematic, and Cruise will need a more ferocious adversary in the next one. Yet – highly recommended to all fans of action movies – get your popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy!

Laszlo Krasznahorkai este laureatul editiei internationale 2015 a premiului pentru literatura Man Booker (a sasea oara cand acest premiu a fost atribuit). In textul care insoteste anuntul romanciera engleza Marina Warner, unul dintre membrii juriului, scrie ca ‘László Krasznahorkai este un scriitor vizionar de intensitate extraordinară, o voce care surprinde textura existenței contemporane în scene terifiante, ciudate, îngrozitor de comice, și de multe ori zguduitor de frumoase.’ Cuvintele scriitoarei engleze sunt potrivite si pentru primul roman al lui Krasznahorkai ‘Satantango’ pe care l-am citit in traducerea romaneasca impecabila a Anamariei Pop, aparut in 2012 in colectia Byblos a editurii Curtea Veche, cu sprijinul Biroului Maghiar pentru Carti si Traduceri. Scris in 1985, in deceniul de apus al comunismului in estul Europei, cartea poarta multe dintre insemnele literaturii de sfarsit de epoca pe care le regasim si in carti ale literaturii romane, cehe, sovietice din acea vreme. Se incadreaza insa si in dimensiunea mai larga europeana si universala cu accente din Kafka, Beckett si Orwell. As mai adauga si intersectia cu spatiul cinematografic, ‘Satantango’ fiind ecranizat in 1994 de regizorul Bela Tarr, care il transpune pe ecran intr-o viziune cinematografica lunga de 450 (!) de minute, pe care din scenele pe care le-am vazut pana acum (nu am reusit inca sa vad tot filmul) il aduce in memorie imediat pe Tarkovski, cel din ‘Stalker’. 

Suntem undeva in Ungaria. Reperele locale sunt de altfel putine si apar tarziu in roman, am putea fi in orice parte a lumii europene a anilor 80 de dincoace de Cortina. ‘Civilizatia’ pare a fi in regresie. ‘Civilizatia’ intre ghilimele, caci este vorba mai degraba de progresul artificial trambitat de propaganda comunista, cea cu tractoare arand ogoare aurii sub ceruri senine. Omenirea lasata in urma pare a fi trecut printr-un cataclism, dar el nu are o cauza fizica exterioara. Nu un meteorit a lovit aceasta lume si i-a spulberat ordinea si logica, ea este roasa de boala interna a lipsei de sens a vietii pentru un grup de oameni fara busola morala.

‘Astia sunt tot acolo, stau exact pe aceleasi taburete jegoase, seara infuleca papricas de cartofi si nu inteleg ce s-o fi putut intampla. Se uita unii la altii cu atentie si cu banuiala, ragaie zgomotos in linistea care-i inconjoara si asteapta. Asteapta cu rabdare si cu perseverenta, crezand ca au fost, pur si simplu, inselati. Asteapta pititi, asemenea pisicilor la taiatul porcului, crezand ca le poate pica vreo bucata grasa. Astia sunt cum fusesera odinioara servitorii castelelor, ai caror stapani isi trageau, intr-o buna zi, un glont in cap, umbland apoi fara rost, neajutorati, in jurul cadavrului.’ (pag. 55)

Personajele din carte si-au dobandit libertatea, dar ele nu constientizeaza asta, si chiar daca ar intelege situatia nu ar sti ce sa faca cu aceasta noua si ciudata stare. Vor cauta mai degraba sa-si gaseasca un nou ‘ghid conducator’ si acesta nu intarzie sa apara in intruchiparea falsului profet Irimias, descins din cartile lui Ilf si Petrov. Profetilor sarlatani le plac perioadele de tranzitie.

 

sursa imaginii http://www.curteaveche.ro/satantango.html

sursa imaginii http://www.curteaveche.ro/satantango.html

 

Peisajul natural este dominat de ploaie si noroi. Suntem in mijlocul unui diluviu modern care transforma lumea intr-un univers mlastinos, in care pare a se eroda insasi consistenta materiei.

