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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pyaar, Ishk, Mohabbat

Keerthi Reddy in Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat
(प्यार इश्क और मुहब्बत)
no copyright infringement intended

(click here for the Romanian version)

It all began with an essay about Slavonic influences in Romanian language (Vechea slava, slavona si graiurile slavilor). More precisely, it began from a sentence there: the author (Dan Caragea) considered that Romanian would be the only language having love offered  in a triplet of synonyms (dragoste - iubire - amor), the three of them with almost the same meaning, while infinitely nuanced (nu cunosc nici o altă limbă în care să ni se ofere tripletul dragoste – iubire – amor, toate trei cuvintele având aproape acelaşi înţeles, dar infinit deosebite în nuanţe...)

Now, you'd ask me, what would be the reason of such a statement within an essay dealing with Slavonic influences? Well, dragoste and iubire are words of Slavonic origin, while amor is Latin, that's why.

No other language with such a tender triplet? The statement was refuted in a comment made on the essay by Ahmed Abd Al-Wahhab, who stressed out the existence of such a triplet in Hindi and Urdu (pyaar - ishk - mohabbat), also in Farsi and Arabic (an extremely rich language, he said, where a word can have in average 6 to 10 synonyms, each one being subtly differentiated by the sentence context).

Well, if we came to Hindi and Urdu, let's try to clarify this: which of them was the first? From what I know, Urdu was the first (and I could be wrong, of course). Romanian language has an archaic word, ordie, which means army or military camp. It came in Romanian from Turkish, and it is linked to the Urdu language, which initially was the language of the army, the Muslim conquerors of the Indian peninsula. A language where strong Arabic /Farsi influences have been mixed with words of many neighboring countries crossed by that army. And then, much later, the Hindu intelligentsia, in an epoch of affirming its national identity, took Urdu and tried to purify it from non-Indian elements, as much as it was possible, firstly by using devanāgari as alphabet. The outcome was the Hindi language. Anyway, Hindi and Urdu speakers understand each other perfectly.

Rigveda manuscript in Devanāgari (early 19th century)
binding: India, 19th c., blind-stamped brown leather, gilt spine, sewn on 5 cords, marbled endleaves
no copyright infringement intended

Now let's come back to the tender triplet (dragoste - iubire - amor). Obviously Romanian cannot be the only language offering synonyms for love. As well as there could also be tongues where the word love is missing (I found such an example long time ago, in a novel, Carlton, authored by Cezar Petrescu : according to him, Eskimos would have forty synonyms for ice, while nothing for love; though I think it's not true - there should be at least one word).

Beginning to look for the tender triplet in Hindi (and further in Urdu, Farsi, and Arabic), I came upon a Bollywood movie named no more no less than Pyaar Ishq aur Mohabbat (प्यार इश्क और मुहब्बत), the English title being Love, Amour and Romance (thus we have a tender triplet also in Shakespeare's tongue, and actually we should add endearment, and tenderness, and some other synonyms, too).

Speaking about movies, a Turkish TV series aired currently is named Aşk ve Ceza (Love and Punishment). Thus love is in Turkish aşk, which is very much alike with ishk from the title of the Indian movie (that carries in Hindi the same meaning, love, as we can see).

So I had the word in Turkish, and its three synonyms in Hindi, I needed to find, if possible, their correspondents in Urdu, Farsi and Arabic.

Now and then I enjoy tracing some Romanian words, and, in case they came from Turkish, I'm trying further to find the word in Arabic and Farsi, and then even further, if possible. In this case a better approach was to take the reverse way: starting from Hindi, as I already had the pyaar - ishk - mohabbat triplet (even with devanāgari characters: प्यार - इश्क - मुहब्बत).

Unfortunately I don't know any of these languages, not having even the so called basic knowledge. I must rely heavily on dictionaries (and for all these languages I have access only to web dictionaries, which offer some basic help, not too much). More than that, looking for synonyms is not what web dictionaries are supposed to provide. Above all, these languages (with the exception of Turkish) do not use the Latin alphabet (and generally do not write the vowels).

For transliteration there is a bunch of websites offering great tools:

I used these websites in two ways: either finding a word with a web dictionary and then getting its transliteration (for instance प्यार, then pyaar), or guessing a a word and building it character by character in the alphabet of that language, then checking whether my guess was correct (using for this again a web dictionary).

I took firstly the Hindi word प्यार (pyaar) and I rebuilt it in Urdu: پیار which transliterated gives something like paar, checking then the word with the dictionaries, I found in Hindi pyaar, and in English love. I was not able to find pyaar in Farsi or Arabic. It seems from what I read that pyaar is a word coming from the Hindu culture, so no wonder it does not exist in Arabic or Farsi.

I was luckier with ishk: I found it in Hindi (इश्क), Urdu (عشق), Farsi (عشق), and Arabic (عشق). The same with mohabbat: in Hindi (मुहब्बत), Urdu (محبت), Farsi (محبت), and in Farsi comes from Arabic - hub (حب).

And the tender triplet is in Hindi actually a quadruplet:  prem (प्रेम), means again love, only this word does not appear in Farsi and Arabic any more (while existing in many other languages spoken in India - its origin is Sanskrit).

Now, if we want to differentiate between synonyms, I found a web forum (http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=507122) from which I realized that in India, like in England, anyone has her or his own idea when to say love and when romance. Anyway ishk and mohabbat came to India from Arabic via Farsi / Urdu, while pyaar si prem were found by Urdu speakers in India.

Here is a bunch of web pages where all these words are discussed and compared each other:

(Dan Caragea)


Monday, July 29, 2013

Peace to Him Who Enters

(click here for the Romanian version)

May 1945. A German baby is born and he is peeing on a bunch of rifles. Is it Soviet weaponry, the new occupiers? Or is it rather German weaponry, war capture? We'll never know. We only know that the last day of war is also the first day of peace, and war means weaponry deciding on life, while peace means life ignoring weaponry.

A day earlier, Junior Lieutenant Ivlev, a fresh graduate of the military school, had come to duty, eager to prove his heroism and love for Motherland. Of course, he was a bit tensioned, it would have been his first day of war, and he didn't like the idea he was just a big boy, just out of teenage. He wanted arduously the baptism of fire. And the following evening, night and morning would indeed be for him a rite of passage, while not a rite of war, instead a rite of getting some basic truths of life.

The first lesson comes from his commander: before being Junior Lieutenant Ivlev he is just Sasha - the commander has passed through too much of war and likes to work with casual people, with a given name, or even a nickname, anything but abstract military ranks.

Sasha is given two privates under his command, along with a truck, and the order to carry a German pregnant woman to the hospital. It doesn't sound baptism of fire, however an order is always an order.

One of the privates, the truck driver, a dodger always eyes on chicks, teaches Sasha what casual heroism means. The driver is killed by a stray bullet, and the other private starts writing the name at the grave. The pencil also dies and just a word remains, soldier...

The other private, a bit older, does not speak any more, he remained chocked from a fight. During the night the truck passes a tunnel, and is met by a group of German teenagers, boys of sixteen, seventeen, enrolled. They shoot at the truck and then run away. One of them remains, defying the Russians and waiting to be killed. And this old soldier approaches the German and instead of shooting him, only pulls his pants down and gives him some belts - and the hero becomes again a kid, frightened and crying.

