Updates, Live

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Sovereigns of Europe by 1867

Sovereigns of Europe
date: cca. 1867
posted on Facebook by Mr. Alexandru Ursu-Bukowina
no copyright infringement intended

top row, from left to right:
King Christian IX of Denmark, King William I of Prussia (Emperor of Germany from 1871), Emperor Napoleon III of France, Czar Alexander II of Russia, Sultan Abdülaziz of Turkey.

second row top to bottom, from left to right:
King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway, Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, Pope Pius IX, King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, Queen Isabella II of Spain, Prince Johann II of Lichtenstein.

third row top to bottom, from left to right:
King Luis I of Portugal, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, King Leopold II of Belgium, Grand Duke Frederick I of Baden.

bottom row, from left to right:
King Charles I of Württemberg, King George I of Greece, Prince Charles I of Romania (King of Romania from 1881), King William III of the Netherlands (also Grand Duke of Luxembourg).

Nowadays the European heads of state or of government meet every now and then, and each time a group photo is de rigeur. It wasn't like that in the past, so the image above was constructed by grouping the photographs of those twenty sovereigns who had never been in the same place together.

I saw the image on Facebook, posted by a friend who dated it cca. 1900. As for the author of the image, the mention was F. (photographer) Sala and Co, and I couldn't find any reference to it.

From the start I couldn't agree with the date: in 1900 Pope was Leo XIII, while the personage from the middle of the image was not resembling at all with him, rather with Pius X (who became Pope in 1903). This would have moved the date of the image a couple of years after 1900, which was in turn contradicted by the image of Queen Victoria (near the Pope). As Victoria had passed away in 1901, I was forced to admit that either the Pope was not Pius X, or the queen was not Victoria.

Then I noted the text at the bottom. The key to the puzzle was there, only the characters were extremely hard to be read. You had to decipher a little bit and then to guess the whole word. The text was in French, and all names followed the French rule (though most of the sovereigns gathered in the image were Germans): so Johann was Jean, Wilhelm was Guillaume and so on,  which was not making things easier. Another complication: since then some of the countries mentioned in the text have eased to exist as independent states - the case with Baden and Württemberg, for instance.  Well, little by little I was able to decipher all names.

The first surprise: the Pope was Pius IX. Thus, neither Leo XIII, nor Pius X: that was moving the date of the image far before 1900: Pius IX had passed away in 1878!

One of the two women was indeed Queen Victoria, whose reign had been between 1837 - 1901. The other one was Isabella II, Queen of Spain between 1833 - 1868 (when she was forced into exile; formally she abdicated in 1870). This way the date of the image was to be moved before 1868.

Isabella II in her exile to Paris
no copyright infringement intended

All other monarchs from the image had the end of their reign after 1868, some of them had even very long reigns, well into the 20th century. The longest were the reigns of Victoria (1837 - 1901), and Johann II of Lichtenstein (1858 - 1929). Actually the prince of Lichtenstein gave me the hardest problems of identification, as the photo within the collective image had been taken in the 1860's, when he was young, and perfectly shaved. A very different image as the much better known photo taken in 1908. Eventually I was able to find his younger image:

Johann II of Lichtenstein
image from the 1860's
no copyright infringement intended

In order to determine a more precise interval for the image date, I looked at the beginning of the reign for each personage: the closest to 1868 was Prince Charles I of Romania, who started his long reign in 1866 (in 1881 he would become King of the country).

Prince Charles I of Romania
no copyright infringement intended

Thus the image grouping the European sovereigns has been made not earlier than 1866, not later than1868.

(A Life in Books)

Leconte de Lisle: Le Cœur de Hialmar

a painting by Jean Delville
no copyright infringement intended

Chant du Mort de Hialmar
A Upsal, dans la demeure du Josur, bien des jarls boivent joyeusement la  bière, bien des jarls échangent de vives paroles ; moi, je suis dans cette ile, frappé par la pointe de glaive.
La blanche fille de Hialmar m’a suivi à Aguafik, au-delà des écueils ; ses paroles se vérifient, elle me disait que je ne me retournerais jamais prés d’elle.
Tire de mon doigt cet anneau d’or rouge, porte-le  à ma jeune Ingeborg, il lui rappellera qu’elle ne doit jamais me revoir.
A l’est s’élève le corbeau de la bruyère ; après le corbeau arrive l’aigle, plus grand encore. Je serais la pâture de l’aigle qui viendra boire le sang de mon cœur.

