Friday, 20 May 2016

‘The Folding Canvas Chair of the Actor’ by Mircea Diaconu


Reading the book ‘When winter comes here, to us’, I realized that Mircea Diaconu is not just a magnificent actor, but also a great story-teller. Consequently, when I saw the book ‘The Folding Canvas Chair of the Actor’ on a shelf in a bookstore, I did not think too much about buying it. 
I read it very quickly, fearing that soon I would finish it. And, actually, this is what makes a good book stand out. Not pompous words and praises about the skill of the writing words. No. Only that intense experience and that curiosity which keeps one reading, even though one feels sad about finishing the book.
To have the courage of not taking oneself too seriously after years and years of experience and resounding successes… well, this is for me the definition of modesty. 
Mr. Mircea Diaconu writes with an extraordinary modesty about his beginnings. Moreover, this modesty is a pledge of his immense love for his profession. Self-irony and cynicism appear also in the book, and they represent for me the tastiest ingredients one could find in the written literature. I share the same fascination with the author about autumn – for me, it had almost always marked beginnings – which he so lovely presents in some pages of his book.

‘The Folding Canvas Chair of the Actor’ is not a book about theatre or movie, in general. It is an arrow-actor willing to make all necessary sacrifices in order to get to the point where it was sent to. It is, if one wants, a ‘just for fun’ lesson about what it means to be motivated and to love (one’s profession, the public, personal life, colleagues, things around one and that encourage one, enemies, critics, texts to be memorized, and even the pictures taken for marketing purposes).

Monday, 16 May 2016

‘Happy Funerals’ (2013)


I have recently seen ‘Happy Funerals’. It’s been a while since I wanted to watch this movie, and I now had my chance. On 15th of April 2016, Florin Piersic Cinema in Cluj Napoca. Yes, a month has passed since then, but I am like this – to the things that greatly impress me I leave them time to settle down within me, while I digest their preciousness.
Right before the movie started, Mr. Horațiu Mălăele told us that this movie is very dear to him and has a great significance for him. I understood why he said that, or maybe not entirely, when tears came to my eyes at the end of the movie.
I am going to start with the beginning, though. Once I saw the movie ‘Nuntă Mută’, my interest in Romanian movies suffered a reanimation. I hadn’t experienced that since ‘Buletin de București’ and ‘Filantropica’. But then, step by step, I watched on youtube some extraodinary Romanian old movies, among which I must mention ‘Singurătatea florilor’. Oh, but I got carried away. Something I easily do. Since I saw the movie ‘Nuntă Mută’, I have been waiting for Mr. Mălăele to come with another movie. It has been a while, but it was worth it. ‘Happy Funerals’ is an incredible movie-symbol. I already feel like I have enormously chopped away of its mastership by qualifying it like this. It is more, actually, a lot more. It is life in its purest whirl, it is smile and intense living, it is friendship and hypocrisy, it is song and strong love for tomorrow. The actors play wonderfully, a mild and tender delight.  

After seeing the movie, I tried to buy a DVD with it, but I could not find one. I would have loved to give it to everyone in search of answers or questions. Do believe me, this movie contains them all! So, I drew the conclusion that Mr. Horațiu Mălăele was right when he had asserted that his movies haven’t been so much appreciated in our country, yet he was glad that at least they were successful abroad. ‘Happy Funerals’ is a movie that must be seen at least once in a lifetime (that is also because it is possible that when you see it for the first time, you might not grasp some symbols), and not because I say so, but because you must convince yourselves that something so extraordinary exists.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Susan Sontag – In America


Emigrating can be an experience hard to describe; but, still, Susan Sontag manages to grasp its main points. And moreover, within the pages of her novel she presents torments related to social life, professional life, couple’s existence, aspirations, wishes more or less hidden, and fragments of a woman’s soul.
I hope the fragments below will convince you:

‘Such a humiliating experience to be robbed of the past. No one knows – and even if they did, who would care?! – who my grandfather was. General… what's his name? Maybe they heard of Pulaski, but only because he came to America, or of Chopin, because he lived in France. While in Poland, I used to congratulate myself that my sense of dignity was not due to my name or rank. I was far too different from my family, I had better and more beautiful goals, I had other weaknesses. But I was proud to be Polish. And here, this pride, and being Polish, is no longer relevant, and also an obstacle, for it transforms us into out of fashion people…’

 ‘Sparks of hope, like some sparks of desire. A new start. I wonder how many things should one give up to in order to have the privilege of ‘the new start’. For more than fifty years, Europeans have told themselves: ‘If things should go bad, we can leave anytime to America.’ Lovers whose connection was not accepted by society, running away from their families’ interdictions, artists incapable of winning a public worthy of their work, revolutionaries oppressed by the futility of their revolutionary effort…. Towards America we go! This America that should repair the absurdity of Europe’s sins or simply make one forget about what one had wanted, and replace one’s wishes with new ones.’

 ‘One must make one’s goals float a little higher from the ground, to keep others from profaning them. Also, one should free oneself from drawbacks and humiliation so that they won’t root within one and suffocate one’s soul.’

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

My dear Vlad!

Today, we celebrate 94 years since the day Vlad Mușatescu was born. And what kind of celebration is that without one of his wonderful texts?!


Vlad Mușatescu – The Games of Detective Conan

(excerpt)

If I was admitted, actually seized, in room nr. 2 to the Clinique of the Institute of Endocrinology, everything is due to my desperate attempts to find an oasis of peace in order to finish my so long dreamed novel. The magazine I work for, for over two decades, had approved two creation holidays. That I wasted in hopeless searches that resulted in disasters. Because, during the aforementioned holidays, if I did not manage to write anything remarkable, at least I totally made use of my detective inclinations. Except for the almost total demolition and disintegration of ‘Bombitza’ (my 600 D Fiat), now in reconditioning, under the direct supervision of my nephew, the engineer, at ‘Cyclops’ workhouse, from Drumul Taberii, everything turned out just fine. That is, without me writing my novel, and a surplus of weight. Bulgarian Penke, my wife, together with aunt Ralitza, the craziest representative of my family, from my father’s side, were both scared by my successes in this area, and convinced me, almost forced me, to accept being scientifically explored by the eminent doctors from ‘Parhon’. Fed at gram and by feeding bottle, only with diuretic and laxative teas, with unidentifiable vegetables and fruits (5% carbohydrates), I was no longer capable of thinking straight, let alone write a single line at my dream novel. Or, my good friends, Doru-the doctor and Sandu- the big guy ensured me that I will become a kind of super-writer. Once my body was toxin-free, coming from unreasonable nourishment, I would have the capability of an astronaut, able to create genial pages. That’s a good one! Even from the very first day, I felt a permanent state of dizziness. If the night shift janitor of the Institute hadn’t taken me to his heart, the next day I would have been dead. So, because of him, I came back to the normal life. And to my favorite food, that I could never consider harmful. What could be so dangerous in a slice of well-done bacon, a little brown just enough to become crunchy, accompanied by 16 fried eggs, and a couple of strong coffees, well-smoked by some quality cigarettes? After all, let’s be serious! Had Balzac been a bag of bones? Or Alexandre Dumas- the father? No way. Just look at their photos and you will be convinced of the contrary.