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Friday, April 28, 2017

Rudolf Otto

Rudolf Otto
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

German Lutheran theologian and philosopher, one of the most important scholars of religion in the twentieth century; author of Das Heilige (The Idea of the Holy), published firstly in 1917 and translated in about 20 languages; influenced Eliade, Tilich, Barth, Rahner, Jung, Horckheimer, Heidegger, among others; introduced the concept of numinous (in its three dimensions, mysterium, tremendum, fascinans - a mystery that is at once terrifying and fascinating) to explain the human approach of das Ganz Andere (let's say, beyond the immanent); I would like to come later again on this notion of numinous and on its history, as it has a special beauty.

(German and Nordic Literature)

Wilhelm Schmidt

Wilhelm Schmidt SVD
(source: Anthropos)
no copyright infringement intended

Austrian linguist, anthropologist and ethnologist, Roman Catholic priest belonging to Societas Verbi Divini; as a linguist he proved the inner connections of the Mon-Khmer languages with idioms of the South Seas, and raised the hypothesis of a super-family spread from the South-East Asia toward the Oceanic isles (the Austric group of languages - it remained as a hypothesis, not widely accepted today); as an anthropologist, he was interested in the study of primitive religions; in opposition to evolutionary views he proposed the theory of a primitive monotheism (Urmonotheismus) as the "beginning of it all" (only later replaced by polytheism); he developed his ideas in a 12-volume opus published between 1912-1954, Der Ursprung der Gottesidee (The Origin of the Idea of God); there is another work by him from 1931 (The Origin and Growth of Religion. Facts and Theories - 324 pages), that would be perhaps more palatable for non-specialists interested for this kind of things (dilettanti appassionati so to speak - I'm one of those, by the way).

(German and Nordic Literature)


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sex and Robots

(source: CNBC)
no copyright infringement intended

With AI on the rise no wonder that the sex robotics is in full swing, regardless of ethical concerns. Of course, it goes in pair with the general trend of humanity to get as far as it gets from mother nature and embrace the artificial. Here is an article discussing the problem. I found it in today's The Guardian.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Profesiones notables: fontanero enamorado y monitor de zumba

(fuente: desmotivaciones)
no copyright infringement intended

(fuente: De gordita a deportista)
no copyright infringement intended

-¿De qué trabajas?
-Aprieto tuercas.
-¿Eres fontanero?
-No, psiquiatra.
-¿Y tú?
-Muevo vacas.
-¿Eres ganadero?
-No, monitor de zumba.

Nota: metafóricamente un psiquiatra a veces necesita "apretar la tuerca" con sus pacientes.

(Refranero español)


Monday, April 24, 2017

The Meaning of France Insoumise

Jean-Luc Mélenchon
(image source: Europe1)
no copyright infringement intended

The first round of French presidential elections brought some very clear elements for the political map there. One of these clear elements is the relevance from now on of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Here is an explanatory article that a friend of mine brought on Facebook: The Meaning of France Insoumise.

(Zoon Politikon)

Maiakovskiene - and Vertov (Three Songs about Lenin)

Партия и Ленин -
кто более
          матери-истории ценен?
Мы говорим Ленин,
                  подразумеваем -
мы говорим
                   подразумеваем -
(Маяковский, Владимир Ильич Ленин)

Partidul şi Lenin - fraţi gemeni
Istoria Mamă-i socoate asemeni
Iar noi spunând: Lenin - partidul numim,
Partidul când spunem - la Lenin gândim
(Maiakovski, Vladimir Ilici Lenin)

Три песни о Ленине, 1934
(source: NoNaMe)
no copyright infringement intended

Ленин жил, Ленин жив, Ленин будет жить (Lenin has lived, is living, will live): the above poster summarizes this movie. The atheist society of Stalin needed its own mythology, just as throughout the whole history any other society had to build its own mythology (a fiction is always essential in the struggle for survival; if Darwin hadn't told it from the very beginning, it was said anyway by lots of Darwinians). Ultimately any mythology supposes the existence of an eternal god. Of course, in the Soviet mythology the eternal god was Lenin. As he had died in 1924, the problem of his immortality had to be solved.