[Song of the death of Hialmar
At Upsal, in the home of the Josur, many jarls are happily drinking beer, and many exchange sharp words; I'm on this island, struck by the tip of sword.
The white daughter of Hialmar followed me to Aguafik, beyond the pitfalls; her words were right, she told me that I would never return to her.
Take out of my finger this ring of red gold, give it to my young Ingeborg, it will remind her that she should never review me.
To the East, the raven is rising from the heather; the eagle will follow, mmuch bigger . I would be the pasture of the eagle who will drink the blood from my heart.

This fragment from a book by Xavier Marmier was the source of inspiration for a splendid poem of Leconte de Lisle: Le Cœur de Hialmar

Une nuit claire, un vent glacé. La neige est rouge.
Mille braves sont là qui dorment sans tombeaux,
L’épée au poing, les yeux hagards. Pas un ne bouge.
Au-dessus tourne et crie un vol de noirs corbeaux.

La lune froide verse au loin sa pâle flamme.
Hialmar se soulève entre les morts sanglants,
Appuyé des deux mains au tronçon de sa lame.
La pourpre du combat ruisselle de ses flancs.

— Holà ! Quelqu’un a-t-il encore un peu d’haleine,
Parmi tant de joyeux et robustes garçons
Qui, ce matin, riaient et chantaient à voix pleine
Comme des merles dans l’épaisseur des buissons ?

Tous sont muets. Mon casque est rompu, mon armure
Est trouée, et la hache a fait sauter ses clous.
Mes yeux saignent. J’entends un immense murmure
Pareil aux hurlements de la mer ou des loups.

Viens par ici, Corbeau, mon brave mangeur d’hommes !
Ouvre-moi la poitrine avec ton bec de fer.
Tu nous retrouveras demain tels que nous sommes.
Porte mon cœur tout chaud à la fille d’Ylmer.

Dans Upsal, où les Jarls boivent la bonne bière,
Et chantent, en heurtant les cruches d’or, en chœur,
À tire d’aile vole, ô rôdeur de bruyère !
Cherche ma fiancée et porte-lui mon cœur.

Au sommet de la tour que hantent les corneilles
Tu la verras debout, blanche, aux longs cheveux noirs.
Deux anneaux d’argent fin lui pendent aux oreilles,
Et ses yeux sont plus clairs que l’astre des beaux soirs.

Va, sombre messager, dis-lui bien que je l’aime,
Et que voici mon cœur. Elle reconnaîtra
Qu’il est rouge et solide et non tremblant et blême ;
Et la fille d’Ylmer, Corbeau, te sourira !

Moi, je meurs. Mon esprit coule par vingt blessures.
J’ai fait mon temps. Buvez, ô loups, mon sang vermeil.
Jeune, brave, riant, libre et sans flétrissures,
Je vais m’asseoir parmi les Dieux, dans le soleil !

no copyright infringement intended

(Leconte de Lisle)

(Xavier Marmier)

Labels: ,

Xavier Marmier

Xavier Marmier (1808-1892)
no copyright infringement intended

A French author with a passion for travel, and with a love for writing about his journeys - to continuously deepen his knowledge on the people and culture of places he was visiting (and to share this knowledge through his writings). After journeying in Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands, he was attached in 1835 to the Arctic expedition of the Recherche; and after a couple of years at Rennes as professor of foreign literature, he visited (1842) Russia, (1845) Syria, (1846) Algeria, (1848–1849) North America and South America, and numerous volumes from his pen were the result. In 1870 he was elected to the Academy, and he was for many years prominently identified with the Sainte-Geneviève library. He did much to encourage the study of Scandinavian literature in France, publishing translations of Holberg, Oehlenschlager and others.

(Le Parnasse des Lettres)


Gustave Léonhard de Jonghe: Music Lesson

Gustave Léonhard de Jonghe, Music Lesson
oil on canvas
posted on Facebook by Sine musica nulla vita
no copyright infringement intended

Gustave Léonard de Jonghe (alias: Gustaaf de Jonghe): (b Kortrijk, Belgium, 1829; d Antwerp, Belgium, 1893) Belgian painter. Jongh was a painter and a watercolorist of figures and genera scenes. He started his artistic training with his father, Jean-Baptist de Jonghe. After his parents died, the young Jongh was granted a small pension by the Corporation of Courtrai to aid him in his study of paintings. He studied under François-Joseph Navez at the Academy of Brussels. Jongh’s painting style was strongly influenced by his friend, and a fellow Belgian painter, Louis Gallait, who also advised Jongh on many of his career decisions. Although Jongh started his career painting historical and sacred subject matter, he is famous for his genre paintings with bourgeois themes and rich materials. In 1855, he became the direct successor of the renowned Belgian painter, Alfred Stevens, in Paris. His painting, The Birthday Wishes was exhibited at the Royal Academy of London in 1875.