An unexpected encounter with another truck driver, an American GI this time, and Sasha will discover that people can understand each other even if each talks only his tongue.

The German woman is hostile to them, of course. Beside the language barrier there is the fact that she belongs to the defeated side and they are the conquerors. And her husband died in this war. However, little by little she will realize that these enemies are just normal people carrying her to the hospital.

Last day of war, first day of peace. The only sense of life so far has been hating the enemy. What will happen from now on?

We know very well now that the traces left by the war continued to poison everything for decades to come. However, in that day peace was entering the world with a message of its own: a new life was beginning, peeing on the symbols of war. That baby, if still alive today, would be my age. My generation, born in that year, we were the proof that something so horrible was over. For those looking for a new sense of life, there was an answer: Мир входящему, Peace to Him Who Enters!

Was this an intelligent propaganda movie? Maybe, however carrying a powerful message, beyond any propaganda: each new life is a new chance for a new world, without the past wars and injustices.

Three Soviet movies made by the end of the 1950's, during a political period of relative openness, all three speaking about war in a very special way: Баллада о солдате (Ballad of a Soldier) by Chukhray, Летят журавли (The Cranes Are Flying) by Kalatazov, and Мир входящему (Peace to Him Who Enters) by Alov and Naumov. I should also add Чистое Небо (Clear Heaven) by Chukhray, and Иваново детство (Ivan's Childhood) by Tarkovsky.

Мир входящему (Peace to Him Who Enters), 1961
Младший лейтенант Ивлев
(video by Russian Shots Supervis)

(Russian and Soviet Cinema)

Pace Noului Venit

(click here for the English version)

Mai 1945. Se naste un bebelus german si face imediat pipi pe un manunchi de arme. Sunt arme ale militarilor sovietici, care au ocupat orasul? Sau sunt arme capturate dela militarii germani? Nu vom sti niciodata. Vom sti doar ca ultima zi de razboi este si prima zi de pace, razboiul inseamna arme care comanda viata oamenilor, pacea inseamna o noua viata care soseste si intra in lume, si n-are habar de arme.

Cu o zi inainte, sublocotenetul Ivlev, proaspat absolvent al scolii militare de ofiteri, se prezentase la datorie. Ardea de nerabdare sa isi dovedeasca eroismul si dragostea de patrie. Era desigur putin prea tensionat, urma sa fie prima lui zi de razboi, il enerva gandul ca nu era si el decat un baietoi, inca neiesit prea bine din adolescenta. Isi dorea cu ardoare botezul focului, sa isi dovedeasca vitejia. Iar seara, noaptea si dimineata ce va urma, va fi intr-adevar un rit de pasaj pentru sublocotenent, dar nu un rit  de barbatie razboinica, ci un rit de intelegere a unor adevaruri fundamentale ale vietii.

Va invata dela comandantul la care s-a prezentat ca inainte de a fi sublocotenent Ivlev, este pur si simplu Sasha. Deoarece comandantul a avut parte de prea multe in razboi, si vrea sa aiba de-a face cu oameni in carne si oase, si nu cu grade militare abstracte.

Va primi in subordine doi soldati si un camion, iar sarcina lor va fi sa duca o nemtoaica gravida sa nasca la spital. Ceea ce nu este deloc botezul focului, dar ordinul e ordin.

Unul din soldati, soferul, este un smecher, tot timpul cu ochii dupa gagici si tot timpul cu poante de golan. Sublocotenentul va invata dela el ca eroismul in razboi e ceva mult mai simplu decat scrie in carti. Soldatul moare de un glonte ratacit, si pe piatra lui de mormant celalalt vrea sa ii scrie numele, dar creionul se rupe, si atat va ramane scris pe mormant: soldat...

Celalalt soldat, mai batran, nu mai vorbeste deloc, a fost socat intr-o lupta. Iar in timpul noptii, trecand printr-un tunel, sunt intampinati de un grup de adolescenti germani, copii de 16 - 17 ani inrolati, care trag in camion si apoi fug. Unul insa ramane pe loc, sfidandu-i pe rusi, asteptand sa fie omorat. Si soldatul asta batran si amutit de razboi, in loc sa il impuste, ii da pantalonii jos si ii trage cateva curele la fund. Iar eroul redevine copil si incepe sa planga de spaima.

Un militar american este intalnit pe drum, si sublocotenentul va descoperi ca oamenii se pot intelege intre ei chiar daca fiecare vorbeste numai limba lui.

Nemtoaica le este desigur ostila, pe langa bariera de limba, ea este infranta intr-un razboi care i-a omorat si barbatul, iar ei sunt dusmanii care i-au ocupat tara. Si incetul cu incetul va descoperi in dusmani niste oameni, care o duc la spital sa nasca.

Ultima zi de razboi, intaia zi de pace. Totul a avut un sens pana acum, sensul distrugerii si al ororilor. Sensul urii impotriva dusmanilor. Si atat de multe lucruri care s-au intamplat au lasat rani de nevindecat. Oare cum va fi pacea? Ce va trebui sa facem? care va mai fi sensul nostru?

Dupa cum stim toti, urmele produse de un razboi atat de crancen s-au sters greu. Oamenii au ramas incrancenati. Zidurile aveau sa se reconstruiasca, desi atunci, in prima zi de pace, nu ar fi parut posibil. Ura si incrancenarea aveau sa ramana, mult prea mult timp.

Insa pacea intra in lume cu un mesaj al ei: o noua viata se nastea, si facea pipi pe arme. Un bebelus, acum, daca mai traieste, e de varsta noastra, noi ne-am nascut in acel an, sau imediat dupa aceea. Noi am fost simbolul ca totusi ceva foarte rau s-a sfarsit. Noi am adus atunci viata si am pus-o in drepturile ei.

Prima zi de pace, ce va insemna pacea? Atunci in ziua aceea, cei de acolo aveau un raspuns; Pace noului venit, pace celui care intra in lume.

Au fost trei filme sovietice facute la sfarsitul anilor 50, in perioada de deschidere din timpul lui Hrusciov. A fost Balada Soldatului, a lui Ciuhrai, a fost Zboara Cocorii, a lui Kalatazov, si a fost Pace Noului Venit, a lui Alov si Naumov.

Cum l-as judeca acum, dupa atatia ani? Cand l-am vazut, eram foarte tanar si optimist. Astazi, imi vine greu sa nu ma gandesc la ce a insemnat ocupatia sovietica in estul Europei, dupa sfarsitul razboiului, la atatea crime si orori care au insotit-o.

Si sunt tentat sa zic, da, e un  film frumos, dar e un film de propaganda. Si desigur greu de crezut.

Insa mesajul filmului imi ramane, dincolo de orice propaganda, dincolo de ranile adanci lasate de razboi si de tot ce a fost dupa razboi. Mesajul acesta ca pacea inseamna in primul rand o noua viata, un copil care vine si are dreptul sa isi traiasca sansa de a nu mai avea parte de razboi si de ororile lui.

