Tuesday, 25 March 2014

How to tell if you're special?

When your father's name is looked up for in a Spanish-German dictionary.
I am fully aware of the fact that my father's name is difficult enough for Romanian people to pronounce it, but I had a hearty laugh and I could not see this occurrence but as a great compliment.
I am a special person.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Boredom

Today Mr. Beaver has decided upon never answering to the door whenever bored. He had giving this a lot of thought: If I am bored, why spoil it? It is better to keep it low. One never knows, but instead of being bored, one could get insanely mad over anything outside one's door.
Sometimes boredom feels nice. It gives a somewhat feeling of belonging, of knowing that the feeling is so intense that you could actually touch it. And by touching it, one could also prove one's existence.
Mr. Beaver always considered himself a great philosopher although he had never had a proof of acknowledgement from others. He took a glimpse of himself in the mirror and concluded that he could easily pass by as a philosopher. He surely had the Roman jaw for it.
Mr. Beaver sat down on one of his grassy chairs, grabbed the wooden pencil his old friend Fox had given him and started scrawling on a water melon: I am bored therefore I am.
He grinned at himself thinking: Descartes got it totally wrong.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

I, the illustrator

When I was in kindergarten I loved to draw. I loved using especially colored pencils as it seemed to me that in this way the drawings were much closer to reality. Thus, my parents made sure that I never run out of laid paper and colored pencils.
I used to have two drawing obsessions: bunch of grapes and people. Hundreds of pieces of paper spread all around the house would praise the purple bunch of grapes. A green one would have given me the impression that it was not ripe, and I had no idea whatsoever that red grapes existed. A straight line made of circle next to circle would be my perfect drawing of a bunch of grapes, and beneath it I would draw another one, with two circles less. I was an artist and no one in my class could match my talent.
My drawings of people weren't so successful. My parents disliked the fact that they were so hirsute, and that their arms were almost always longer than their legs. And so, for a while I gave up on drawing. Instead, I wrote capital letters on the back of chairs and tables in the house, using colored pencils. 
In my secondary school I came to my senses. When tree-dimensional geometry and I were introduced. The cone, the conical frustum, the cylinder, the pyramid etc., all were magical to me. I drew them with utmost dedication until the year ended. Then, I stopped.
Nowadays, I started drawing again. With the most ardent devotion. People and squirrels. I have never found myself flying so high.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Please be sited as comfortable as possible since you are going to be charmed for almost two hours and not be able to leave your sofa. The suspense and humor are mainly responsible for it.
The script of the movie is an adaption of the play of the same name by Agatha Christie, and the leading actors are Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton.
Sir Wilfrid (Charles Laughton), barrister, comes home after being discharged from hospital following a heart attack. He received recommendations in order to change his way of life, closely supervised by nurse Plimsoll (Elsa Lanchester). Disobedient and jestful, Sir Wilfrid wins over the spectators right from the first remarks he makes to nurse Plimsoll. And just as it seems to have no escape but to comply with the recommended schedule, Sir Wilfrid receives a visit from one of his colleagues, asking to receive a case. To his nurse and his employees dismay, Sir Wilfrid accepts to defend Mr. Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), and not because he finds the case interesting, but because Mr. Vole's wife, Christine Vole (Marlene Dietrich), intrigues him. Being an American war veteran, Mr. Vole is accused of having murdered Mrs. Emily French (Norma Varden), a widow of 56 years old. Even though he is happily married, Mr. Vole enjoys Mrs. French's company, with whom he often discusses about his inventions, the latest being an egg batter. The case gets more complicated when news spreads out that Mrs. French had left Mr. Vole a fortune of 80.000 pounds. Thus, the only witness that could avow Mr. Vole's innocence is his wife, being his only alibi. 
Turn-overs happen and Mr. Wilfrid tries to find the best solutions in order to prove his client's innocence, in which he believes more and more as the trial advances.
Being one of the most famous and inspired American directors from Hollywood's Golden Age, Billy Wilder chose to film wide frames, giving the spectators the chance of a broad perspective upon the action and letting them draw their own conclusions, without trying to influence them. That is why narrow frames will be noticed only at times when characters are distressed.
Mr. Leonard Vole appears to be a dreamer, an innocent and inexperienced idealist, just as flexible as a marionette in the hands of his wife's. From the very beginning, Mr. Vole claims to have done nothing wrong and he truly believes that he cannot be arrested for something that he did not do. Only when Sir Wilfrid informs him that he might be arrested does Mr. Vole start to worry. The maximum naivety moment Mr. Leonard Vole was caught in was when he finds out about the amount of money he inherited from Mrs. French and picks up the telephone to inform his wife.
Just as Sir Wilfrid was questioning his future client, police come to arrest Mr. Vole. The barrister's remark illustrates his belief about the accused: "Here is the dangerous Mr. Leonard Vole. You'd better search him. He might be armed with an egg batter."
Right after the arrest, Sir Wilfrid advises his colleague regarding the way he should inform Mrs. Vole about what happened to her husband, and tells him that as the lady is a foreigner, she might get hysterical. This is when Christine Vole makes her appearance, interrupting Sir Wilfrid and telling him that he must not be afraid as she is very disciplined. The answers, but mostly Mrs. Vole's behaviour, intrigue Sir Wilfrid so much that he feels obliged to defend Mr. Vole. When visiting Mr. Leonard Vole in the prison, and trying to explain the conduct of the mysterious Mrs. Vole, Sir Wilfrid asks him to describe the circumstances in which he met his wife. A full-hearted Mr. Vole tells the story of their encounter.
Christine Vole appears as an example of self control. Compared to her husband, Christine appears to be unyielding and vindictive, and this antithesis between what Mrs. Vole seems to be and what Mr. Vole tells about her is the motivating factor for Sir Wilfrid in order to establish the truth.
'Witness for the Prosecution' cannot be described as a simple movie, centered upon a murder case. It is a beautiful account of the human life and whirl. It can be, at the same time, comedy, drama and thriller. It is a movie that makes us witness a love story, like it was and like it will be, with only one exception - the intensity lived by the characters. And from all of the questions, surely one will endure for centuries to come: what is one willing to do for one's loved one?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Student Dream

