Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Story of All Stories

 “A love story is not about those who lost their heart but about those who find that sullen inhabitant who, when it is stumbled upon, means the body can fool no one, can fool nothing—not the wisdom of sleep or the habit of social graces. It is a consuming of oneself and the past.”

I have been taking a creative course on "The Future of Storytelling", which seems quite interesting after its first week, and my first assignment is to write about the story that has impressed me the most. My first thought, and the one which stayed with me the past few days was to talk about "The English Patient", since this is the story that impressed me the most, it is one of those stories that gets engrained in your heart forever.
I still remember having seen the movie for the first time at the cinema close to my place, back in 1997, and the emotions that kept on gathering during its showing. I remember how beautiful and tragic everything seemed, how every glimpse that the two characters shared felt like everlasting love. I liked Hana more that Katharine at first, maybe because she felt more down to earth, but after seeing the film for more than 6 times, I can say that I do understand Katharine better now.

I am sure that everyone will really like to experience such a life altering love story, that goes beyond being alive and present, but of course, without its tragic end.

I also remember looking for the soundtrack, that perfect music that rendered the movie even more enchanting. At that time CDs were not very popular in my country but I luckily found an American volunteer who I was working with in the summer of 2001 and she kindly recorded a tape for me. Needless to say I still have it.

But my journey towards the most beautiful story ever told did not stop there. A Romanian publishing house decided to print the book in Romanian and I can still recall the excitement with which I started reading the book, absorbing its every word. Then, in 2007, while in Northern Germany, I found "The English Patient" in its original English version in a small bookshop. What a happy encounter that was! And in 2010 I wanted to own a different, "improved" English edition, which I now do. While my passion grew bigger each day, I started following Ralph Fiennes's and Kristin Scott Thomas' careers and I can truly say they are incredible actors, never disappointing me with the parts they played. Oh, I also managed two years ago to get Michael Ondaatje's autograph on his newest release, "The Cat's Table". Lucky me, I guess.

As for the story developing in "The English Patient", if you have seen the movie or read the book, there is no point in telling you about its beauty and if you haven't read or seen the book, then you have to see for yourself as I do not plan on spoiling everything for you...

“Her life with others no longer interests him. He wants only her stalking beauty, her theatre of expressions. He wants the minute secret reflection between them, the depth of field minimal, their foreignness intimate like two pages of a closed book.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm only Happy when it Rains...

If you don't like the rain, then you will love it after you read Martin Page's book "About the Rain". 

Martin Page is a young French writer born in 1975 and who debuted at 25 with his book "How I Became Stupid". The essay - and my first book written by him - "About the Rain" was written in French back in 2007 and so far it has been translated only into Romanian, Greek and Korean. It wonderfully describes the role of the rain in eroticism, music or sacred matters. It represents a beautiful praise, both poetical and philosophical and I found myself wanting to write down every other line so I could remember it later on. However, I stopped at the following lines, mainly because they may be the most mesmerizing ever written about my favorite place in Paris, the Sacre Coeur cathedral and the simple yet miraculous rain.

 "Under the rain I am effervescent from my entire being. I am just like the Sacre Coeur cathedral in Montmartre, built from Chateau - Landon stone, which oozes a white substance when it rains. A chemical process is set off. Like a tablet of aspirin I foam and I quiver. It is not at all unpleasant to mix with the air. Disappearing, my body gains a presence. I am tightly connected with Nature. The drops fall on my skin and, just as on the surface of a swamp, they trace wavy, passing circles that reach my heart."

You can pay Martin Page a visit here.  
P.S. Thank you, Alle, for lending me the book :) 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Night at the Opera

While some of you may be busy with Dewey's Read-a-thon, which I couldn't join because of too much work and a lack in reading time, I did find some moments to escape the crazy routine and go see a wonderful show, staged by The National Opera in Cluj Napoca. I am talking about Puccini's mesmerizing "Il Trittico", which premiered last month when the new opera season started.

The three one act operas were directed by the Hungarian director K. Gyorgy and conducted by the Italian conductor David Crescenzi. The operas were sung in Italian, with Romanian translations available and they swayed from tragic love (Il Tabarro) to a tormented soul (Suor Angelica) climaxing with roars of laughter during "Gianni Schicchi". It was incredible to see such a complex performance and also one of my former students in a supporting role during the last act and I am definitely looking forward to seeing "Madame Butterfly" in the next few months.