In this movie the god Lenin lives forever in the Soviet society: in the whole society, and in any particle of it. Any Soviet citizen, and any Soviet accomplishment, carries the personality of Lenin. With this movie Vertov gives up his atheism, to become a pantheist: he deifies the Soviet society because it embodies the eternity of Lenin, and he deifies Lenin because his eternity is embodied in the Soviet society. Is it pantheism or rather panentheism? I'd leave for you to decide. Anyway it is the demonstration of a perfect totalitarian system: one cannot have free will as everyone embodies Lenin, thus carrying the will of Lenin.

Три песни о Ленине, 1934
(source: NoNaMe)
no copyright infringement intended

Well, for the regime officials this movie had two impardonable flaws. Firstly it was an Avangardist movie, it means some kind of bourgeois leisure. In 1934 the Soviet norm was already the Socialist Realism. And more than that it was the second flaw. The Soviet mythology was actually built upon two gods: one dead (Lenin) and one alive and in full control of the power (Stalin). And the dead god should have had only one role: to justify the almighty alive god.  This movie said too much about the dead god, and almost nothing about the alive god. No wonder that Vertov would not be let to make another movie any more. He would not understand why, as he was too honest, too sincere, to understand the ways of life.

Apart from that, this is a superb movie, just because it is so consistently Avangardist (I would even say so Productionist - the whole Soviet construction living through one hero, Lenin), and so sincere.

(Dziga Vertov)


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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nick Bostrom, About AI Risks (an article in El País)

Declared no more no less than the philosopher of the end of world (by The New Yorker), Nick Bostrom doesn't look kind of an insane knight of the Apocalypse. By the contrary, the guy keeps his cool while exposing his radical ideas, gaining all the time fervent followers, as much as staggering adversaries. An article in El País (along woth the video embedded within) gave me a just a glimpse in a very complicated universe of paths, dangers, and strategies.

(Nick Bostrom)


Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom
(source: Partially Examined Life - a Philosophy Podcast and Blog)
no copyright infringement intended

Swedish philosopher known for his work on existential risk, superintelligence risks, the impacts of future technology, among other similar topics; he is a professor at the Oxford University, director of Future of Humanity Institute and of Strategic Artificial Intelligence Research Center; here is his web page.

(A Life in Books)


La Marioneta de Trapo

(fuente: La Marioneta de Trapo)
no copyright infringement intended

Joan Panisello i Chavarria trajo hoy en su página de Facebook la carta de despedida que Gabo había enviado a sus amigos en 2000, después de enterarse de su cáncer. Es una letra espléndida (dice Joan Panisello i Chavarria - en catalán - "digne de ser llegit, rellegit, reflexionat i compartit"). ¡Pero no fue compuesta de Gabo! (y el negó de ser el autor). Es un poema escrito por el poeta y comediante mexicano Johnny Welch). De todos modos se está volviendo viral.