‘… apa prelinsa de pe tigle ajungea, fara nicio piedica, de-a lungul peretilor casei Horgos, intr-un suvoi urias pe pamant, sapand in jurul cladirii un sant ce se adancea vazand cu ochii, parca in fiecare strop de ploaie ar exista o intentie secreta ca-n prima faza sa inconjoare cladirea, izoland locuitorii acesteia de restul lumii, apoi, incetul cu-ncetul, din milimetru in milimetru sa se scurga-n noroiul in care erau asezate pietrele de temelie, patrunzand in pamantul ostil, iar in final sa spele totul in profunzime; apoi, intr-un timp stabilit neindurator se stabilizeaza peretii, unul dupa celalalt, usile, ferestrele se desprind din locurile lor, hornul se-nclina si se prabuseste, cuiele din perete devin sfaramicioase, oglinzile, oarbe, pentru ca-n final intreaga cladire naruita sa se scufunde ca o hardughie veche, asemenea unui vapor naufragiat, vestind cu tristete zadarnicia mizerabilei lupte dintre ploaie, pamant si fragile intentie umana; acoperisul nu ofera adapost.’ (pag. 134-135)

Si personajele? Intr-unul dintre cele mai memorabile capitole ale cartii lumea este vazuta din punctul de vedere al unei copile, care inselata fiind de cei din familia apropiata care profitasera de naivitatea ei pentru a-si insusi economiile copilariei, se cufunda si ea intr-o disperare din care singura iesire pare a fi moartea. Este o abordare foarte rar intalnita in literatura care descrie copii, acestia nu se prea gandesc la moarte si desigur nu vad in ea o solutie. Nu si la Krasznahorkai:

‘Apoi, ieri, in zori, dupa ce se trezi, cand in sfarsit isi invinse frica si hotari sa nu mai amane, deoarece nu vroia numai sa-si imagineze dar sa si simta, de-adevaratelea, cum se ridica spre ceruri, felul cum o trage o forta extraordinara, cu viteza vantului, in sus, cum acolo jos se chircesc casele, copacii, razoarele , canalele, intreaga lume, apoi, cum sta deja in Poarta Cerului, printre ingerii ce traiesc in stralucirea unei flacari stacojii.’  (pag. 132)

Pentru locuitorii coltului de lume parasit de istorie care este cadrul romanului carciuma devine locul de comuniune sociala in care personaje vag conturate si nu prea diferentiate tipologic isi impartasesc dezolarea, incearca fara rezultat sa gaseasca un scop vietii in bautura, dansuri pe muzici poate imaginate sau intr-o sexualitate obosita si lipsita de sens. Si cand lumina se stinge si musterii pleaca sau adorm doborati de oboseala si alcool, natura pare a sta la panda pentru a pune din nou stapanire pe spatiul vremelnic cedat unei civilizatii indoielnice:

‘Necazul incepea intotdeauna atunci cand pleca ultimul musteriu, iar el tragea zavorul la usa; pana termina de spalat paharele, de aranjat mesele si inchidea registrul-inventar, putea sa-nceapa curatenia, pentru ca-n colturi, mesele, scaunele, inclusiv picioarele acestora, tocul ferestrelor, soba, gramada navetelor, uneori chiar si scrumierele insirate pe tejghea, totul era acoperit cu panze de paianjen.’  (pag. 172)

 

sursa fotografiei https://thatboywhowrites.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/article-for-union-times-man-booker-international-prize-winner-laszlo-krasznahorkai/

sursa fotografiei https://thatboywhowrites.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/article-for-union-times-man-booker-international-prize-winner-laszlo-krasznahorkai/

 

Maiestria scrierii depaseste cu mult nivelul unui roman de debut oarecare. Laszlo Krasznohorkai stapanea perfect in anul in care a scris ‘Satantango’ si stilul care imbina tehnica prozei cu dese infiltratii poetice, cu jocuri de cuvinte si ecouri ale vorbelor si gandurilor personajelor care uneori aluneca in dadaism, cu o constructie piramidala. Nu numai ca in cele doua parti ale cartii (prima fiind cam dubla in numar de pagini celei de-a doua) capitolele se insira simetric, intr-o numaratoare care ajunge la maxim la sfarsitul primei carti (capitolul VI) pentru a porni descendent, in numaratoare inversa in a doua parte, dar si structura emotionala, relatiile dintre personaje si sistem, si descrierea contextului actiunii urmeaza si ele aceeasi simetrie. Ii gasim la inceputul cartii pe viitorul ‘profet’ si pe tovarasul sau intru potlogarii punandu-si persoanele in slujba unui sistem birocratic care functioneaza dupa regulile tipice sistemelor orwelliene. Pana si timpul curge pe albii diferite intre cei care controleaza sistemul si cei care sunt controlati:

“Cele doua ceasuri – isi linisteste lunganul tovarasul – arata, concomitent, doua forme diferite de timp, desi pe ambele destul de inexact. Al nostru – isi ridica degetul aratator, din cale-afara de lung, subtire si fin, semnaland spre cel de de-asupra lor – intarzie peste masura, iar cel de acolo, de afara … nu masoara timpul ci eternitatea aservirii, iar cu treaba asta avem de-a face cat are de-a face creanga cu ploaia: suntem neputinciosi.” (pag. 32)

La apogeul actiunii falsul profet sadeste in sufletele oamenilor falsa speranta si o face in termenii si limbajul deformat de propaganda eterna.