Dat-mi voie sa va recomand cateva scene din film. Le veti intelege foarte bine, desi nu stiti ruseste:

Мир входящему (Peace to Him Who Enters), 1961
Младший лейтенант Ивлев
(video by Russian Shots Supervis)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Ode To Man from Sophocles’ Antigone

Antigone and Ismene in a dialog about Beckett paraphrasing Hegel: if you think you know some facts about the two heroines of Sophocles, maybe it's time to forget everything and listen to the lesson given by Anne Carson. Her astonishing translation of the tragedy is faithfull to Sophocles, while going away from him, challenging the old Greek to be our contemporary.

Many terribly quiet customers exist but none more
terribly quiet than Man:
his footsteps pass so perilously soft across the sea
in marble winter,
up the stiff blue waves and every Tuesday
down he grinds the unastonishable earth
with horse and shatter.

Shatters too the cheeks of birds and traps them in his forest headlights,
salty silvers roll into his net, he weaves it just for that,
this terribly quiet customer.
He dooms
animals and mountains technically,
by yoke he makes the bull bend, the horse to its knees.

And utterance and thought as clear as complicated air and
moods that make a city moral, these he taught himself.
The snowy cold he knows to flee
and every human exigency crackles as he plugs it in:
every outlet works but
Death stays dark.

Death he cannot doom.
Fabrications notwithstanding.
honest oath taking notwithstanding.

Hilarious in his high city
you see him cantering just as he please,
the lava up to here.

(Anne Carson)


Friday, July 26, 2013

Anne Carson

Anne Carson
no copyright infringement intended

Is she a poet? It's something more than poetry in her poems. Some say it's something less, it means the same: her poetry is slightly stranger than poetry. Is she from our world? No, she rather comes from outer spaces. Or, rather from outer times. She lives the times of ancient Greeks, meditating their writings, rendering their epoch. It sounds strange, of course. Are we aware that we are just footnotes of their culture?

(A Life in Books)


Alfred North Whitehead

The European philosophical tradition is a series of footnotes to Plato
Alfred North Whitehead
(1861 - 1947)
no copyright infringement intended

He has been called the greatest speculative mind of his century.

(A Life in Books)

Daniel Alarcón: The Idiot President (urmat de Collectors)

illustration for The Idiot President
from The New Yorker
no copyright infringement intended

(click here for the English version)

Nu sariti imediat, nu este vorba de un presedinte de republica real, fie el din prezentul nostru turbulent, fie dintr-un trecut mai mult sau mai putin nebulos, fie dintr-un viitor care sa se contrazica pe el insusi. Desi se cam potriveste. Este titlul unei povestiri de Daniel Alarcón, aparuta in The NewYorker in 2008: chiar asa-i zice, The Idiot President - si in povestire este vorba de o piesa de teatru cu exact acelasi titlu, The Idiot President. O piesa cu trei personaje:un presedinte (idiot), fiul sau (alt idiot), si valetul presedintelui (cel mai idiot). Valetul este schimbat in fiecare zi, pentru ca presedintele are nevoie de variatie. Iar pentru a fi schimbat, fiul il indeamna pe valet sa se revolte impotriva presedintelui. La inceput valetul refuza sa isi creada urechilor, pentru ca este atat de idiot incat nu poate sa isi inchipuie ca altcineva ar putea fi presedinte. Insa fiul stie sa ii vorbeasca frumos si il convinge. Valetul se revolta (numai in vorbe, evident), impotriva presedintelui, iar fiul il paraste lui tatane-sau. Presedintele, suparat de tradarea valetului, il condamna la moarte, si astfel, a doua zi de dimineata va avea un nou valet.

Iar povestirea este centrata pe aceasta piesa de teatru, care este jucata de o trupa de actori cam prea independenti, din sat in sat si din orasel in orasel. Toate astea se intampla in Peru. Unul din actori este chiar autorul piesei de teatru. Il cheama Henry. Un al doilea este un bun prieten al lui Henry, iar al treilea este naratorul povestii (adica povestea e povestita la persoana intaia, ati prins ideea). Acest al treilea este un tanar care asteapta sa primeasca viza si sa se care in Statele Unite la frate-sau. Din cauza asta il cam doare-n cot de tot ce se intampla in tara, oricum va pleca, si de aceea accepta sa joace si in piesa asta, care este cam provocatoare, ce-i drept. Se intampla diverse chestii, se mai trage cate o betie, intr-unul din sate nu exista lumina electrica (reteaua alimenteaza acolo doar baracile inginerilor americani veniti sa exploateze o mina locala de carbune).

O poveste picaresca, naratorul este un gen de picaro, hai sa zicem un ratat simpatic, subiectul nu este esential, sirul de intamplari legate intre ele foarte aproximativ schiteaza un tablou al acestei lumi de oameni foarte saraci. Cei trei artisti (mai mult autointitulati astfel) care joaca in fiecare seara in alt loc sunt niste anti-eroi postmoderni sau ceva in genul asta, si aduc cu ei o aura suprareala, transformand realitatea bruta intr-un univers imaginar - numai ca acest imaginar nu este o fereastra idealizanta, ci are efectul unui revelator peste toate nedreptatile si absurdul. Iar uneori sublimul: in satul fara electricitate, locuitorii vin la teatru purtand pe cap castile lor de mineri, cu lampasele aprinse, iar piesa se joaca la lumina a sute de licurici.

In final, viza de America tot intarzie sa soseasca, mai trec vreo cativa ani, iar naratorul ajunge sa dea interviuri dupa interviuri sa fie angajat undeva, insa fara succes: odata ce esti un picaro, ramai un picaro.

illustration for Collectors
from The New Yorker
no copyright infringement intended

Dintr-o alta povestire a aceluiasi Daniel Alarcón (Collectors, publicata in The New Yorkers in numarul lor cel mai recent) aflam ce s-a intamplat mai departe. Pana la urma Henry a fost trimis la puscarie pentru piesa sa de teatru, fiind considerat un terorist, l-a intalnit in inchisoare pe Rosalio, un tanar analfabet, iar cei doi s-au indragostit unul de celalalt. Henry a reusit sa organizeze in inchisoare un spectacol cu The Idiot President, folosindu-i pe ceilalti detinuti in distributie - toata povestea asta imi aminteste de Sărutul Femeii Păianjen (El Beso de la Mujer Araña, Kiss of the Spider Woman), romanul lui Manuel Puig.

Tehnica folosita de Daniel Alarcón aici este diferita de cea din The Idiot President: este mai intai povestea lui Rosalio, apoi cea a lui Henry, independente una de alta, amandoua varsandu-se in universul inchisorii, un univers absurd unde singura regula este ca pentru a se intampla ceva, acel ceva trebuie sa cntrazica logica. O lume dantesca vazuta cu ochi picaresti: acelasi imaginar construit peste realitate si actionand ca un revelator peste toate grozaviile si absurdul. Si sublimul, nelipsind nici el: spectacolul de teatru organizat in inchisoare, de exemplu, sau dragostea care se naste intre cei doi.

Dupa cativa ani in inchisoare are loc o revolta, armata intervine in forta si toti detinutii sunt omorati.