Si por un instante Dios se olvidara de que soy marioneta de trapo y me regalara un trozo de vida, aprovecharía ese tiempo lo más que pudiera, posiblemente no diría todo lo que pienso, pero en definitiva pensaría todo lo que digo.
Daría valor a las cosas, no por lo que valen, sino por lo que significan.
Dormiría poco, soñaría más, entiendo que por cada minuto que cerramos los ojos, perdemos sesenta segundos de luz.
Si Dios me obsequiara un trozo de vida, vestiría sencillo, me tiraría de bruces al sol, dejando descubierto, no solamente mi cuerpo, sino mi alma.
A los hombres les probaría cuán equivocados están al pensar que dejan de enamorarse cuando envejecen, sin saber que envejecen cuando dejan de enamorarse.
A un niño le daría alas, pero le dejaría que él sólo aprendiese a volar.
A los viejos les enseñaría que la muerte no llega con la vejez, sino con el olvido
Tantas cosas he aprendido de ustedes, los hombres…., He aprendido que todo el mundo quiere vivir en la cima de la montaña, sin saber que la verdadera felicidad está en la forma de subir la escarpada.
Me apartaría de los necios, los habladores, de las gentes con malas costumbres y actitudes.
Sería siempre honesto y mantendría llenas de amor y de atenciones a las personas a mí alrededor, siempre trataría de dar lo mejor…
He aprendido que cuando un recién nacido aprieta con su pequeño puño, por primera vez, el dedo de su padre, lo tiene atrapado por siempre.
He aprendido que un hombre sólo tiene derecho a mirar a otro hacia abajo, cuando ha de ayudarle a levantarse.
Son tantas cosas las que he podido aprender de ustedes, pero realmente de mucho no habrá de servir, porque cuando me guarden dentro de esa maleta, infelizmente me estaré muriendo.
Trata de decir siempre lo que sientes y haz siempre lo que piensas en lo más profundo de tu corazón.
Si supiera que hoy fuera la última vez que te voy a ver dormir, te abrazaría fuertemente y rezaría al Señor para poder ser el guardián de tu alma
Si supiera que estos son los últimos minutos que te veo, te diría “Te Quiero” y no asumiría, tontamente, que ya lo sabes.
Siempre hay un mañana y la vida nos da siempre otra oportunidad para hacer las cosas bien, pero por si me equivoco y hoy es todo lo que nos queda, me gustaría decirte cuanto te quiero, que nunca te olvidaré.
El mañana no le está asegurado a nadie, joven o viejo. Hoy puede ser la última vez que veas a los que amas. Por eso no esperes más, hazlo hoy, ya que si mañana nunca llega, seguramente lamentarás el día que no tomaste tiempo para una sonrisa, un abrazo, un beso y que estuviste muy ocupado para concederles un último deseo.
Mantén a los que amas cerca de ti, diles al oído lo mucho que los necesitas, quiérelos y trátalos bien, toma tiempo para decirles, “lo siento”, “perdóname”, “por favor” , “gracias” y todas las palabras de amor que conoces.
Nadie te recordará por tus nobles pensamientos secretos. Pide al Señor la fuerza y sabiduría para expresarlos.
Finalmente, demuestra a tus amigos y seres queridos cuanto te importan.

(Gabriel García Márquez)

(Joan Panisello i Chavarria)

Labels: ,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Kavafis, όσο μπορείς, cuanto puedas, as much as you can, autant que possible

όσο μπορείς
(source: pinterest)
no copyright infringement intended

Κι αν δεν μπορείς να κάμεις την ζωή σου όπως την θέλεις,
τούτο προσπάθησε τουλάχιστον
όσο μπορείς: μην την εξευτελίζεις
μες στην πολλή συνάφεια του κόσμου,
μες στες πολλές κινήσεις κι ομιλίες.

Μην την εξευτελίζεις πηαίνοντάς την,
γυρίζοντας συχνά κ’ εκθέτοντάς την
στων σχέσεων και των συναναστροφών
την καθημερινήν ανοησία,
ώς που να γίνει σα μια ξένη φορτική.

I read this little poem first in a Spanish translation. I was surprised by its beauty, built in some kind of absolute rejection of comprehensibility. A work of art denies surrounding words. Take it as it is, keep to it as you should keep to your inner self, anything more is fake.

Y si no puedes hacer tu vida como la quieres,
en esto esfuérzate al menos
cuanto puedas: no la envilezcas
en el contacto excesivo con la gente,
en demasiados trajines y conversaciones.
No la envilezcas llevándola,
trayéndola a menudo y exponiéndola
a la torpeza cotidiana
de las compañías y las relaciones,
hasta que llegue a ser pesada como una extraña.
traducción de Miguel Castillo Didier
(publicado en Descontexto)

And if you can’t shape your life the way you want,
at least try as much as you can
not to degrade it
by too much contact with the world,
by too much activity and talk.

Try not to degrade it by dragging it along,
taking it around and exposing it so often
to the daily silliness
of social events and parties,
until it comes to seem a boring hanger-on.
Kavafis, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992

Et si tu ne peux pas mener la vie que tu veux,
essaie au moins de faire en sorte, autant
que possible: de ne pas la gâcher
dans trop de rapports mondains,
dans trop d’agitation et de discours.