‘ … profitand de posibilitatile de moment, o sa vorbesc cu cativa oameni pentru organizarea unei gospodarii model, care sa poata oferi un trai sigur, fiind liantul acestui mic grup al deposedatilor, adica … intelegeti, nu-i asa? infiintez o mica insula cu cativa oameni care nu au nimic de pierdut, o insula unde dispare aservirea, unde o sa traim unul pentru celalalt, nu impotriva celuilalt, unde seara ne vom pune capul pe perna in abundenta si tihna, in siguranta si-n conditii demne pentru un om … ‘ (pag. 204)

Apogeul este o scufundare, dar orice abis pare a avea abisul sau in lumea lui Krasznahorkai. Grupul pornit in cautarea implinirii unei iluzii va descoperi ca au ajuns pe treapta cea mai de jos, robii unui sistem ierarhizat de supraveghere si denunturi:

‘Cei din colonie ascultau cu o uimire de moment, ca sarcina lor  va fi sa tina zi si noapte sub observare, tot ce se petrece in jurul lor, sa inregistreze cu o vigilenta exigenta acele pareri, zvonuri si evenimente care “din punctul de vedere al cauzei au neaparat o importanta.”  (pag. 275)

Eliberarea este iluzorie. Utopia este falsa si sfarseste intr-o noua inrobire. Cartea a produs valva in 1985 citita fiind ca o critica a sistemului comunist care inca stapanea Ungaria si estul Europei. A capatat notorietate in anii 90 pentru caracterul de premonitie, ecranizarea din 1994 crescand interesul pentru text si facnadu-l cunoscut publicului larg din Ungaria si din lume. . Acum, in 2015, putem sa o citim si sa o recitim ca pe analiza a soartei unei societati fara valori si fara coeziune omeneasca, ca pe o amara reflectare in viitor a locului in care tara sa sau intreaga Europa sunt in pericol sa ajunga.

When I wrote about the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo a few years ago I ended with a remark that I am concerned about the news of an American Hollywood version of the film. I still believe that the Scandinavian version of the first of Stieg Larsson’s book in the Millennium trilogy is a better movie, but from many respects the American remake directed by  is a respectable effort worth being seen and watched even if you have already seen the original, and even if you are not necessarily a big fan of the author and the legend around him (which continues to develop as we speak).

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/

 

I was expecting to see what the director of Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, Gone Girl, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will make out of the labyrinthine and cool (from so many respects) Scandinavian thriller. To my surprise he was quite respectful to the original story, and developed it better than the version directed by some of the detective story elements. The Agatha Christie heritage is so evident here that we did not need a in the cast to make it more obvious, but I enjoyed his presence. The Hollywood version is also more detailed in describing the social backgrounds of the two principal characters and this only makes their encounter even more charged when it happens. Did I miss something from what I was expecting from Fincher? Yes – the surprise, the usually close to the final twist that makes many of his film be something else than what you believed them to be when you watched them for the first time. Too much respect for the text sometimes harms.

 

(video source Sony Pictures Entertainment)

 

Despite being made at high professional level the Hollywood version stands one step lower than the Swedish one on several key aspects. One is the atmosphere. Whatever Hollywood cameramen do, snow and cold and the light of the North look and feel different in a Scandinavian movie, and the original dialogs and the soundtrack sounded more natural in the Swedish version than the English spoken words. The other is acting. It is said that  brought life into Agent 007. It may be that the dose of life needed to make James Bond a real person is not enough to make investigator journalist Mikael Blomqvist the man in Larsson’s novel who overcomes his life being broken into pieces in order to find the truth. who played the role in the Scandinavian film walked that inch towards fully melding into his character. Almost the same thing can be said about ‘s rendition of Lisbeth Salander – one of the best roles created in the last decade for a young actress. Mara makes us forget her other (nice girl) roles, while had made us forget that there is an actress behind the character.