The Idiot President (followed by Collectors)

illustration for The Idiot President
from The New Yorker
no copyright infringement intended

(click here for the Romanian version)

Don't jump on hasty conclusions, it's not about a real president, from our turbulent present, or from a nebulous past, or from some self-contradictory future. Though it fits somehow. It's the title of a story by Daniel Alarcón, published in The NewYorker in 2008: just that, The Idiot President - and this story is about a play carrying the same title, The Idiot President. The play is about a president (who is an idiot), his son (also an idiot), and the president's valet (the biggest idiot). The valet is changed daily, as the president enjoys variation. In order to make this happen, the president's son takes time to persuade the valet to revolt against his boss. The valet refuses firstly to think about it (he is so idiot, to the point not to realize that a president is replaceable, after all), but eventually he is gained by the idea of revolt (just by the idea, he doesn't go further). Then the son reports to his father about the valet's treason. So the president condemns the valet to death and hires another guy.

A troupe of self-declared independent artists tours the country with this play, village after village and small town after small town. It's in Peru. One of the artists is just the author of the play, a guy whose name is Henry. The second artist is an old friend of Henry. The third is the narrator (you gotcha, the story is written in the first person). This narrator is waiting for a visa to leave the country and move to the States, so he doesn't care anymore for what's going on and joins the troupe, as provocative and useless as it looks like. Various things happen on the road, drunkenness and stuff, one of the towns has no electricity, as the provider supplies only the villas of American managers (it's a mining center, and the managers are from US, so it goes).

A picaresque story, the narrator is somehow a picaro, let's say a sympathetic looser, the plot is not essential, the loosely connected events are sketching a picture of these poor villages and towns. The three guys playing each evening in a new place are  post-modern anti-heroes or something, and they bring a surreal aura over everything, transforming the raw reality in an imaginary universe - only this imaginary world is not an idealized window of the reality, it's simply revealing all the wrongs and absurdities there. Sometimes also sublime niceties: in the town without electricity, people come  to the theater equipped with their mining hard hats and headlamps, and so the show takes place lighted by hundreds of glow-worms.

The theatrical tour ends, some years pass, for the narrator the US visa keeps on delaying, and he keeps on trying to find a job. No way: once a picaro, always a picaro.

illustration for Collectors
from The New Yorker
no copyright infringement intended

From another story of Daniel Alarcón (Collectors, published in The New Yorkers in their most recent issue) we learn what followed. Eventually Henry was put in jail for his play, being considered a terrorist, he met in prison Rosalio, a young illiterate, and they fell in love. Henry managed to organize a show with The Idiot President in prison, using the inmates as cast - that's a story calling in mind Manuel Puig's Kiss of the Spider Woman.

The technique of Daniel Alarcón is here different than it was in The Idiot President: there is the story of Rosalio, and the story of Henry, independent one another, and they both flow in the prison, an absurd universe where you must expect only the unexpected, the sole rule being that anything that happen must defy the logic, otherwise it cannot happen. An infamous prison, a Dantesque world, seen with picaresque eyes: the same imaginary universe revealing in the raw reality all stupidities and absurdities. Also sublime niceties: the show organized in prison for instance, or the emerging love between the two inmates.

After some years a revolt starts in prison, the army comes to restore order, and all prisoners are killed.

(Daniel Alarcón)


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Winslow Homer, Blown Away (c.1888)

Winslow Homer, Blown Away
watercolor and graphite on paper, c.1888
Brooklyn Museum
no copyright infringement intended

I would like to thank here Marcia Bujold from which I share this image. I love the art of Winslow Homer. It has in the same time energy, delicacy, a dreaming mood, subtlety, it's incredible. And I love Maine.

Here is what someone commented on this image, speaking of another work of Winslow Homer, there is a pastel he did of two women walking along the coast of Maine, and the wind is blowing their long skirts, and one is knitting. It is one of my favorites, along with all of the rest, and the one I chose to do when we were assigned to emulate an artist of our choice. Most did choose the Impressionists, but I fancied Homer for some odd reason...a very good reason, I think...It is a charcoal...blacks, greys, reds, me thinks. Well I just love him and I love the boats on the sea.... (Désirée Krueger)

(Brooklyn Museum)

(Winslow Homer)

Labels: , ,

Tot despre Daniel Alarcón

(click here for the English version)

Nascut in Peru, s-a mutat in State cand avea trei ani. La zece ani il citise pe Kundera. (va fi aflat intre timp de Café Kundera din Istanbul? mai bine zis din romanul lui Elif Shafak, Bastarda Istanbulului ?) - la unsprezece il memoriza pe Shakespeare. La doisprezece trecuse la lucruri mai serioase: Vargas Llosa. La saisprezece citea patruzeci de carti in patruzeci de zile. Ei, nici chiar asa! Dupa ce a absolvit Universitatea Columbia din New York talentele lui literare fusesera de acum remarcate si a fost sfatuit sa scrie despre tara sa natala, Peru. Ca deh, ca sa scrii in State despre State, asta poate oricine. Numai ca el nu-si cunostea deloc tara natala. Dela trei ani traise in State. Asa ca atunci cand a castigat o bursa Fulbright pentru studii de anhropologie, s-a dus cu ea in Peru, si-a gasit o locuinta mizerabila intr-o mahala imunda din Lima si a trait o vreme acolo, intens, cu ochii mari, cu narile palpitand, cu urechile lungite. La 26 de ani publica in The New Yorker, City of Clowns (Ciudad de Payasos, Orașul de Paiaţe). E o poveste fabuloasa. War by Candlelight (Guerra a la Luz de Las Velas, Razboi la Lumina Lămpii) a venit in 2006, un volum de povestiri. A urmat Lost City Radio (Radio Ciudad Perdida, Postul de Radio al Orașului Pierdut), un roman tradus pana acum in vreo zece limbi. In prezent Daniel Alarcón locuieste in Oakland, California si se considera un norteamerincaico—un nordamerincan—cetatean al unei lumi interconectate in continua miscare [http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/innovators/alarcon.html].

Nu imi dau seama daca scrie mai intai in spaniola si apoi si le traduce in engleza sau invers, dar are o putere fantastica de a crea un univers, bazandu-se pe simtul lui de a percepe realitatea peruviana si in genere latino-americana - plecand dela amanuntele acestei realitati si creand un univers care eate numai al lui. Mi-am comandat cartile lui, si intre timp citesc tot ce a aparut pe web.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Daniel Alarcón

(click here for the Romanian version)

Born in Peru, he left for US as a toddler. By age ten he had read Kundera. At eleven he was memorizing Shakespeare. At twelve he had moved on to Vargas Llosa. At sixteen he was reading forty books in forty days. Wow! After graduating Columbia University, he was advised to write about his native Peru. Only he didn't know actually Peru. So when he gained a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a study of anthropology, he went to Lima and lived there for a while in one of the poorest barios, At twenty six he published in The New Yorker, City of Clowns (Ciudad de Payasas). I am eager to talk about it. His War by Candlelight (Guerra a La Luz de Las Velas) came in 2006, a collection of stories. Then it came Lost City Radio (Radio Ciudad Perdida), a novel translated in about ten languages. Daniel Alarcón currently lives in Oakland, CA and considers himself un norteamerincaico—a North Amer-Incan—citizen of a highly mutable, interconnected world [http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/innovators/alarcon.html].

(A Life in Books)

(Una Vida Entre Libros)


Friday, July 19, 2013

Câteva vorbe de dragoste

Keerthi Reddy in Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat
(प्यार इश्क और मुहब्बत)
no copyright infringement intended

(click here for the English version)

Spune Dan Caragea, intr-un superb eseu tratand influentele slavone din limba romana (Vechea slava, slavona si graiurile slavilor), nu cunosc nici o altă limbă în care să ni se ofere tripletul dragoste – iubire – amor, toate trei cuvintele având aproape acelaşi înţeles, dar infinit deosebite în nuanţe...