Ne la galvaude pas en l’engageant à tout propos,
en la traînant partout et en l’exposant
à l’inanité quotidienne
des relations et des fréquentations,
jusqu’à en faire une étrangère importune.


(Miguel Castillo Didier)



Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis
(Κωνσταντίνος Πέτρου Καβάφης)
(image source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

The portrait above was made sometime around 1900. Kavafis was approaching his forty years. Born in Alexandria, where he spent most of his life, of Constantinopolitan descent, little known in mainland Greece during his life, and one of the greatest poets of the past century. His poems are concise, ambiguous about common sense morality (no wonder giving his intimate ambiguity), uncertain about future, nostalgic for a bygone time (also ambiguously crayoned). Beyond the intricate elegance of his lines, you always feel his personal obsessions, almost unbearable.

My first encounter with his name was sometime in my twenties, through the literary chronicles published by A. E. Baconsky in one of the Romanian cultural magazines. By then, to speak too much about modern poetry was not always easy. Baconsky did it with courage and determination. And so I learned about Kavafis, and Ungaretti, and Saba, and some others.

I found yesterday a short poem by Kavafis (but all his poems are short) in Descontexto, a Chilean magazine that speaks about art, politics and culture. I will put it here shortly. Well, and my memories went back to those far away epoch when I was in my twenties, reading the chronicles of Baconsky, learning about some great modern poets.

(A Life in Books)


Miguel Castillo Didier

Miguel Castillo Didier
(fuente de la imagen: Boletin Rojo)
no copyright infringement intended

director del Cientro de Estudios Griegos, Bizantinos y Neohelénicos y profesor titular de la Universidad de Chile; su vida fue y sigue siendo un viaje milagroso a través del universo helénico: una odisea en busqua de belleza.

(Una Vida Entre Libros)


Hundred Years Later Maya Deren Remains in the Avant-Garde's Avant-Garde

(image source: Fawn Rogers in Pinterest)
no copyright infringement intended

I found today in El País a great column about Maya Deren. She was born hundred years ago, and she remains at the forefront of the forefront, in the avant-garde's avant-garde.

You will find inside two of Maya's movies: Meshes of the Afternoon and Witch's Cradle. Enjoy!

(Maya's Song)


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Vasile Ernu, "Geopolitica" uneori se reduce la maioneză şi muştar

Maioneză şi Muştar
(source: Apă.Făină.Sare - Jurnalul unui tânăr brutar artizan şi alte câteva povestiri)
no copyright infringement intended

Hotarul se defineşte în foarte multe feluri. Există un hotar geografic, lingvistic, politic, religios, cultural etc. Pentru mine în ultima perioadă cele mai puternice hotare sînt cele legate de mirosuri şi gusturi: ele produc poate cea mai puternică memorie. Ele lasă printre cele mai puternice urme. Cu vîrsta această memorie se acutizează.
Dacă cineva mi-ar lega ochii şi astupa urechile ca să nu văd şi să nu aud nimic şi m-ar duce undeva fără să ştiu unde, mi-ar trebui cîteva secunde să spun dacă mă mai aflu pe teritoriul României sau sînt în Basarabia. Îmi sînt suficiente mirosul şi gustul.
Fireşte sînt o mulţime de lucruri comune dar sînt însă nişte mărci specifice foarte puternice care diferenţiază.
Pentru mine cumva România se termină acolo unde se termină muştarul iar Basarabia începe acolo unde începe maioneza. Sînt spaţii marcate de aceste „liante gastronomice” care unesc totul. Mai există cafeaua şi ceaiul care diferenţiază mult cu toate că în ultima perioadă la acest capitol lucrurile s-au mai schimbat, dar nu foarte mult.
A propos: cînd am ajuns prima oară în România (90) şi am cerut ceai am fost întrebat dacă sînt bolnav. Şi am primit un ceai de tei ;) Nu, ăsta nu e ceai. Aşa cum cafeaua era pentru mine mai degrabă o excepţie.
Revenim la maioneză. Intraţi într-un supermarket molodvenesc: acolo vedeţi cîţiva metri de fel şi fel de maioneze şi aproape deloc muştar. Muştarul e undeva acolo la „altele”. Maioneza însă are un loc privilegiat şi ocupă un sector important în magazin. În spaţiul românesc e exact invers. Însă chiar şi aşa muştarul, care e rege în România, nu are locul privilegiat pe care-l are maioneza pe rafturile magazinelor din Basarabia.
Observ cum în ultimii ani se schimbă ingredientele salatelor. Pentru cine nu ştie: aproape toate salatele „moldoveneşti” au maioneză. Apar tot mai multe ingrediente, tot mai diverse şi tot mai globale. Maioneza însă rezistă. Ea leagă totul. Şi se opune muştarului. Radical. De ce şi cum s-a ajuns aici? Asta e o istorie tare lungă. Aproape de o carte.
(autor Vasile Ernu, publicat pe pagina sa de Facebook)

