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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Corneliu Porumboiu - Calatorie la Oras (2003)

Calatorie la Oras (A Trip to the City) was the first movie of Romanian director Cristian Porumboiu. Nineteen minutes length. It was 2003. The guy made then in 2006 A Fost Sau N-a Fost? (12:08 East of Bucharest) which was great by all accounts. Then in 2009 Police, Adjective followed. I haven't seen it yet, it has very good reviews.

Coming back to this Calatorie la Oras: it's a little gem. It is witty, it has guts, it has rhythm, it is perfectly balanced: it is making the case like a demonstration at the blackboard; nothing is missing, nothing is superfluous, the perfect demonstration. And above all, you feel the empathy the director has for these petty people with petty lives, the immense pleasure he has in discovering their humanity in anything they're saying or doing.

Two very good actors in the main roles: Ion Sapdaru (who has talent inside his skin as for a small regiment) and Constantin Dita (I saw him also in Portretul Luptatorului la Tinerete, where he managed a very difficult role).

I found Calatorie la Oras on a blog consecrated to Romanian movies. It has English subtitles, only I can see how much it is lost in translation. But this was unavoidable. The same words have a very different emotional charge in the two languages. I noticed that when reading in English books by Pamuk or Pavić. I read them also in Romanian, to feel their flavor. I believe that the semantic correspondence operates perfectly only between languages spoken in neighboring countries (despite their different origins, like Romanian, Serbian, Turkish). Similar challenges throughout history lead to similar mental constructions, to similar suggestions behind words.

Well, it's impossible to render in English something like doar n-a sa astept pana la pulivara! (but I'm sure it would work fine in Serbian).



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