Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Divine Order, 2017

(Photo source: IMDB)

Having a brave and provocative script, the movie "The Divine Order" is more than a simple presentation of the Feminist fight for women's rights in society.

Usually, people are ashamed to talk about Feminism - and this because the whole idea of Feminism has been shaped in the back of their minds as representing agressive women that hate men. Others prefer to silence me by pointing out that nowadays women have access to anything they want and that the situation has very much changed, or even that nowadays women are positively discriminated (check the month of March in Romania, with its traditional Mărțișor and the related flowers).
It's true, things have changed a little. But the prejudice lingers on. I must admit that I have thought about it for days, after seeing this movie, and was somewhat scared to take in the information that in a certain canton in Switzerland, women received the right to vote only in 1990. 1990 was yesterday, of course the prejudice lingers on.

Should I give you an example from 2018?! I recently recommended a book on Goodreads to a man. It was a book written by a Romanian contemporary woman writer (on Goodreads, if you rate a book with four or five stars you can recommend it to your Goodreads friends). The reaction I got was absolutely ghastful. The man wrote me a message and asked me what was it in his looks that made me think 'he was gay'. Moreover, he considered it acceptable to alter the title of the book with a diminutive suffix so he could indicate the smallness of the importance of the book. I'll let you draw your own conclusions!
We need more of these types of movies. Not because we hate men. But for the mere reason that women should not be referred to by means of diminutive suffixes.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Emilia Muller Brand

A couple of days ago, somebody asked me how I would describe myself, as a brand. It was noteasy, but I managed to draw a concise picture of it. Here it goes:

A smile is always on Emilia Muller’s lips, and she brims over with creativity, musicality, laughter, willingness to recycle and a longing for friendship. Even though she is an organized person, Emilia Muller does not only carry to-do-lists along with her, but also verses, ideas for articles, ideas for books and even ideas for making/ remaking clothes.
She has a special hunger for reading books and is capable of giving reading recommendations. When she does not write, Emilia Muller watches movies. A lot of movies, actually, and she writes reviews for some of them on one of the four blogs she manages.
Emilia Muller laughs. She does that with a lot of strength, being aware that it is one of the most efficient exercises for the facial muscles. And so we arrive to the musicality issue. Emilia Muller sings. Beautifully, according to her sayings. Others, though, have hesitations.
Friends?! There aren’t many places left in the world where Emilia Muller does not have friends. She understands, quite clearly, the value of friendship and she knows that everything is done with people, by people and for people.
Emilia Muller is fond of recycling. She recycles everything. Though she had more projects involving clothes (of hers, of her friends or her family’s), which she patches or gives them another use. The most astonishing recycled work (which was not an item of clothing) is a round wooden scale. When it broke, Emilia Muller did not have the heart to throw it away. She kept it, painted it, and then made it a gift to a dear friend, to cheer up his living-room.
Emilia Muller writes. And she is also published. She has arrived to the exact number of four and a half books. A novella. A children’s story, which she also illustrated (oh, I forgot to mention – she also likes to draw). A short story collection. The bilingual edition of the short story collection – in Romanian and in English – (this is the explanation for that half). And a novel. Her first novel, which actually carries a picturesque name – “The Sewing Club”.
And if a song should be chosen in order to show the musicality of the brand, this would be it:

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Zully Mustafa - "The Third Traveler"

I read the novel “The Third Traveler” written by Zully Mustafa in a very conscious slow-motion. I wished for it not to end too soon, worried that I might miss out on moments while reading it too fast. There were a lot of times when I closed the covers of the book and stared aimlessly. I think this is the case for any reader that finds out the book she/ he is reading is written in her/ his secret language.

“These constant pressures to give the best of oneself, as fast as possible and in due time; this crazy rush, killer of spirits, a rush for perfect words, when all I wanted was the leisure of writing. And to have enough money to buy myself colored skirts, dressed in which I could see the world, or to buy myself some popcorn.” 
(excerpt from "The Third Traveler")

During the year I first read the novel “The Grapes Have Ripen without Her Being Present” (another novel written by Zully Mustafa) I was searching for a Camino de Santiago, I just did not know it existed. Once I finished reading the novel, I realized that the experience had changed me so much that I was amazed how simple things were to look at afterwards. Actually, I did not feel the need of a pilgrimage; my dilemma was that I had too many answers for questions I did not have courage to ask myself.