(Vasile Ernu)


Vasile Ernu

Vasile Ernu
(image source: filme-cărţi ro)
no copyright infringement intended

Născut la Odesa în 1971, Vasile Ernu este un intelectual de stânga din grupul Critic-Atac, şi în acelaşi timp un scriitor extraordinar. Două lucruri care uneori se bat cap în cap, pentru că mesajul politic, clar şi consecvent, este repede "furat" de vraja scriiturii: omul ăsta povesteşte atât de frumos, că uiţi de orice altceva (este drept că se mai întâmplă şi pe dos, când partizanatul apare strident - că de aia e partizanat). Una peste alta, îl citesc mereu cu mare încântare.

(A Life in Books)


Monday, April 17, 2017

Navegando a Bizancio (Yeats rendido por Juan Carlos Villavicencio)

(fuente de la imagen: Perros en la playa)
no copyright infringement intended

Un poema tan oscuro como tantos poemas de Yeats. Tienen el encanto de la oscuridad, su significado es para los pocos felices. Prevé la eternidad a través del arte.

(click here to view the original)

Aquél no es país para viejos. Los jóvenes
Tomados del brazo, los pájaros en los árboles
-Aquellas generaciones que se mueren- cantando,
Las cascadas de salmón, los mares atestados de verdeles,
Pescado, carne, o aves, elogian todo el verano
Todo lo engendrado, nace y muere.
Atrapado en esa música sensual descuida todo
Monumentos de intelecto que no envejece.

Un hombre de edad no es más que una cosa miserable,
Un abrigo andrajoso sobre un palo, a menos que
El alma aplauda y cante, y cante más fuerte
Por cada arruga en su vestido mortal,
Ni hay escuela de canto sino el estudio de
Monumentos de magnificencia única;
Y por eso he navegado los mares y he venido
A la sagrada ciudad de Bizancio.

Oh sabios erguidos en el santo fuego de Dios
Al igual que en el dorado mosaico de un muro,
Vengan del fuego sagrado, giren en un círculo,
Y sean los maestros del canto de mi alma.
Extingan mi corazón; enfermo de deseo
Y atado a un animal que va a morir
No sabe lo que es; y llévenme
Al artificio que es la eternidad.

Una vez fuera de la naturaleza jamás tomaré
Mi forma corpórea de ninguna cosa natural,
Sino una forma como la que los Herreros griegos hacen
De oro martillado y esmalte dorado
Para mantener despierto a un somnoliento Emperador;
O ponerse sobre una rama dorada para cantar
A los señores y damas de Bizancio
Sobre lo que ha pasado, o lo que pasa, o lo que vendrá.

traducción de Juan Carlos Villavicencio, 2016
(fuente: Buenos Aires Poetry)

(William Butler Yeats)

(Juan Carlos Villavicencio)

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Juan Carlos Villavicencio

Juan Carlos Villavicencio Ortega
(fuente: Círculo de Poesía)
no copyright infringement intended

poeta y traductor chileno, editor de Descontexto, revista de arte, política y cultura (Círculo de Poesía)


Sunday, April 16, 2017

¿Cara o cruz?

Soy asesino profesional. Mato a cualquiera para sólo cinco dólares. ¡Pero tú eres mi amigo! Te mataré gratis.