(Old Masters)


Saturday, July 28, 2012


no copyright infringement intended

Am primit prin eMail un dar superb dela buna mea prietena Marina Shalmon: un video in care Ciocarlia este cantata de mai multi artisti de ieri si de azi, din diferite tari, de-a lungul si de-a latul Pamantului.

Stiam ca a fost compusa de Anghelus Dinicu, primul reprezentant al unei vestite familii de artisti, de pe video am aflat ca fusese compusa de Ciprian Porumbescu (dar Anghelus Dinicu a facut-o cunoscuta lumii intregi, apoi Grigoras Dinicu i-a fost un interpret fidel, de-a lungul intregii cale vieti).

Nu am cuvinte sa ii multumesc Marinei pentru acest video. De fapt, ii voi spune aici ceva: m-am bucurat tot atat de mult cat s-a bucurat si ea.

Ciocarlia (Skylark)
cantata de-a lungul si de-a latul Pamantului
(video by Blurallis)

(Intalniri neasteptate cu Romani)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tres Palabras

Oye la confesión de mi secreto
Nace de un corazón
Que esta desierto

Con tres palabras
Te diré todas las cosas
Cosas del corazón
Que son preciosas
Dame tus manos, ven
Toma las mías
Que te voy a confiar
Las ansias mías

Son tres palabras
Solamente mis angustias
Y esas palabras son
Como me gustas

Listen to the confession of my secret
It's born from a heart
That is currently deserted

With three words
I will tell you all the things,
Things that have to do with the heart
And that are precious
Give me your hands, come
Take my hands
Because I will confide you with
My distress

Only three words
Are causing me anxiety
And those words are How much
I like you

no copyright infringement intended

Asculta marturisirea tainei mele
Nascuta dintr-o inima
Pe care acum o desert

Cu trei vorbe
Iti voi spune toate
Ce sunt ale inimii
Si-mi sunt de pret
Da-mi mana ta, vino,
Ia-mi mana,
Vreau sa-ti incredintez
Durerea mea.

Doar trei  vorbe
Ce-mi dau neliniste,
Iar vorbele astea sunt
Cat imi placi

(Una Vida Entre Libros)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Easy Rider

Two hippie bikers set out to discover the real America and wind up taking the ultimate bad trip. Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson star in the landmark American film.

Road Trip Renegades: One of the first films to resonate with youth counterculture, Easy Rider opened in July 1969 and launched Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson into the Hollywood limelight. The film about motorcycle bikers and their wild escapade from L.A. to Mardi Gras in New Orleans brought in an unexpected $40 million worldwide (a much-needed boost for the lagging industry at the time). It also clinched Academy Award nominations for both stars: Best Screenplay for Fonda and Best Supporting Actor for Nicholson.

Wyatt and Billy are two motorcycle riders (bikers) on their way to Mardis Gras, and encounter hitchhikers, a drunken lawyer, a jail cell, a whorehouse and the death of a friend.

Easy Rider (1969)
(video by Crackle)

Peter Fonda has here the coolness of Zbigniew Cybulski, and Jack Nicholson is incredibly young and incredibly as good as always. As for Dennis Hopper, he made a great cinematic poem, that frees your spirit.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


a film made by Wolfgang Held and Volker Euler
(video by heldrap)

1992 humorous short film by Wolfgang Held and Volker Euler about their love-hate relationship with Sydney, Australia, as young German travelers. Title song, Life is Wunderbar, written and performed by the 2 filmmakers.

It is an unexpected gem, this 14-minute movie, fresh and with an irresistible rhythm: a bit Expressionist (as the two guys came from Germany, with a deep understanding of the film universe there), a bit Commedia dell'arte (the two guys having a very sure taste in building the perfect environment for their story), and telling volumes about the pure joy in making this movie - two guys very knowledgeable in all cinema stuff, and absolutely happy that the camera was playing with them.