De unde si pana unde o asemenea fraza intr-un eseu despre influentele slavone in limba romana, va veti intreba. Ei bine, dragostea si iubirea sunt cuvinte de origine slavona, pe cata vreme amorul ne vine din limba latina.

Sa nu fie nici o alta limba cu un asemenea triplet amoros? Iata ca afirmatia lui Dan Caragea este contrazisa de catre Ahmed Abd Al-Wahhab, care ne spune urmatoarele (intr-un text extrem de interesant ca informatie, din pacate tonul este usor persiflant, dar se mai intampla, nimeni nu-i perfect):

Limba exista si se numeste limba hindi, sau urdu. Exista aceeasi chestie, ishq - pyar - muhobbat, care au aproape acelasi inteles doar nuanta diferita si se pot traduce prin dragoste - iubire - amor. Si se mai intalneste acelasi procedeu in limbi precum limba araba, care pe departe este mult mai bogata in cuvinte decat limba romana. Un cuvant avand in medie 6-10 sinonime fiecare cu acelasi sens, doar ca folosirea acestora difera in functie de contextul frazei. O alta limba bogata in cuvinte este limba farsi, care si ea dispune de o sumedenie de cuvinte si sinonime ale acestora, subclasand (probabil domnul Ahmed Abd Al-Wahhab voia sa zica surclasand) limba romana din punct de vedere al bogatiei cuvintelor.

Acum vin eu si intreb, hindi sau urdu? Sau mai bine zis, ca sa fiu rau, ce a fost mai intai, hindi sau urdu? Eu stiu ca urdu a fost mai intai (dar s-ar putea sa gresesc, oricum nici eu nu sunt perfect, ba din contra). Cuvantul romanesc ordie (e un arhaism, si ne vine din turca, insemnand oaste sau tabara militara) e legat de limba urdu, care se pare ca a fost initial limba ostirii, a cuceritorilor musulmani ai peninsulei indiene. Iar elita intelectuala hindusa, in efortul ei de a-si afirma identitatea, a desfasurat o intensa munca de hinduizare a limbii urdu, in primul rand impunand alfabetul devanāgari. Rezultatul a fost limba hindi. O llimba diferita de urdu, dar pot sa va spun ca un vorbitor de hindi se intelege perfect cu un vorbitor de urdu, Stiu acest lucru pentru ca am avut colegi care vorbeau unii in hindi si altii in urdu. Sigur ca sunt mult mai multe de spus despre hindi si despre urdu.

Rigveda manuscript in Devanāgari (early 19th century)
binding: India, 19th c., blind-stamped brown leather, gilt spine, sewn on 5 cords, marbled endleaves
no copyright infringement intended

Sa ne intoarcem insa la tripleta amoroasa dragoste - iubire - amor. Intr-adevar limba romana nu este deloc singura care ofera sinonime pentru dragoste, fiecare sinonim cu nuanta lui in functie de contextul frazei. Exista, ce-i drept, si graiuri in care cuvantul dragoste s-ar parea ca lipseste. Cezar Petrescu vorbeste de un astfel de caz in romanul sau Carlton: eschimosii au patruzeci de sinonime ale cuvantului gheaţă, dar nici un cavant care sa insemne dragoste. Asa sa fie oare? Nu prea imi vine sa cred. Un cuvintel, acolo, trebuie sa existe.

Tot cautand sa dau de cuvintele din tripleta amoroasa in hindi (si apoi in urdu, farsi, araba), am ajuns la un film indian, care se numeste, nici mai mult, nici mai putin, taman Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, iar titlul a fost tradus in engleza prin Love, Amour and Romance: avem asadar o tripleta amoroasa si in limba lui Shakespeare, ceea ce nu e deloc de mirare (tocmai in limba bardului sa nu existe mai multe sinonime pentru dragoste?)

Ca tot am amintit de un film bollywwodian,  hai sa aduc in discutie si titlul unui serial TV turcesc: Dragoste şi pedeapsă. In original titlul este Aşk ve ceza, asadar cuvantul dragoste se traduce in limba turca prin aşk, ceea ce seamana foarte mult cu acel ishk din tilul filmului indian (care, dupa cum vedem, inseamna, in hindi, tot dragoste).

Insa altceva m-a frapat. Titlul filmului indian coincide cu tripleta amoroasa prezentata de catre Ahmed Abd Al-Wahhab. Si ar fi interesant de vazut cum apare aceasta tripleta in urdu, farsi si hindi.

Din pacate insa nu cunosc nici una din aceste limbi, nu am nici macar ceea ce se cheama in englezeste basic knowledge (adica sa stii sa spui buna ziua si sa intrebi cat e ceasul). Trebuia sa ma sprijin asadar exclusiv pe dictionare (iar pentru aceste limbi nu am acces decat la dictionare onLine), iar faptul ca dragoste, iubire si amor sunt sinonime in toate aceste limbi (ca si in limba romana) face ca ishk sa apara dela un dictionar la altul ba ishk, ba mohabbat si invers. Problema complicata si mai mult de faptul ca nici una din aceste limbi nu foloseste alfabetul latin (si in plus, cu exceptia limbii hindi, nu noteaza nici vocalele).

Am incercat sa gasesc aceste cuvinte plecand dela limba romana spre limba turca, apoi spre araba, apoi spre farsi, si apoi spre urdu si hindi. Nu am avut succes, pentru ca indiferent daca plecam dela dragoste, dela iubire, sau dela amor, dictionarele imi traduceau cuvantul la fel.

Atunci am facut drumul invers, plecand dela hindi. Aveam acolo tripleta de sinonime chiar in titlul fiilmului de care am pomenit mai sus (Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat), ba chiar si titlul folosind alfabetul devanāgari (प्यार इश्क और मुहब्बत).

Exista pe web cateva site-uri care ofera instrumente de lucru de mare valoare daca este sa te misti dintr-o limba in alta:

Am folosit aceste site-uri in doua moduri: fie obtinand un cuvant in alfabetul limbii respective (cu ajutorul unui dictionar onLine) si apoi determinand forma lui romanizata (de exemplu प्यार si apoi pyaar), fie plecand dela forma romanizata si construind cuvantul litera cu litera in alfabetul limbii respective, si apoi verificand daca am dat peste cuvantul corect (folosind iarasi un dictionar onLine).

Am luat mai intai cuvantul hindi प्यार (pyaar) si l-am construit in limba urdu: پیار adica aproximativ paar, tradus inapoi in hindi prin pyaar, iar in romaneste tot prin dragoste. Nu am reusit insa sa il regasesc si in farsi sau araba. L-am construit litera cu litera, il puteam apoi translitera prin pyaar, dar parea a fi un cuvant inventat de mine si nu apartinand nici limbii farsi, si nici limbii arabe.