(Refranero español)


Mario Vargas Llosa, Leer un bon periódico

Mario Vargas Llosa
(fuente: Biografías y Vidas)
no copyright infringement intended

Reading a newspaper is the best way to start your day, says Mario Vargas Llosa (taking a line from César Vallejo, un café de la Avenida de la Opera donde yo solía tomar el desayuno y leer los periódicos, and applying on it a brief conclusion). And a bit later Llosa adds, reading several newspapers is the only way to know how little information is often serious, conditioned as they are by ideology, phobias and prejudices of media owners and journalists and correspondents.

(Mario Vargas Llosa)


Monday, April 10, 2017

¡Mi madre puede pasar!

(fuente: boredpanda)
no copyright infringement intended

Hubo una discusión durante una lección de Duolingo sobre el significado de la expresión "Mi madre puede pasar", y Peter vino con una gran historia. Aquí está:

Imagine you are the doorman for a very discriminating nightclub known as The Kluk. There is a long line and you are refusing everyone entry because the club owners want you to preserve The Kluk's reputation for exclusivity. You have just turned away a particularly angry fellow when you see a familiar face. Why, it's your own mother!

"Oh hi darling, I didn't know you worked here! How about letting your dear mother into the club?"

You are faced with a moral dillema.Should you risk losing your job by letting your mother in The Kluk, or risk many a painful holiday get-together with a vengeful parent? After a moment's hesitation the choice becomes obvious. You open the door and hand her a VIP pass. YOur dear old mother heads into The Kluk for a memorable night of disco and fun, while you are left to deal with a mob of irate twenty-somethings.

"Hey, what's the big idea?" demands a young man in a turtleneck while poking you in the chest. "You can't play favorites like that. Let us through too!"

Quick as a flash you grab his finger. As you bend his digit back towards him, the all to familiar noise of cracking bones ringing in your ears, you open your mouth and deliver a sentence that commands respect. "¡Mi madre puede pasar!"

Traté de traducir esta maravillosa historia en español (con la ayuda de Google, para ser honesto):

Imagine que eres el portero de un club nocturno muy exigente conocido como El Kluk. Hay una larga fila y te estás rechazando entrada de todo el mundo porque los propietarios de club quieren que preservar por El Kluk la reputación de exclusividad. Acabas de rechazar a un tipo particularmente enojado cuando ves una cara familiar. ¡Oh Dios mio, es tu propia madre!

"Oh, cariño, no sabía que trabajabas aquí, ¿qué tal si dejaras entrar a tu querida madre en el club?"

Te enfrentas con un dillema moral. ¿Debes arriesgar perder tu trabajo dejando a tu madre en El Kluk, o arriesgar muchos días de fiestas dolorosas junto con una madre vengativa? Después de un momento de vacilación, la elección se vuelve obvia. Abres la puerta y le das un pase VIP. Tua querida vieja madre se dirige al Kluk por una noche memorable de discoteca y diversión, mientras que te deja para lidiar con una multitud de veinteañeros enfurecidos.

"Hey, ¿cuál es la gran idea?" exige a un joven en un suéter en cuello de tortuga que mientras te pincha en el pecho. "No puedes jugar favoritos así. ¡Vamos a través de nosotros también!"

Rápido como un flash tú agarras su dedo. A medida que doblas su dígito de nuevo hacia él, todo el ruido familiar de los huesos quebrados resonando en tus oídos, te abres la boca y entregas una frase que manda respeto. "My mother can go through!"

(Refranero español)


Alexey Zakharov, The Old New World

Flatiron District in 1931
(image source: Daily Mail)
no copyright infringement intended

A short film made by Muscovite photographer and animator Alexey Zakharov, who found (on Shorpy) old photos of NY, Boston, Detroit, DC and Baltimore and brought them to life (source: petapixel).

Alexey Zakharov: it's a photo-based animation project offering a travel back in time with a little steampunk time machine.