The two make an interesting couple. Volker Euler has a special kind of humor that calls in mind Tom Hanks, while Wolfgang Held is the Commedia dell'arte type, Buratino and Karabas-Barabas in the same time (if you know the story of Aleksey Tolstoy), enchanting, somehow naughty, and even potentially mischievous.

Wolfgang came firstly to Sydney and was charmed by the place: the cityscape was transforming his window into a picture postcard. So he persuaded Volker to come, describing Sydney as the city where everybody was driving in open cars, nobody worked and everybody had money. Volker came there, to find out that there were no jobs and and there were no money. In the following months the two guys kept on searching for a job, any job, while keeping spirits up (as it should have been at their young age). Eventually Wolfgang came out to the conclusion that they should go back to their country.

After some years Wolfgang came again to Sydney and found his old friend. He persuaded him in making a movie, to reenact their story.

Wolfgang Held and Volker Euler were producers, writers, directors, editors, and actors in this movie. Among the people who helped one way or another in the making of this film it was also Pola Rapaport. As an interesting detail, LIFE IS WUNDERBAR is the only movie of Wolfgang where he is not also the Director of Photography.

What happened with the two guys later in life? Twenty years passed since 1992, when the movie was made. I looked on the web to find information about Volker Euler. He remained in Sydney, where he is the North Sydney College Association Executive Officer. Among other responsibilities, he coordinates Worldly Soles, a charity organization. Wolfgang Held is now a well-known DP. He lives in New York and remained the same enthusiastic guy as he was in LIFE IS WUNDERBAR.

Did their adventure have a sense? Says Wolfgang, human beings cannot live without dreams; we need to venture to countries beyond the horizon; and though, our travels might never find the perfect place; keep on moving to this universe, until you find your final.

(Wolfgang Held)

(Pola Rapaport)

Labels: ,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pola Rapaport at the Sarajevo Film Festival

Pola Rapaport was invited at the 2012 Sarajevo Film Festival, as a mentor in a workshop called Rough Cut Boutique. Five films from the Balkan region were chosen for mentorship in the editing stage. The group gave constructive comments to the filmmakers, and Pola worked closely with each filmmaker in individual sessions as well. It was an amazing experience for Pola: it was her first coming to this city, unique in so many respects. I wish I have one day the possibility to see that place with my own eyes: I have read about Sarajevo, and I have seen it in some movies of Kusturica. A great book was written by Anthony Loyd, who was there during the war. It was a horrible war, but I think that ultimately it was not able not change the destiny of this city: to be a place of encounter for three cultures; three opposing cultures finding in that place their complementarities.

(Pola Rapaport)


Leconte de Lisle: Le Dernier Dieu

Bien au-delà des Jours, des Ans, multipliés,
Du vertige des Temps dont la fuite est sans trêve,
Voici ce que j’ai vu, dans l’immuable rêve
Qui me hante, depuis les songes oubliés.

J’errais, seul, sur la Terre. Et la Terre était nue,
L’ancien gémissement de ce qui fut vivant,
Le sanglot de la Mer et le râle du Vent
S’étaient tus à jamais,  sous l’immobile nue.

Par le Vide sans fin, le Globe décharné,
A bout de désespoir, de misère et de force,
Bossuant le granit de sa rugueuse écorce,
S’en allait, oublieux qu’un jour il était né.

Les Iles d’autrefois hérissaient de leurs cimes
Le gouffre monstrueux des Océans taris,
Où s’étaient desséchés la fange et les débris
Des siècles engloutis au fond des vieux abimes.

Funéraire  flambeau d’un sépulcre muet,
Le Soleil épuisé, pendu dans le ciel blême,
Baignait lugubrement de sa lueur suprême
L’immense solitude où rien ne remuait.

Et j’errais en esprit, Ombre qui rôde et passe,
Sans regrets, sans désirs, au hasard emporté,
Reste de l’éphémère et vaine Humanité
Dont un souffle a vanné la cendre dans l’espace.

Et je vis, au plus haut d’un mont, silencieux,
Impassible, plus froid que la neige éternelle,
Un Spectre qui couvait d’une inerte prunelle
L’Univers mort couché sous désert des Cieux.

Majestueux et beau, ce spectre, auguste image
Des Rois Olympiens, enfants des siècles d’or,
Se dressait, tel qu’au temps où l’Homme heureux encor
 Saluait leurs autels d’un libre et fier hommage.