Am avut noroc mai mult cu ishk: l-am regasit in hindi (इश्क), urdu (عشق), si in farsi (عشق), si in araba (عشق). La fel si mohabbat: in hindi (मुहब्बत), urdu (محبت), farsi (محبت), care vine din cuvantul arab hub (حب). Si mai adaug aici un cuvant hindi, prem (प्रेम), care tot dragoste inseamna, doar ca nu mai este si in urdu, farsi, sau araba (in schimb este existent in multe limbi vorbite in India, nu numai in hindi - si provine din sanscrita).

Acum, daca vrem sa ne dam seama de deosebiri de nuanta intre aceste sinonime, am gasit pe web un forum (http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=507122) de unde m-am lamurit ca si in India, ca si in Romania, lumea e departe de a fi de acord cand e mai bine sa spui dragoste, si cand e mai bine sa spui iubire. In orice caz ishk si mohabbat au ajuns in India din araba si farsi (prin intermediul limbii urdu), pe cata vreme pyaar si prem sunt cuvinte pe care vorbitorii de urdu le-au gasit in India. Iata si o pagina de adrese web unde sunt discutate si comparate aceste cuvinte:

(Dan Caragea)



Incerc sa ma lamuresc asupra etimologiei cuvantului uium. In dictionare este dat ca fiind un cuvant de origine slavona:

cf DEX'98: UIÚM, uiumuri, s. n. Cantitate procentuală de făină sau de grăunțe reținută la batoză, la moară etc. drept plată în natură pentru măcinat, treierat etc; vamă (1). [Pr.: u-ium] – Din bg. ujem, scr. ujam.

cf. Scriban (1939): uĭúm și huĭúm n., pl. urĭ (vsl. *uĭemŭ, d. uimati, a lua, a substrage; nsl. ujém, sîrb. ujam, bg. uem. V. uĭmesc). Jormă, dejmă, ușur, vamă, zecĭuĭală, partea de cereale pe care țăraniĭ o daŭ moraruluĭ îld. banĭ p. măcinat. – Și oĭém (Arg. Dîmb.) și oim (Vl. Ilf.) și oĭúm. V. avaĭet.

Astazi insa am gasit o opinie care ii atribuie cuvantului uium o origine mai veche: ar fi de pe vremea pecenegilor si cumanilor. Sa fi trecut de acolo si in limbile slave?

De la pecenegi si cumani avem în primul rând hidronimele (nu întâmplător, ci pentru că ei locuiau în special în zonele umede, crescători de vite mari) terminate în „ui” - Bahlui, Vaslui, Desnățui, Călmățui - dar și altele, tot din areale mlăștinoase - Ozun, Baraolt, Barcani, Bărcănești, Boroșneu. Birul în făină cerut de ei se numea uium, iar arealele înalte pe care-și pășteau turmele, țuțuiuri. Pecenegii și cumanii nu au fost mulți, dar s-au remarcat prin diferența mare față de autohtoni: unii, sedentari, erau mai puțin cunoscători ai practicii războiului, alții, dimpotrivă, migratori, erau foarte buni conducători de oști, ceea ce, în acea perioadă, însemna „lider”.

(Dan Caragea)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ein Mann geht durch die Wand (1959)

Ein Mann geht durch die Wand (A Man Goes through the Wall), a movie from 1959, starring Heinz Rühmann and Nicole Courcel. I saw it sometime in 1962 or 1963, I was less than twenty and I liked it a lot. I watched it again a couple of days ago. How it looks like now? Well, I also have gotten old, meanwhile. It's a nice comedy, some allusions in it were making sense in 1959, still make sense for someone who remembers the mentality and the issues from 1959. Meanwhile Germany evolved and became a different country with different issues. In 1959 it was still fighting with its past, while trying to adapt.

(Heinz Rühmann)


Meandre (Meanders), a Movie by Mircea Săucan

(click here for the Romanian version)

I was in my early twenties when I saw Meandre first time. I was passionate for Polish and Czech movies, considering Wajda, Kawalerowicz, and Forman as my absolute references. It was the epoch of Ashes and Diamonds, Mother Joan of the Angels, and Loves of a Blonde. I hadn't yet seen Polanski's Knife in the Water, while I already knew its subject, from a friend. I had read about the  French New Wave, without having the opportunity to see any of their movies, except for L'année dernière à Marienbad and Hiroshima mon Amour. I watched them one Saturday evening in a student club. Unfortunately the screening conditions were very bad, or maybe I was too tired, something didn't fit, and I wasn't able to enter their atmosphere. Ironically, Meandre of Săucan could be considered firstly in relation with the movies of Resnais.

I visited Prague in 1967 and the spring of 68 was already in the air. I was gained by what I saw there, by the iconoclastic and open ways of youngsters my age. Back in Bucharest, I had my soul full of Prague.

I read about Meandre in a cultural weekly that I was buying each Friday, my gate into the universe of Bucharest intelligentsia. The chronic of Meandre was on a whole page. I felt that this movie was somehow the answer for all I had lived in Prague, and I decided to go to see it the same day.

It was played in only one theater  (as it had only one chronicle in the whole Romanian media): a theater dedicated to non-commercial movies, with an audience of a very special kind, people interested  in cinema as an expression of art, or of political courage, or both. A theater for the happy few, as that journal was also for the happy few only. Curiously enough, this theater survived to our days, while so many others went out of business.

I bought a ticket and went in. The auditorium was half empty - and by the end only a quarter of the seats were still occupied. In the following days I saw the movie two more times. The same lack of attenders: half empty at the beginning, the auditorium was loosing another quarter till the end. The extreme difficulty of Meandre was discouraging even the happy few.

Against all odds I enjoyed enormously this movie, it remained in my heart. I waited for other new movies by Săucan to come, after a couple of years it was 100, then nothing else. Meanwhile the relative openness of the political regime was over and everything became increasingly rigid. Obviously there was no more room for an artist the kind of Săucan. After a long period of being practically banned from making other movies he emigrated to Israel in 1987.

A couple of days ago I watched the movie again, this time on youTube (uploaded there by Marian Sorin Radulescu, who also authored two very good books about cinema).

So, a time frame of more than forty years, almost fifty. I had been in my early twenties, I am now in my late sixties. I had in front of me a whole life that I was populating with my dreams, I am now contemplating a life that had good times and bad times. What I haven't lost was the interest for courageous, modern art.

Again I enjoyed the movie: despite its severe minimalism it is flowing beautifully in front of your eyes.

I would liken it with some other movies that came much later. Let's say, Millennium Mambo of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, or Elephant of Gus Van Sant. It's about similarities in style, not in content.

Forget about a plot, and forget about any temporal order. Something has happened in the past and maybe is going on, the details are scarce. Two architects, one having a successful career, the second a looser. It's pretty clear that the first played dishonestly and destroyed the career of the second. A woman between the two, balancing their convoluted relation. She loves the failed guy, while being married with the dishonest one. Maybe she understands them both, as each of them can have his own points and his own vulnerabilities. The son of the successful architect is pitiless in judging his father and is admiring the other one. Will he remain rebellious and uncompromising? Or will life tame him in the long run? Will he fail, like the architect he now admires? Or will he follow the ways of his father? After all, what are the options in a closed political system?

But all this is somewhere in the background. What we see on the screen is an analysis of  states of mind, moods undergoing unexpected meanders. Instead of a plot with beginning and end, what we are offered in Meandre is a number of scenes that come again and again, obsessive leitmotifs. Each of these scenes contain some weird element that brings the thing to surreal. You'll never know whether these repetitive scenes happen in the present, or are memories of past situations, or just imagining a nebulous future. And what relevance should have time anymore?