Despite being better than most of the Hollywood remakes of non-American movies, David Fincher’s film stops one step apart from being as good as original, maybe at an invisible border that cannot really be crossed.

 

I was looking for the ‘inspired from a true story’ label in the credits or the information surrounding Dark Places but what I found instead was that it’s based on a book by Gillian Flynn, who also inspired Gone Girl which I hear is a better film which I did not see yet. It has yet all the ingredients of the true crime genre, starting with the setting in the non-photogenic rural Kansas, the dire social environment, the unsolved crime obsession of part of the American public. Somehow the result also seems to hold some of the difficulties directors in the genre encounter when they cannot really create life on screen from real life stories. The director is the French whose career alternates French and (North-American) English spoken movies – this is his first film that brings on screen not only a story by a famous crime writer but also the fabulous , who is also one of the co-producers.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2402101/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2402101/

 

The hero of the film is Libby Day (Theron) who has lived all her mature life from the donations and book rights around the horrible crime in which her mother and two sisters were murdered 25 years ago. Her testimony has put in jail for life her brother, Ben (), a teen at that time, and a vague adept of a Satanic cult in the mid-West of the 80s. The story in the film is triggered by the fact that a ‘true crime’ club members believe that Ben is innocent and with three weeks left before the file is destroyed try to save him. Out of money Libbyengages reluctantly in a search for truth which will put to try her memory and all her life.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

Director Gilles Pacquet-Brenner directs the story as an alternation of the investigation on-going in the present and flashbacks that retrace the events from the perspective of Libby but also of other characters in the story. He is quite good in story telling but I had the feeling that if he dared more he could have achieved much better results. There is a tension between the brother and sister that never crosses the screen. If Ben is innocent, Libby had destroyed his life, and the interaction would be different than the quiet brotherly relation we watch.  Charlize Theron gives another of her fine quality performances but is simply too sexy for the role. Some of her partners seem mis-cast – Stoll as Ben for example is much too ‘academic’ for a troubled teenager who entered jail at 16 and spent the rest of his life behind bars. The director probably intended to put the emphasize on the social commentaries about the low-class rural environment, about the Satanic cults of the 80s and the fascination of America for true crime and missed or did not know how to create the psychological dimensions of his characters. The film ends by looking too much of a ‘true crime’ instead of a ‘psychological thriller’.

 

 

 

Before I will be hit by the sequel which I hear is much worse than the original, here are my short impressions about this comedy with promising premises but quite a flat and dull execution. Since ‘Back in the Future’ was made in the mid-80s script writers have found little need to invent credible premises for time-travel films, be they thrillers or comedies. So when in 2010 director Steve Pink looked for one more opportunity to cast his preferred actor John Cusack (or maybe the other way, Cusack looked for a pretext to work again with Pink) there was no need to find much smarter excuses than a broken hot tub with golden water in an otherwise out of fashion ski resort in order to put things in motion. Three mid-aged friends from the 2010 universe find themselves plunged back into the times when there was no Internet, and smart phones got no signal, but they were young and thin and all girls had no other dream then bedding them, and yes, incidentally, smarter movies like ‘Back in the future’ were made.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1231587

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1231587

 

Besides holding one of the worst film names ever, Hot Tub Time Machine fell short of my expectations because it could not replace the lack of imagination in playing with the time paradoxes, or the platitudes and so expected jokes about 21st century adults meeting the habits of their youth and living again the experiences of their college years with enough craziness, sex appeal or just comic dumbness to keep me laughing and away from watching my watch despite the fact that the film is not long at all.

 

(video source Trailers)

 

Lacking fun and anarchy makes this retro film easy to forget. Even John Cusack cannot look much better than ‘nice’. Easy entertaining for an evening when you really have nothing else to do. Watch it only if you really have seen ‘Back to the Future’ or ‘Austin Powers’ too many times.  Or if your screen can be seen from the hot tub.

 

 

It’s holidays season again. I was on the road until the eve of Rosh HaShannah, so I am a little late with my festive post for the beginning of 5776. Not too late I hope, as there is a full year minus a couple of days to go. For this start of the year I chose to present you with a list of seven beautiful synagogues all built in the last 60 years in Europe, North America and Israel, with pictures and information that show that synagogues building is a living art combining tradition and modernity, faith and engineering, part of the living landscape of contemporary Judaism. Seven synagogues like the seven days of the Creation.