Mais l’Arc, d’où jaillissaient les désirs créateurs,
Gisait parmi les blocs de neige, avec les Ailes
Qui portaient vos baisers, ô blanches Immortelles,
De la bouche des Dieux aux lèvres des pasteurs !

Mais le front n’avait plus ses roses de lumière,
Mais rien ne battait plus dans le sein adoré
Qui versait sur le Monde à son matin sacré
Tes flots brulants et doux, ô Volupté première !

Et le charme et l’horreur, le souvenir amer
Des pleurs sanglants après les heures de délice,
Tous les enivrements du céleste Supplice
Me reprirent au cœur d’une étreinte de fer ;

Et je connus, glacé sur la Terre inféconde,
Que c’était là, rigide, endormi sans retour,
Le dernier, le plus cher des Dieux, l’antique Amour,
Par qui tout vit, sans qui tout mort, l’Homme et le Monde.

When everything will pass away, the last god to resist up to the end will be the god of Love:

Nul ne fut moins impassible que ce grand tourmenté d'amour. L'image d'une vierge approchée à la Réunion, et que la mort a dérobée, s'associera pour lui à l'île natale et à la caresse maternelle (" Le Manchy ", " L'Illusion suprême "). Il a aimé à Paris une femme mariée et leur rupture lui dictera " Les Damnés " (1855), " Le Dernier Souvenir " (1868). Ayant laissé sans réponse l'amour d'une jeune fille qui pour lui renonça au monde (" Les Spectres ", 1866), il aima jusque dans sa vieillesse d'un amour impartagé (" Le Dernier Dieu ", 1886). Contre les exigences de cette sensibilité torturée, il loue l'impassibilité dont les parnassiens se font un masque, souvent mal ajusté au visage.

(Leconte de Lisle)


Georges Méliès: Le Mélomane (1903)

no copyright infringement intended

Méliès was a true genius and pioneer in the craft of making films. With his incredible sense of humor and curiosity, the imagination of audiences could explore regions never before envisioned. Being a true student of the technology of the time, he set a standard for special effects which holds up, even in today’s world of computer generated effects. He invented techniques such as the stop trick and was one of the first to use such features as dissolves, time lapse photography, multiple exposures, and color.

(Georges Méliès)


Georges Méliès

Georges Méliès, ca 1890
no copyright infringement intended

Magicien de profession, Georges Méliès décida de devenir réalisateur suite à la découverte du cinématographe. Cependant, si ses premiers court-métrages n'étaient que des imitation des films des frères Lumière, Méliès, suite à son installation au studio de Montreuil, commença à réaliser des films véritablement uniques.

[Magician by profession, Georges Méliès decided to become a filmmaker as he discovered the cinema. While his first short films were just imitating the movies of the Lumière brothers, it was after his installation at the Montreuil studio that Méliès began to make truly unique films]

(Early Movies)

(Cinéma Français)


A Holy Angel

image posted on Facebook by Poiematike
no copyright infringement intended

sfantul inger. arabesc si lautar,
din adancimi din Iran. Il cunoasteti?
nu? pictura asta exista intr-o moschee din
a Holy Angel, Arab? and musician?
a dervish? coming from the deepness of Iran?
his image does exist, it is in one place,
a mosque, and it is in Tajikistan.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

1939, Near Oklahoma-City

image posted on Facebook by Edelina Stoian
no copyright infringement intended

(America viewed by Americans)

Old Mail Stuff

image posted on Facebook by Edelina Stoian
no copyright infringement intended

(America viewed by Americans)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Jacques Prévert: Pour Faire le Portrait d'un Oiseau

Peindre d'abord une cage
avec une porte ouverte
peindre ensuite
quelque chose de joli
quelque chose de simple
quelque chose de beau
quelque chose d'utile
pour l'oiseau
placer ensuite la toile contre un arbre
dans un jardin
dans un bois
ou dans une forêt
se cacher derrière l'arbre
sans rien dire
sans bouger...
Parfois l'oiseau arrive vite
mais il peut aussi mettre de longues années
avant de se décider
Ne pas se décourager
attendre s'il le faut pendant des années
la vitesse ou la lenteur de l'arrivée de l'oiseau
n'ayant aucun rapport
avec la réussite du tableau
Quand l'oiseau arrive
s'il arrive
observer le plus profond silence
attendre que l'oiseau entre dans la cage
et quand il est entré
fermer doucement la porte avec le pinceau
effacer un à un tous les barreaux
en ayant soin de ne toucher aucune des plumes de l'oiseau
Faire ensuite le portrait de l'arbre
en choisissant la plus belle de ses branches
pour l'oiseau
peindre aussi le vert feuillage et la fraîcheur du vent
la poussière du soleil
et le bruit des bêtes de l'herbe dans la chaleur de l'été
et puis attendre que l'oiseau se décide à chanter
Si l'oiseau ne chante pas
C'est mauvais signe
signe que le tableau est mauvais
mais s'il chante c'est bon signe
signe que vous pouvez signer
Alors vous arrachez tout doucment
une des plumes de l'oiseau
et vous écrivez votre nom dans un coin du tableau.