Years after that, the same happened when reading the novel “The Third Traveler”, and this time, the action occurred, mostly, on Camino. A revelation, two, three … Who kept the score?! The idea is that I made the questions click with the answers I had already known and thus, I closed the circle. What can be more comforting than that?! It seems to me that Zully’s books have the effect of a pilgrimage on my spirit.

And because I do not like to give away the mysteries of a book, I will only mention the points that clicked with me – the crave to go on a trip with a friend, the endless laughs between friends that have no explanation in the heads of those around, the power play, the lying, the bitter taste of disappointment, the rising sign, the frustration of working as a translator and not being paid by the beneficiary, gloomy people that have nothing to do with a domain that should be bringing light and inspiration, frustrated and aggressive people that are ready to tear one apart as soon as one turns one’s back, complete strangers that awe one by means of their kind and humble deeds, the shadow of someone dear long departed.
I recommend you to read the novel “The Third Traveler” by Zully Mustafa not because I had a beautiful experience while reading it, but because I am sure you will have one just as beautiful.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Town in Emilia Muller's Literature

Recently, it was held "The Town and Literature Festival". After participating to one of the events, I started pondering on my books. I was born and lived my life in a city, and very rarely I went to the countryside. It is true, life in the countryside has its charm, and if I remember my childhood, we were more free there and our grandparents were more indulgent and willing to satisfy our every whim; we had as many fruits as we wanted - we could even pick them from the trees - and we had a dog, that was ours for the duration of our stay. But still, I wouldn't live anywhere else but in a town for many reasons, among which I have to mention the lyric from a famous Romanian song, 'give me cinema'.
I searched throughout my books, and here it is what I found:

Friday, 9 March 2018

Reading from the novel 'The Sewing Club'

The apparel and the accessories were provided by Squirrel.

The text in English:
(Excerpt from 'The Sewing Club')

I went out of my apartment building just on time to catch the rain. The parka I was wearing was surely going to show its utility. I put the hood over my cap to make sure that I wouldn’t arrive soaking wet to Eliza’s house. The month of March was kind of moody, or maybe I was feeling that way about it giving that I was coveting summer and spring seemed to want to leave me with a brutal impression. Raindrops were furiously splashing over the causeway and, from time to time, the drops would hit my black pants. There, the drops looked like mercury drops easing their way into the fabric. Then they would quickly vanish, leaving behind an even blacker spot.
On the streets, people were armed and fighting using their umbrellas, which were very eager to throw themselves forward, just like a top of an epee. Some had already given up and were walking with fast and small steps, keeping their heads bowed. At the end of the street, the flashes of a car blinded me, and for a while I could only see a yellow background over which silvery needles were madly coming down from the sky. I turned right and went down the hill. Soon, I arrived near Eliza’s house. Across the street from her house there was a block of flats. There, nobody could notice me, and more, I was sheltered from the rain. I stopped in front of the entrance to the block of flats and took down the hood. The lightbulb from the light pole illuminated the street on which cars were passing by. They were fighting the waters while trying to mount; waters that were menacingly coming down towards them. What a show! And how tricksome are we, the human race, as we fight armed against the nature.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

For The International Women's Day, a little gift - Vlad Mușatescu

(From the Signs and Evrika Moments section)

‘The History of Romanian Literature – A compendium’ written by George Călinescu fades confronted with “Approximate adventures” written by Vlad Mușatescu. Not to mention that it does not have the same charm. Reading recommendations, writers, poets, literary critics, everyone – whether famous or not or people who would have had all the chances to become famous but luck decided otherwise – is mentioned here. My first reading of “Approximate adventures” found me not totally ready to understand the literary value of these jewels of books. Today, I read them once again and take notes. I write the names of those mentioned in these books, and then I will search and read their works. Vlad lives on! Not only through his wonderful work, but also through the inheritance of literary recommendation he has left us.
Enjoy the fragment below:

“He was not alone. Beside him there was an old, pale and anxious man, covered by the fumes of old age, a little bit crooked despite the height that exceeded the normal and who was resting his hand on the shoulder of a gentle little girl with bright eyes, which color I could not determine.
Acknowledging his rudeness, Tătălici hurried to introduce me to him, differently than how it should have been:
‘Petre Bellu and his niece!...’
I am not sure if I remember correctly; if he said niece or daughter. Well, it has no importance now, after so many years. As soon as I heard his name, my motors started to work. And had the visualization of the covers of some books from the ’15 lei collection’: “The Defender may speak now” and “The Case of Mrs.Predescu”. At the date when they were published, they caused quite a commotion, and Petre Bellu swiftly became a celebrity.
Being a little moved by the situation, I warmly shook hands with him and I stated with infinite admiration:
‘Master, Mr. Bellu, you can’t begin to imagine how happy I am to meet you! And still alive… I thought you were gone. For so many years, quite an eternity, nobody has mentioned you. Well, it’s normal considering your honorable age!...’
‘Oh. So how many years do you think I am, dear sir?’, asked me the popular novelist, showing some surprise.
‘In any event, not more than seventy, seventy-two, the most!’
Actually, I cut some years from the age I thought he looked like.
‘Oh my! Do I look that good?!, exclaimed Petre Bellu. Well, good for me, dear sir! This year I’ll turn fifty-four years old. It’s good, isn’t it?!
In that moment, I felt my vocal cords paralyzing. And, obviously, I couldn’t utter a word. Bratoloveanu had turned yellow, I turned red, and the little gentle girl was panting, ready to start crying. I had dropped a brick.
Petre Bellu, noticing the ridicule of the situation that I had so unskillfully created, with my own sensible and appreciative antennas, threw me a rope. He uttered a sour chuckle and kindly invited me.
‘Well, come with me, sir, and I’ll show you to the villa assigned for your publishing house. Even though I seem to you to be a million years old, I will help you with your luggage. Where is it?’
‘I left it in front of the composers’ villa!’
‘Perfect! They do not steal. Or maybe they do, but rarely. And only songs they hear on the radio. I realize that every time I switch the radio for London, Paris or Rome broadcasting stations. And lately, for Moscow, too.’
Guided by Petre Bellu, Tătălici Bratoloveanu and the girl, I finally arrived to the resting villa assigned for The State Publishing House.”

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

About a house

While listening to Radio România Cultural (Romanian Cultural Radio), I found out about a project dedicated to the Romanian Centennial
On Mondays, during the "The City Talks" show, a house in Bucharest tells its story. So it happened that on a Monday I passed by a house in my neighbourhood; a house that I have been starring at for two months.
The first time, I caught a glimpse of it at sunset. The vacant lot in front of it and the block of flats behind it made it easier for me to notice it. But not only the contrast gave it an advantage. The patina of charm did the trick.

The brick wall may had been functioning, at a certain time, as a support for a grape vine with perfumed grapes.
It seemed that the new has taken over. Otherwise, I can't explain the air conditioning and the satellite dish.

The brick chimneys and the wooden utility pole emphasize the sensation that I went back in time, without any fantastic machinery. The arches of the windows continue to give the house a noble spirit, even though the neglection is advanced.

If this house could talk to me, it would probably have many interesting things to recount. And I do not just mean balls, beautiful costumes, enchanting music and distinguished people. It would probably explain to me how the world has changed since it was built and how, still, it remained the same. I dare to believe that if I feel happiness by looking at the house, the same thing must have happened with those who have built it. With whom, thus, I have a lot in common, for I rejoice just as them at the sight of beauty. Sometimes it's hard for us to remain connected with the past. We consider that it has passed and nothing of it could find its place in the present.
But still, it does. Something still remains. Beauty.