Minimalist music works this way. Philip Glass, or Arvo Pärt, for instance. Or John Adams. A number of musical structures coming again and again, creating in the listener an obsessive, hypnotic halo. Instead of a melody, a mélopée

Meandre was perceived as a radical message against the system. Actually its making had been possible only because the political regime in Romania was in a period of relative relaxation. Still, such a movie was too much, even for that period. I was told that the director was forced to change the movie ending several times till it was considered acceptable by the censorship.

Many observed that Săucan began by being a convinced communist to end by being excluded by the system. I don't know whether it's relevant. He could very well remain faithful to his political convictions, while it was his artistic iconoclasm that was radically anti-system. Many observed more or less sarcastically that he had studied the movie art in Moscow, the homeland of communism. Well, maybe that's relevant in the sense that he had Parajanov among his colleagues there, and their life and artistic destinies have shared some similarities. I was thinking at that while watching in Meandre the sequence of a monastery restoration.

Just a few words about the scenarist, the distinguished playwright  Horia Lovinescu. He continued the collaboration with Săucan for his next movie, 100. Which again calls in my mind the movies of Hou Hsiao-Hsien, also the result of a fruitful collaboration with an exceptional writer, this time Chu Tien-Wen.

(Mircea Saucan)


Monday, July 15, 2013

Meandre, un film de Mircea Săucan

(click here for the English version)

Cand am vazut prima oara Meandre aveam putin peste douazeci de ani. Eram student, eram pasionat de cinematografia poloneza si de cea ceheasca, Wajda, Kawalerowicz, si Forman erau referintele mele absolute. In perioada aceea am vazut Cenusa si Diamant, Maica Ioana a Ingerilor, si Iubirile unei Blonde. Cutitul in Apa al lui Polanski aveam sa il vad mai tarziu, insa mi-l povestise un prieten. Stiam de Noul Val francez, fara sa fi avut insa posibilitatea sa vad vreun film. Doar doua filme de Resnais, Anul Trecut la Marienbad si Hiroshima mon Amour, pe care le-am vazut la Casa de Cultura a Studentilor, insa nu fusesera prezentate in cele mai bune conditii, sau poate fusesem eu obosit si nu putusen sa fiu atent. Ironie a sortii, pentru ca de fapt Meandre al lui Săucan cu filmele lui Resnais ar putea fi pus in relatie.

In 1967 vizitasem Praga si atmosfera de acolo m-a entuziasmat. Primava anului urmator plutea in aer, evident ca nu banuiam ce avea sa urmeze, dar ceva se simtea, ceva nelamurit, dar cuceritor pentru un tanar inca avand viitorul in fata, si crezand cu forta varstei ca idealurile pot fi implinite. Sigur, Praga are un amestec de modernism si rafinament dat de o mie de ani de istorie, avangarda interbelica fusese acolo extrem de puternica, si vietuise foarte bine intre romanic, gotic, baroc, Art Nouveau, iar acum venea rebeliunea spirituala a tinerilor, se sprijinea pe tot rafinamentul asta, si mergea mai departe, impingea spre primavara ce avea sa urmeze. Si se simtea.

Intors la Bucuresti, cu sufletul plin de Praga si de spiritul tineretului praghez, cautam aici pe malul Dambovitei sa descopar similitudini, si aici era o perioada de deschidere, pe care un tanar entuziast o putea vedea cu ochii mariti, puteam crede ca lucrurile se vor schimba treptat si aici inspre bine, inspre normalitate, inspre acceptarea acelui ideal difuz si rebel care ma entuziasmase la Praga.

Despre Meandre am citit mai intai in Contemporanul. Il cumparam in fiecare vineri cand aparea si il citeam cu sfintenie. Romania Literara inca nu aparuse, cred. Chiar imi amintesc acum ca odata, aflat la mare, am cunoscut un ziarist care mi-a spus ca scria la un jurnal foarte cunoscut printre tineri. Contemporanul? am intrebat eu cu entuziasm. Omul s-a uitat la mine uimit, Nu baiatule, Sportul Popular.

Hai insa sa nu ma las furat de prea multe divagatii.

Cronica filmului Meandre era extraordinara si ocupa o pagina intreaga. Am fost imediat entuziasmat si m-am dus sa vad filmul. Juca intr-un singur cinematograf bucurestean (dupa cum si cronica ii aparuse doar in Contemporanul). Un cinematograf dedicat filmelor de arta, cu public intotdeauna foarte redus. Cinematograful Union, aflat in blocul rosu de pe strada Ion Câmpineanu, chiar in spatele locului unde fusese odata Teatrul National. Un cinematograf care, curios, avea sa supravietuiasca pana in ziua de azi, dupa ce aproape toate cinematografele bucurestene au disparut.

Mi-am luat bilet si am intrat in sala. Era pe jumatate goala. Pana la sfarsitul vizionarii, sala ramasese doar un sfert ocupata. Am revenit, cred ca inca de doua sau trei ori. Aceeasi sala pe jumatate goala, ramanand pana la sfarsitul vizionarii doar un sfert plina.

Ce e interesant, oamenii aceia care paraseau sala, erau de fapt amatori de filme de arta, stiau ca vin la un film care nu avea cum sa fie de succes comercial, erau deci pregatiti. Ei bine, dificultatea extrema a filmului ii descuraja tocmai pe ei, amatorii de astfel de filme cu totul speciale.

Tin minte ca intr-una din dati, un spectator asezat aproape de mine, i-a zis sotiei lui, draga, uite aici nu mai inteleg nimic, brusc o scena cu doi oameni era urmata de o scena in care o herghelie de cai irumpea vijelios intr-o cavalacada. Iar vecinul meu de sala care i se plansese sotiei, era de fapt consternat, era ca si cand regizorul l-ar fi pacalit. El venise sa vada filmul, sa il inteleaga, sa il admire. Si nu se putea! Era in vorbele lui ceva ce as numi stupoare. Dupa vreo cinci minute cei doi au parasit sala.

Cum zic, l-am vazut atunci de vreo cateva ori, si a ramas in sufletul meu. Am asteptat sa vad si alte filme de Săucan, a fost dupa cativa ani O suta de lei, apoi nu am mai auzit nimic. Intre timp perioada de deschidere s-a terminat si tara noastra a intrat accelerat intr-un regim din ce in ce mai dur. Nu am mai auzit nimic de Saucan, dar imi era clar ca locul lui nu mai era aici. Dupa 1990 am citit despre el din nou, si am aflat astfel intreaga lui biografie.

Am revazut filmul acum vreo doua seri, pe youTube (pus acolo de un excelent om de film, Marian Sorin Rădulescu, autorul a doua carti de eseuri care trebuie neaparat citite, amandoua avand un titlu care incepe cu un cuvant superb, Pseudokinematikos).

Aveam un pic peste douazeci de ani, am acum aproape saptezeci. Aveam in fata mea un viitor pe care il populam entuziast cu idealurile mele, am in fata mea un trecut in care am avut si zile mai bune, si zile mai rele.