(video by fguiroy)

First of all, paint a cage
with an opened little door
then paint something attractive
something simple
something beautiful
something of benefit for the bird
Put the picture on a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide yourself behind the tree

Sometimes the bird arrives quickly
but sometimes it takes years
Don't be discouraged
wait for years if necessary
the rapidity or the slowness of the arrival
doesn't have any relationship
with the result of the picture

When the bird comes
if it comes
keep the deepest silence
wait until the bird enters the cage
and when entered in
Close the door softly with the brush
then remove one by the one all the bars
care not to touch any feather of the bird

Then draw the portrait of the tree
choosing the most beautiful branch
for the bird
paint also the green foliage and the coolness
of the beasts of the grass in the summer's heat
and then, wait that the bird starts singing

If the bird doesn't sing
it's a bad sign
it means that the picture is wrong
but if it sings it's a good sign
it means that you can sign

so you tear with sweetness
a feather from the bird
and write your name in a corner of the painting.

(Jacques Prévert)


Friday, July 20, 2012

Joris Ivens: Power and the Land

Shooting of one scene
no copyright infringement intended

A documentary showing the struggle to bring electricity to rural areas of the United States.

I consider Joris Ivens a great poet of the quotidian, but here comes another vein of him: a fascination for the landscape (visible even in his most political movies). I read some place that Ivens, who considered himself firstly a political author, was actually looking in all his films for the landscape. He was making prose without knowing it.

(Joris Ivens)


Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples

Masters of Mercy: Buddha's Amazing Disciples
no copyright infringement intended

From 1854 until his death in 1863, Japanese artist Kano Kazunobu (1816-1863) labored to produce one hundred paintings depicting the miraculous interventions and superhuman activities of the five hundred disciples of the Buddha. The project was commissioned by Zōjō-ji, an elite Pure Land Buddhist temple in Edo (modern-day Tokyo). Now widely regarded as one of the most impressive feats of Buddhist iconography created during the Edo period (1615–1868), this remarkable ensemble was largely overlooked through much of the twentieth century.
A revival of interest began in the 1980s and culminated in a major exhibition in Tokyo in spring 2011, held to commemorate the eight-hundredth anniversary of the death of Hōnen (1133–1212), founder of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism. Zōjō-ji collaborated with the Edo-Tokyo Museum and noted scholars to produce the exhibition, which featured all one hundred paintings along with related works and documentary material. The whole ensemble had not been viewed publicly since World War II.

(Smithsonian Castle)


An Interview of Wolfgang Held

An interview given by Wolfgang Held to ICG Magazine. He's speaking about his background, and his first movies. The guy cinematographed greatly some documentaries, and also some features. I met him firstly in Bucharest: he was shooting Children Underground. It was a great experience to be near him while Family Secret was made. I was playing in that film and we were continuously quarreling. But I realized what a great cinematographer he is. Unfortunately we don't cope each other. But he is great.

Here is the interview:

(Wolfgang Held)


Jacques Prévert: Il pleut

Illustration: Josephine Wall
no copyright infringement intended

Il pleut il pleut
Il fait beau
Il fait du soleil
Il est tot
Il se fait tard
Toujours il
Toujours il qui pleut et qui neige
Toujours il qui fait du soleil
Toujours il
Pourquoi pas elle?
Jamais elle
Pourtent elle aussi
Souvent se fait belle!

This was the first French poem learned by my granddaughter Bianca. She put it on her blog. I copied it from there. Bianca mentioned, in case you're wondering, it's about how it's always about "he" and not "her"(you'd understand it better if you knew French). Bianca is now twelve and started to learn French.