 

(sursa fotografiei: http://www.interiordesign.net/projects/detail/1683-contemporary-worship-ulm-synagogue/)

sursa fotografiei: http://www.interiordesign.net/projects/detail/1683-contemporary-worship-ulm-synagogue/

 

The Ulm Synagogue is built in a German city with an ancient tradition of Jewish life. The presence of Jews is documented in Ulm since the middle ages, with ups and downs as in many other places in Europe. Jews in Ulm are mentioned as paying taxes since the times of Louis the Bavarian (14th century) and this is also one of the first places where traditional antisemitic libels (‘the poisoning of wells’) showed up. In modern times the history of the community included achievements and expulsions, segregation and the birth as famous figures like Albert Einstein. The synagogue in Ulm combines religious and social functions in a cuboid structure designed by Susanne Gross. It stands close to the place of the older synagogue destroyed by the Nazis during the Kristallnacht.

 

sursa fotografiei: http://eja.pri.ee/Religion/Uus%20synag2_en.html

sursa fotografiei: http://eja.pri.ee/Religion/Uus%20synag2_en.html

 

The New Synagogue in Tallin was initiated in the 1990s when Estonia opened to the world, including Jewish tourism in one of the locations where Jewish life flourished in Europe before the Holocaust. The construction company “Kolle” executed the work of the building which includes other institutions relevant to Jewish religious life like a kosher restaurant and ritual bath.

 

sursa fotografiei: http://urbipedia.com/index.php?title=Sinagoga_Beth_Sholom

sursa fotografiei: http://urbipedia.com/index.php?title=Sinagoga_Beth_Sholom

 

Crossing the ocean to the United States we find in Chicago one of the most remarkable designs of its kind – Frank Lloyd’s Wright Beth Sholom (Beit Shalom). The pyramidal structure was designed between 1954 and 1958 , its structure with wire glass on the outside and translucent plastic panels inside attracts and captures the light and integrates the geometrical forms with the world outside. The form reminds the structure of the wooden synagogues in the 17th century in Eastern Europe, while the interior with its central ‘bimah’ (podium) was the result of many debates between the the famous architect and rabbi Mortimer Cohen who led the Conservative congregation that built the structure in the 1950s.

 

sursa fotografiei: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/civic-center-synagogue-now-the-synagogue-for-the-arts-steven-spak.html

sursa fotografiei: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/civic-center-synagogue-now-the-synagogue-for-the-arts-steven-spak.html

 

The synagogue in Tribeca, New York, was designed by William N. Berger, completed in 1967 and is also called The Synagogue of Arts. Its undulating facade and curved structure integrates in an elegant manner in a district that is populated with artists and liberal professionals, many of them non-religious and non-affiliated Jews. The programs combine the religious, cultural and social activities trying to be inclusive and open as the environment the community lives in.

 

sursa fotografiei: http://www.cubanhebrew.com/

sursa fotografiei: http://www.cubanhebrew.com/

 

A special history also characterizes the Cuban Hebrew Congregation of Miami and its synagogue, the Temple Beth Shmuel completed by Oskar Sklar in 1982. Many of the Jews in Miami are at the origin or descending from the refugees from Cuba who arrived in Florida in the early 1960s. It’s the social, cultural and philanthropic center of Jewish life in the Southern part of the city.

 

sursa imaginii: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbalista_Synagogue_and_Jewish_Heritage_Center

sursa imaginii: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbalista_Synagogue_and_Jewish_Heritage_Center

 

The campus of the Tel Aviv University is one of the most original centers of modern architecture in Tel Aviv.  The double scroll structure designed by architect Michael Botta built in 1997-1998 is one of the most striking achievements with its external walls of apparent brick that seem to bring to life atemporal shapes and structures.  Located in the same area as the Diaspora Museum the building hosts the Cymbalista Synagogue and the Jewish Heritage Center.


sursa imaginii: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3605459,00.html

sursa imaginii: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3605459,00.html

 

The Megillat Or Synagogue is located in Caesarea, an ancient city which was at the peak of its glory during King Herod’s time and is developed today in a community of the riches of Israel. The scroll theme is present here as well in the design of architect Knaffo Klimor, as well as the integration with the Mediterranean landscape – the blue skies, the white sands and the green lawn around with their strong colors accommodating well the white walls and the elegant and surely sketched curved lines.

 

Rosh HaShannah – The Jewish New Year – is a universal holiday. We actually celebrate the birthday of the Universe. To all my friends – Shana Tova, A Good New Year!