Alexey Zakharov, The Old New World
(source: petapixel)

(Russian and Soviet Cinema)

Friday, April 07, 2017

Mikhail Romm, His Movies About Lenin

Ленин в 1918 году, Михаил Ромм, 1939
в роли Ленина – Борис Щукин
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

when a viewer chooses a film made in the times of Stalin, he should be ready for the ideological pathos that it will most surely contain; if one is able to either treat it with condescension, attributing much to the time, or to keep in mind a vivid image of the historical period and try to imagine himself in the place of the original viewers, he is bound to be in for an immensely pleasant experience; if not, it would be better to completely avoid early Soviet cinema - for the sake of not labeling as bad something that has simply not been fully understood (recordaras)

a well-known and able filmmaker who managed to make intelligent work like this even under the constraints of Stalinism (mikebailey823)

Along the years Mikhail Romm had to come back and rework his movies about Lenin several times, as the heroes exalted sometime by the Soviet propaganda were suddenly becoming the villains to be erased from history. In the 30's Romm had to exclude from the footage the figure of any of the bolsheviks condemned throughout the Stalinist purges - and especially to present Stalin as the closest companion of Lenin (regardless of how close or loose had actually been everything). Later, in the 60's, Romm had to revisit the footage and shrink the size of Stalin as much as he could. And Mikhail Romm did very carefully his job each time. They were propaganda movies, and that's expected from a propaganda movie, to keep in line.

Thus, if you want to understand what really happened in Russia in 1917-1918, forget about. Or maybe you will understand something else, the way the Soviet society of the thirties was getting the Stalinist version of the story. But, if you are interested in movie art, you will understand the fine quality of the filmmaker who was Mikhail Romm. His movies about Lenin have no connection with what really happened. Just propaganda. Still, they build a cinematographic universe, fake of course, while extremely humane and extremely convincing. Mikhail Romm had a superb grasp of the small details of life, those small details that fill our existence. It was his immense experience acquired during the Civil War years, as he traveled throughout Russia all azimuths, and knew a lot of people facing a lot of situations. And these two propaganda movies are full of these small details, thus no wonder that behind what's told on the screen you feel some untold stories about anonymous men and women who had happened to live in those years and for better or worse had happened to make things happen.

(Mikhail Romm)


Thursday, April 06, 2017

Tarik Ali about the October Revolution

(source: http://tariqali.org/archives/3211)
no copyright infringement intended

An article by Tarik Ali published in NY Times, analyzing the October Revolution, the way it was prepared, and the subsequent years of Civil War and War Communism. And another article by Tarik Ali from The Guardian.

(Tarik Ali)


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Tarik Ali

Tarik Ali (طارق علی)
(image source: http://tariqali.org)
no copyright infringement intended

British-Pakistani writer, journalist, historian, filmmaker, political activist, and public intellectual, born in Lahore in 1943; studied at Oxford; member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review and Sin Permiso, contributor to The Guardian, CounterPunch, and the London Review of Books; author of several books, including Pakistan: Military Rule or People's Power (1970), Can Pakistan Survive? The Death of a State (1991), Pirates Of The Caribbean: Axis Of Hope (2006), Conversations with Edward Said (2005), Bush in Babylon (2003), Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2002), A Banker for All Seasons (2007), The Duel (2008), The Obama Syndrome (2010)[3] and The Extreme Centre: A Warning (2015) [info source: wiki]

I had a long discussion yesterday on Facebook with some friends, a discussion that was far from being devoid of controversies and misunderstandings; it was about an article in NY Times authored by Tarik Ali and giving his analysis of the 1917 October Revolution. It happens that I am just reading one of his film scenarios (consecrated this time to the Trials of Spinoza). I also have read some time ago a couple of his books. His opinions are radical, thus controversial, while the consistency of his writing makes him a valuable source of information and reflection. I think that in order to understand a topic you need to read opinions that you agree with as well as opinions contrary to your views. It is the only way to enrich your approach of various events and phenomena and to get a good balance over them.