(Jacques Prévert)


Leconte de Lisle: Aux Modernes

Leconte de Lisle, alors bibliothécaire du Sénat et qui devait faire peur aux enfants, 1877
[Leconte de Lisle, then librarian of the Senate, supposed to scare children]
no copyright infringement intended

Vous vivez lâchement, sans rêve, sans dessein,
Plus vieux, plus décrépits que la terre inféconde,
Châtrés dès le berceau par le siècle assassin
De toute passion vigoureuse et profonde.

Votre cervelle est vide autant que votre sein,
Et vous avez souillé ce misérable monde
D’un sang si corrompu, d’un souffle si malsain,
Que la mort germe seule en cette boue immonde.

Hommes, tueurs de Dieux, les temps ne sont pas loin
Où, sur un grand tas d’or vautrés dans quelque coin,
Ayant rongé le sol nourricier jusqu’aux roches

Ne sachant faire rien ni des jours ni des nuits,
Noyés dans le néant des suprêmes ennuis,
Vous mourrez bêtement en emplissant vos poches.

I wish I have lived my life in Paris, and for me the end of the 1940's is a moment I am linked when it comes to the city on the Seine. I was three years old when I left Paris, and it was in 1948. I came back for a week in 1999, and I was looking for the signs of the epoch of my distant childhood. I looked for them everywhere, the kiosks on the streets, the escalators in the subway stations, and many others. There were signs I was suddenly rediscovering, long time hidden in deep zones of my memory. Or maybe I was imagining I was rediscovering anything, maybe there were actually signs inscribed in me in the Bucharest of the beginning of the fifties.

I know that for a sensible person happening to come to Paris in 1948, when I was leaving, the moment to look for would have been the 1920's, the times of the Lost Generation, all those Hemingways, and Fitzgeralds. and Porters, and Picassos, and Bunuels.

And for them, the time to dream of would have been the 1880's, the Parnassians, and the Impressionists, and the Post-Impressionists, and so many others.

And for a Parnassian, as Leconte de Lisle was? I remember a splendid phrase that I read in a book that's so dear to me. It's a History of the National Theatre from Bucharest, and of course references to Paris come there many times. And the phrase is flowing, it was a time when the French universe dreamed to be like the Spanish.

(Leconte de Lisle)

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Girlhood of Mary Virgin

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, 1848-1849
oil on canvas
Tate Britain
no copyright infringement intended

et ait Maria magnificat anima mea Dominum
et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo
quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes
quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est et sanctum nomen eius
et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies timentibus eum
fecit potentiam in brachio suo dispersit superbos mente cordis sui
deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles
esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimisit inanes
suscepit Israhel puerum suum memorari misericordiae
sicut locutus est ad patres nostros Abraham et semini eius in saecula

William Bell Scott saw Girlhood in progress in Hunt's studio and remarked on young Rossetti's technique: He was painting in oils with water-colour brushes, as thinly as in water-colour, on canvas which he had primed with white till the surface was a smooth as cardboard, and every tint remained transparent. I saw at once that he was not an orthodox boy, but acting purely from the aesthetic motive. The mixture of genius and dilettantism of both men shut me up for the moment, and whetted my curiosity.

The following two sonnets (the first telling the history described by Rossetti's work, the second explaining the symbols used in the painting)  are inscribed beside each other on the bottom of the frame:


This is that blessed Mary, pre-elect
God's Virgin. Gone is a great while, and she
Was young in Nazareth of Galilee.
Her kin she cherished with devout respect:

Her gifts were simpleness of intellect
And supreme patience. From her mother's knee
Faithful and hopeful; wise in charity;
Strong in grave peace; in duty circumspect.

So held she through her girlhood; as it were
 An angel-watered lily, that near God
Grows, and is quiet. Till one dawn, at home,

She woke in her white bed, and had no fear
At all, yet wept till sunshine, and felt awed;
Because the fulness of the time was come.


These are the symbols. On that cloth of red
I' the centre, is the Tripoint, perfect each
Except the second of its points, to teach
That Christ is not yet born. The books (whose head

Is golden Charity, as Paul hath said)
Those virtues are wherein the soul is rich:
Therefore on them the lily standeth, which
Is Innocence, being interpreted.

The seven-thorned briar and the palm seven-leaved
Are her great sorrows and her great reward
Until the time be full, the Holy One

Abides without. She soon shall have achieved
Her perfect purity: yea, God the Lord
Shall soon vouchsafe His Son to be her Son.