Apetenta pentru arta curajoasa moderna mi-am pastrat-o insa, si intre timp am vazut multe filme si multe muzee, asa ca daca atunci aveam in primul rand entuziasm si ravna, acum cred ca am niste argumente, pot sa fac niste comparatii si pot sa judec bazat pe o experienta.

Mi-a placut filmul, din nou, si desigur ca trebuie sa il revad. Pentru ca, asemenea multor opere de arta moderne, este necesar un efort, nu e ceva ce se da de-a gata. Dar chiar si la o prima vizionare, e un film care curge frumos, cu toata radicalitatea lui estetica.

L-as asemui cu unele filme care aveau sa apara mult mai tarziu. Sa zic, cu Millennium Mambo al taivanezului Hou Hsiao-Hsien, sau poate cu Elephant, al americanului Gus Van Sant. Si in general cu multe din filmele taivanezului si cele ale americanului. Asemanari insa de stil, nu de continut.

Probabil ca ati vazut Good Will Hunting al lui Van Sant. Vreau sa va spuns ca are si filme foarte dificile, si unul este Elephant, iar altul este Gerry. Cer efort, cer revizionari. Iar despre Hou Hsiao-Hsien ce sa mai vorbesc? Are filme pe care iti vine sa le lasi naibii pe la jumatate, ca nu mai poti, dar care iti raman dupa aceea in tine, incet incet intri in hipnoza lor, dupa ce ai vazut filmul.

Cam asa e si Meandre. A fost discutat mult din punct de vedere politic. Toti cei care au vorbit de el nu uita sa aminteasca de faptul ca Săucan a inceput prin a fi un comunist convins, pentru ca apoi sa devina un indezirabil. Nu stiu cat e de relevant. Poate mai relevant e ca a studiat cinematografia la Moscova avandu-l si pe Eisenstein printre profesori (insa pentru scurt timp, asa ca nici asta nu e poate relevant - dar daca tot vrem sa cautam relevante, acolo la Moscova a fost coleg cu Parajanov, si destinele lor aveau sa fie in multe privinte asemanatoare). Da, a venit dela Moscova comunist si a evoluat intre timp pana a trebuit sa plece din Romania, pentru ca nu ii mai dadea nimeni voie sa faca filme. Sau poate ca el isi ramasese credincios sie insusi, fara sa se sinchiseasca de meandrele sistemului.

Insa filmul e mult mai mult decat o drama politica (si este, fara doar si poate drama politica).

Nu este deloc un film de actiune. Ceva s-a petrecut si inca se petrece, undeva in background. E un film de analiza a unor stari sufletesti, un film care urmareste niste meandre sufletesti. Exista cateva scene in film, nu multe, pentru ca fiecare scena se tot reia. Nu e respectata nici o ordine cronologica. Pur si simplu cateva scene care se tot reiau. Daca ati vazut Elephant al lui Van Sant, si acolo e la fel.

Muzica minimalista e asa. Philip Glass, sau Arvo Pärt, de exemplu. Sau John Adams. Fraze muzicale care se tot reiau. Poti foarte bine sa te ridici de pe scaun, sa te duci la frigider, sa iei de acolo un pahar cu apa si sa il bei. Nu ai pierdut nimic, pentru ca scena oricum se va relua de cateva ori.

Ca si in muzica minimalista, aceasta reluare a acelorasi fraze, te poate enerva daca tu cauti o melodie, dar este vorba de altceva, este nu melodie, ci melopee, iti patrunde pana la urma in suflet si ramane acolo, in timp te hipnotizeaza.

Sunt doi arhitecti, unul realizat, celalalt ratat, si o femeie intre ei, care are grija de amandoi si echilibreaza relatia. Sigur, arhitectul realizat (Ernest Maftei), este un ticalos care si-a inlaturat toti potentialii rivali. Fireste ca este un om bine insurubat in regimul politic. Fireste, arhitectul ratat (Mihai Paladescu, un actor dela Teatrul de Comedie care avea sa moara prematur), este o victima a primului. Pentru ca avea prea multa imaginatie a fost distrus de cel care nu avea imaginatie deloc.

Si femeia (superba Margareta Pogonat, cred ca filmul acesta a pus-o in valoare, jucase la Botosani si Ploiesti, avea apoi sa vina la Nottara in Bucuresti si avea sa mai joace in cateva filme in care a facut roluri memorabile) - ei, femeia aceasta da cheia filmului. Il iubeste pe ratat, s-a maritat cu cel realizat. Sigur ca intre ea si sot nu mai este nimic posibil. Sigur ca este atrasa nebuneste de celalalt, si isi inseala sotul. Dar nu il paraseste. Poate pentru ca isi da seama ca de fapt si sotul isi are vulnerabilitatile lui. Si poate pentru ca isi da seama ca si celalalt este doar pana la un punct victima sotului ei. Poate ca de la un punct incolo, si el este doar un inchipuit, poate ca nu are chiar atat talent cat crede, Poate ca s-a ratat si pentru ca era un pic ratat dela inceput.

Lucrurile astea nu se spun in film. Sunt cateva scene care se tot repeta, doar atat. Si tu, spectatorul din sala, ai timp sa te gandesti la ce e de fapt acolo.

Cum zic, multi vad doar aspectul politic. Eu cred ca exista nuante, nu este vorba neaparat doar de alb si negru.

Si nu este numai femeia care echilibreaza relatia. cercul se inchide si prin fiul ei (si al arhitectului ticalos): tanarul jucat de Dan Nutu (cel despre care s-a spus ca este the Romanian James Dean), indragostit de Anna Széles. Un tanar care isi judeca tatal si ar vrea sa afle mai multe ca sa il judece mai nemilos. Care este atras si el de celalat. Care este rebel, cum a fost celalalt. Incomod, cum a fost celalalt. Iar tatal lui, ticalosul, va veni la celalalt si il va ruga sa aiba grija de tanar, ca sa nu o ia razna de tot. Pentru ca el, tatal, nu mai are nici o putere asupra fiului.

Cum se va inchide cercul? Va ramane fiul un entuziast, si un rebel? Va fi si el infrant de sistem? Sau va face si el compromisuri cu sistemul? Dar ce optiuni iti putea oferi un sistem asa cum a fost comunismul? Chiar in perioada lui de deschidere in care puteai sa crezi ca lucrurile vor evolua treptat spre normalitate?

Da, este un film in primul rand politic, profund tragic. Chiar daca nu e totul in alb-negru, asa cum cred multi din cei ce l-au vazut.

Iar cenzorii au vazut in primul rand aspectul politic, si au stat pe capul lui Săucan sa schimbe finalul. Cineva mi-a spus ca Săucan a fost obligat sa schimbe finalul de trei ori pana a devenit acceptabil pentru baietii cu ochi albastri.

Si intr-adevar, arhitectul ratat primeste in film in cele din urma sarcina proiectarii unor blocuri in Bucuresti, dupa ce ani de zile fusese redus la conditia de a proiecta afise de reclama pentru iepuri de casa.

Un cuvant de pretuire pentru autorul scenariului, distinsul om de teatru care a fost Horia Lovinescu. Avea sa colaboreze cu Saucan si pentru urmatorul sau film, O suta de lei. Si iarasi imi vin in minte filmele lui Hou Hsiao-Hsien, si ele rod al colaborarii regizorului cu o scriitoare de exceptie, Chu Tien-Wen.