(A Life in Books)


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Dimitrie Onciul

Dimitrie Onciul
(image source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

Romanian historian, archivist, heraldist; professor at the Bucharest University, president of the Romanian Academy from 1920 until his death in 1923; together with Ioan Bogdan initiated a direction of critical approach in the study of Romanian history; dealt with the issue of Romanian origin, developing a theory based on admigration: the Romanian people was formed over a wide area on both sides of the Danube
(info source: wiki)

(A Life in Books)

Mario Vargas Llosa, Llegaron las aguas

(fuente: La Tercera)
no copyright infringement intended

Dice Llosa, cuando (fue) a Piura por primera vez, en 1946, la ciudad y sus contornos, rodeados de arenales desiertos, se morían de sed. El río Piura era de avenida y las aguas sólo llegaban en el verano, cuando se deshelaba la cordillera y, convertida en cascadas y arroyos, bajaba a traer la vida a las calcinadas tierras de la costa. La llegada de las aguas a Piura era una fiesta con fuegos artificiales, bandas de música, valses y tonderos, y hasta el obispo metía sus pies en el agua para bendecir a las aguas bienhechoras. Los chiquillos más valientes se arrojaban al flamante río Piura desde lo más alto del Puente Viejo. Sesenta y cinco años después, las mismas aguan que traían ilusiones y prosperidad, acarrean la muerte y la devastación a una de las regiones peruanas que se había modernizado y crecido más en los últimos tiempos. Curiosamente, esta tragedia parece haber tocado una fibra íntima en la sociedad en general, pues el pueblo entero del Perú da la impresión de haberse volcado en un movimiento de solidaridad.

(Mario Vargas Llosa)


Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Álcool (rendido em romeno por Dan Caragea)

(fonte de imagen: Estúdio Raposa)
no copyright infringement intended

Guilhotinas, pelouros e castelos 
Resvalam longamente em procissão; 
Volteiam-me crepúsculos amarelos, 
Mordidos, doentios de roxidão. 

Batem asas d'auréola aos meus ouvidos, 
Grifam-me sons de côr e de perfumes, 
Ferem-me os olhos turbilhões de gumes, 
Desce-me a alma, sangram-me os sentidos. 

Respiro-me no ar que ao longe vem, 
Da luz que me ilumina participo; 
Quero reunir-me, e todo me dissipo - 
Luto, estrebucho... Em vão! Silvo pra além... 

Corro em volta de mim sem me encontrar... 
Tudo oscila e se abate como espuma... 
Um disco de ouro surge a voltear... 
Fecho os meus olhos com pavor da bruma... 

Que droga foi a que me inoculei? 
Ópio d'inferno em vez de paraíso?... 
Que sortilégio a mim próprio lancei? 
Como é que em dor genial eu me eterizo? 

Nem ópio nem morfina. O que me ardeu, 
Foi alcool mais raro e penetrante: 
É só de mim que eu ando delirante - 
Manhã tão forte que me anoiteceu.

Música e Interpretação por Aires Ferreira
(video por Serpente)

Castele și ghiulele, ghilotine,
Prelung alunecă-n cortegiu toate;
Mă-nconjură amurguri opaline,
De mov bolnăvicioase, sfâșiate.

Aripi de-aureolă auzu-mi bat,
Mă răzvrătesc parfumuri și culori
Tăișuri, ochi rănindu-mi, în vâltori,
Îmi sângerează simțuri, mă străbat.

Eu mă respir în aer de departe,
Luminii ce mă scaldă mă-ntregesc;
Unit mă vreau și întreg mă risipesc –
Mă zvârcol, lupt…În van! Chemări deșarte…

Alerg în juru-mi fără a mă-ntâlni…
Declin e-n tot, ca spuma-n taină piere…
Un disc de aur începe a se-nvârti…
Pe ochi aștern a-ntunecimii fiere….

Ce drog ciudat în vine mi-am prelins?
Satanic opiu-n loc de rai ceresc?…
În ce vrăjitorie m-am cuprins?
Cum oare în durerea-mi veșnicesc?

Nici opiu, nici morfina. M-a-nflăcărat
Pătrunzătorul alcool, elixir,
Din vina mea cutreier în delir –
Prea tarea dimineață m-a-nnoptat.

(Mário de Sá-Carneiro)

(Dan Caragea)

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