Today I saw a squirrel. No, I have not been to the woods. I was passing by an university when my attention was drawn by a fluffy tail, moving around quickly. I thought I was seeing things. But I was not. It was a happy-go-lucky squirrel running on a high ramp in front of the university building. Around there were students of all ages, dressed in lively colors and wearing the most beautiful accessory - a smile. And then how could not a squirrel run around them so freely? 
I remembered the times when I was a student myself and I could not refrain from making a comparison. Every day, when leaving the university, I had to face a dreadful wind as the building of the university was in the middle of a land outside the built-up area. But this was not the greatest challenge. The bus that connected the university to the dorm I was living in would come once every 30  minutes. If you missed it, you risked to stand against the wind and cold until the next one would come.
Contrary to what I saw today, the students back then would wear a lot of accessories but seldom smiles. And my waiting was never rewarded with the sight of a squirrel running around. Today I felt avenged.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Wings

I have wished for such a long time to be getting wings! 
I almost believed I could grow some in my beauty sleep. I woke up one morning and decided that it was high time I stopped dreaming. And opened my eyes. My glance was cast upon you, and ever since I have been hearing sweet notes coming far-far away from a red piano. Now I no longer have dreams with me flying over meadows and deltas. I am actually flying. No wings involved. In fact, I received a pair of them as a gift, but I have kept them in their special box, trying to keep them new as much as possible. And thus I learned that far away can be sooner reached than what’s close, and that dearest is not a noun or an adjective, but a magnifying glass. You just have to know when to use it. And more important: never, never raise it up to your eyes. Instead, make sure you bent your view through it, and not the other way around. Things are always clearer when nothing is distracting the sight.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Canto

When I was a teenager I had a friend who attended singing lessons. It is true that I had never heard her sing (she claimed that she cannot sing in front of the people she knew), and I took her at her word that she had a beautiful voice. Well, after 10-15 attendances she was already bored. And not because of the signing, but because the teacher blessed her with a song she had to sing at every attendance, Barbra Streisand – Woman in love. She became so horrified with the song that she started shivering any time she used to hear the word ‘love’ or if somebody mentioned the name of Barbra Streisand. This is why I think that two years ago she must have been on the brink of depression to hear almost ceaselessly on the radio a song that kept repeating: Barbra Streisand. I truly believe that she must have felt avenged and supported the people who wanted to record a similar song, praising Stela Popescu.
Anyway, I used to hear her telling me about the diaphragm – that thing that supports the singing – and I used to imagine myself (as I was her friend, and that somehow guaranteed me my voice, too) as the new Whitney Houston, to say the least. And so I used to grab the red badminton bat and confidently perform in front of the mirror in my room. I would inevitably start with « end aiiiiiiii » (in those times I had no idea what that lady sang and how one would spell it – I was certain about one thing, something was hurting her. I, instead, was tormented by talent) and I would not stop until my sister would come, probably sent by my mother, to calm me down, whispering affectionate menaces. My precious memory, actually proving the beauty of my voice, leads me back to one summer afternoon. My mom and my sis were in the living room, tailoring and sewing some clothes. I had to make the most of it as they weren’t around the stage, and the sewing machine was noisy enough. I took the microphone a.k.a. the hair brush and I started: « bitaaar suit me-morizz… ». Perking up my ears, I continued to sing encouraged by the fact that no one came to ask me to shut up and I concluded that since I had been singing so much, my voice must have sounded better. I finished my song. Still no one appeared. And so I started singing another song. And this was when I heard footsteps in the hall. The door to my room opened. Two inquiring eyes were staring at me. My sister’s eyes. “Ah, it was you singing! And we thought that we left the radio on!” I had never felt so proud before. If my voice sounded just like one on the radio, then I was going to have a glorious musical future.

Fame has not yet been cast upon me. But I won’t stop. « End aiiiiiii, uil olueiz lave iuuuuuu……..»

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The storyteller

My mother is the best storyteller. I think that only in few occasions was I lucky enough to meet people so devoted to the plot, but also to the gestures and mimics of the main characters. There are stories that I heard my mother tell a dozen of times, and I just can't get enough of her retelling them. Just like my father, my mother left her mark on the way I see the world. But in order to be completely honest, I must add that she helped me understand the world by enabling me to imagine it. Thus, I learned to imagine sketches, and my imagination was always encouraged to go beyond limits, even if these limits applied to theater directing or costumes.
Her stories captured me because of their plot, but they way they were presented encouraged me to always imagine the set in which the action took place, to actually see the characters (even if I never met them), to hear their words and to notice their tone of voice, to almost smell the perfume of an immense bunch of freesia carried by a passer-by and to hear the harsh remark of a participant to a serious dispute.

I am not in the wrong to state that almost all my mother's stories were kept in my memory as wisdom stories. Their value is priceless, and not because of their application in the real life, but because of their immeasurable connection my mother created between us, the members of her family. As she will always be the authentic storyteller, and us the faithful preservers of the story.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Moray

A scent of blue beneath the coast,
I wandered awfully astray.
A touch against your weavy mask
And you appear.... Moray.

I dreamt about you ceaselessly
And waited for a spark to climb,
While they were talking bitterly
About the years to come.

There is no turning back to this.
I praise you: Shine!
And I will give you utter bliss
Upon the day you're mine.