Sonnet form: abba abba cde cde


(Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

Labels: , ,

Regina Maria - 74 ani de la trecerea in nefiinta

imagine publicata pe Facebook de catre Alexandru Ursu-Bukowina
no copyright infringement intended

Te binecuvantez, iubita Romanie, tara bucuriilor si durerilor mele, frumoasa tara, care ai trait in inima mea si ale carei carari le-am cunoscut toate. Frumoasa tara pe care am vazut-o intregita, a carei soarta mi-a fost ingaduit sa o vad implinita. Fii tu vesnic imbelsugata, fii tu mare si plina de cinste, sa stai vesnic falnica printre natiuni, sa fii cinstita, iubita si priceputa.


Leconte de Lisle: Paysage Polaire

Un monde mort, immense écume de la mer,
Gouffre d'ombre stérile et de lueurs spectrales,
Jets de pics convulsifs étirés en spirales
Qui vont éperdument dans le brouillard amer.

Un ciel rugueux, roulant par blocs, un âpre enfer,
Où passent à plein vol les clameurs sépulcrales,
Les rires, les sanglots, les cris aigus, les râles
Qu'un vent sinistre arrache à son clairon de fer.

Sur les hauts caps branlants, rongés des flots voraces,
Se roidissent les Dieux brumeux des vieilles races,
Congelés dans leur rêve et leur lividité ;

Et les grands ours, blanchis par les neiges antiques,
çà et là, balançant leurs cous épileptiques,
Ivres et monstrueux, bavent de volupté.

Sonnet form: abba abba ccd eed

(video by Arnaute)

J’aurais dû naitre et vivre, aurait déclare un jour Leconte de Lisle, au fond de quelque fjord de Norvège, dans un perpétuel brouillard, comme les phoques dont je partage les gouts et les mœurs (Nouveaux Classiques Larousse) [I should have been born and lived, would have said once Leconte de Lisle, at the bottom of any given fjord of Norway, in a perpetual fog, like seals, which I share the tastes and customs].

Science of that time was considering the possibility of a cosmic end. For Leconte de Lisle, this would have meant frozen nature, frozen life, along with frozen legends: mythology with its gods from immemorial times as part of the cosmos, together with the whole nature and life. Thus the end of universe brings with it the end of history - end of our long time shaped values. 

(Leconte de Lisle)

Labels: ,

Jean-François Millet: a Portrait of Leconte de Lisle

Leconte de Lisle was born on the island of Réunion. His father, an army surgeon, who brought him up with great severity, sent him to travel in the East Indies with a view to preparing him for a commercial life. After this voyage he went to Rennes to complete his education, studying especially Greek, Italian and history. He returned once or twice to Réunion, but in 1846 settled definitely in Paris. His first volume, La Venus de Milo, attracted to him a number of friends many of whom were passionately devoted to classical literature. In 1873 he was made assistant librarian at the Luxembourg Palace; in 1886 he was elected to the Académie française in succession to Victor Hugo. His Poèmes antiques appeared in 1852; Poèmes et poésies in 1854; Le Chemin de la croix in 1859; the Poèmes barbares, in their first form, in 1862; Les Érinnyes, a tragedy after the Greek model, in 1872; for which occasional music was provided by Jules Massenet; the Poèmes tragiques in 1884; L'Apollonide, another classical tragedy, in 1888; and two posthumous volumes, Derniers poèmes in 1899, and Premières poésies et lettres intimes in 1902. In addition to his original work in verse, he published a series of admirable prose translations of Theocritus, Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Horace. He died at Voisins, near Louveciennes, in the department Yvelines.

(Jean-François Millet)

(Leconte de Lisle)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Leconte de Lisle

In Leconte de Lisle the Parnassian movement seems to crystallize. His verse is clear, sonorous, dignified, deliberate in movement, classically correct in rhythm, full of exotic local color, of savage names, of realistic rhetoric.

Dès son premier recueil, sa vie durant et pour la postérité, Leconte de Lisle a eu son personnage, sa légende : impossibilité, morgue aristocratique, misanthropie; a chacun de ces reproches, sa vie, comme son œuvre, prête évidemment le flanc.

[From his first book, during his life, and then for posterity, Leconte de Lisle had his character, his legend: inability, aristocratic morgue, misanthropy; and for each of these criticisms, his life, his work, are of course open]

(Le Parnasse des Lettres)