glimpses of being whole

where is your soul? it is (in) my whole body, like a circle in a poem
or a song
“where you heading, little lamb?” my grandpa used to sing

you’re in this circle; what’s it made of? what do you see?

I can’t see anything but emptiness and silence and it’s not me, it’s me at 12 years old
and I can’t see my face but you can

I’m alone with the circle right in the middle of it; it’s drawn on a wooden floor, maybe walnut
and it gravitates like a planet around the sun, this floor floats in space like I used to float in my dreams above the houses

my face is my soul my whole body and in this circle there’s just a tiny figure that I imagine being me

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Mint gazpacho

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When summer hits you in the face, hit it back with a cold, comforting gazpacho. I made mine in less than 5 minutes, randomly adding green stuff in the blender: half of a ripe, healthy avo, a quarter of a fresh cucumber, mint leaves, half of a green pepper, lots of lemon juice and a splash of olive oil, two tiny garlic cloves and a quarter of red onion, salt & pepper & chilli flakes, cashew milk+ water. The result was beyond my expectations. So I treated myself with a raw lunch in the garden.

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Divided

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My 5 year young niece made this for me the other day and I was a bit surprised. I’ve never told her how I feel, yet she knew my heart is divided, as it is my home. Home is London but it’s also Cluj. I am me but also my self. Realising now the empathy of a 5 year old is stronger than any therapist’s. They don’t even ask questions, they just feel you.

Transylvania International Film Festival is over and I still haven’t published this post*

*it’s been an incredible journey through such inspiring stories. Can’t wait for the next one!!!

A 14 year old reindeer-breading Sámi girl exposed to racism in the ’30. A realistic (yet beautiful) view on the Romanian – British relationship as seen when falling in love. A lost watch. Teenage boys and their journey into adulthood and a movie I really wanted to see but missed. A local competition. A modern Oedipus complex and an interactive film. But first things first.

Sameblod (Sami Blood, Sweden, Denmark, Norway 2017)

Although it might seem a bit predictable, Sami Blood awakens emotions that are, in fairness, long gone. At first, I wanted to call it “the Swedish Titanic”, the structure resembles a tiny bit – the old lady returning to a place filled with (her own) history, and memories unleash. But it’s surprisingly delicate, touches not only racism issues but feminism and an educational system completely different from how we know it now, in a Nordic country. Personally, it reminded me of everything I knew about being close to your siblings: love, trust, forgiveness.

And somehow, I don’t quite understand why this wasn’t part of the competition, but the next one – Heart stone – was. Not that it’s bad, but it’s not that good. Or is it?

Hjartasteinn (Heart stone, Denmark, Iceland 2016)

Yes, it actually is. I was speechless. We’re not (yet) an educated public, as much as we’d like to pride ourselves with. We’re not quite there yet. And the response the movie had was – including from my side, after the screening – that it was a bit too romantic. Truth is, we should give it a second chance. We might not see it now, but there is a magic twist and bits and bobs of authentic being. 

God’s own country (UK, 2017)

“…until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path”. Well, I think it’s much more than that. After its premiere at the UK Edinburgh Film Festival in May, some people named it the British Brokeback Mountain, which I wont say it’s not, but as a Romanian myself, I saw things a bit differently aka the making of sheep cheese, Gheorghe’s resistance to insults and xenophobia when he’s being called a “dirty gypsy”. Funny thing, Francis Lee – the director and the Romanian casting director both agreed that it was way easier to find an actor for one of the main roles in Romania than it was in the UK.

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Zeus (Mexico, 2016)

A curious story based on Oedipus complex and falconry. Curious, weird, awkward, strange, authentic and unapologetic. I can’t say it was my favourite, but it certainly has a special place on my list. Miguel Calderón uses photography, video and novel writing to create his stories and his work was featured in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums.

Slava (Glory, Bulgaria, Greece 2016)

This Bulgarian tale of corruption and bureaucracy couldn’t have had a better public! It might seem odd and out of time for a Westerner, but the sad truth is that we’re still living it. When Tsanko Petrov, a railroad worker, finds millions of leva on the train tracks, he decides to turn the entire amount over to the police. Unfortunately, his luck changes (not in a good way) and everything falls in a desperate search for the here and now, as Tsanko’s two new watches skip time. Looks a bit like a contemporary poem.

Late Shift (UK, 2016)

Late Shift is the world’s first cinematic interactive movie and I’m super happy I got to see/ make it happen. I have to be honest, I was a little sceptic when I saw everyone with their phones in hand, ready to change (almost) every step and a little worried that it would be gaming, not watching a feature film. Now that I saw the trailer, it doesn’t look a bit like the the Late Shift on the screen!

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Fixeur (The Fixer, Romania, 2016)

Toronto 2016, Tokyo 2016, Les Arcs 2016, Stockholm 2016, Vilnius 2017, BAFICI 2017 and now TIFF. Would have been difficult to watch if not for the specific (black) humour of the Romanian creativity. Loved it. Would watch it again and again.

 

“I escape into movies every day. I think it absorbs the pain.”

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I’m going to start off with this magic quote from the latest film I’ve seen. Like, half an hour ago.

I have to say, I’ve always been a huge fan of Polish cinema (at some point a bit obsessed) but this one is beyond my expectations. I fell in love every minute giving into the story and graphics that would, eventually, absorb my pain. Surrender.

Ostatnia Rodzina (The last family) is a first (!!!) feature film directed by a young guy named Jan Matuszynski (b. 1984).

The film is actually based on reality; there was a real Zdzislaw Beksinski and he was a painter and photographer. But we don’t really know this until it’s too late. Until the whole story that was rolling under our eyes through funny yet unexpected events gets to a final point (it’s a 2h film) that

leaves me with no words to continue. Sorry. You’ll just have to see it for yourselves.

Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) 2017 is not surprising at all, not at all. I actually had high expectations and I’m always thrilled for the repertoire of the festival. Every. Single. Year. Without even knowing what it would look like, I have that feeling.

That feeling of living a surreal life through movies.

And on to the next one, so far, Polina (2016), a film that brings me back my all time girl crush, Juliette Binoche. God I love that woman. And I also love the theme of the movie – dance! This time, coming from Bolshoi and travelling all the way to France and Belgium, in search of the perfect way to express one’s body. And what could be more beautiful than watching improv and contemporary dance to ease your pain? If I close my eyes, I can imagine myself doing it.

Inferno (2014), on the other hand, is way closer to the reality of capitalism gone wrong. Both Slovenian director and writer work in theatre and the actors were, as well, theatre actors. What do you do in an impossible situation? How do you surrender, (mr. Eckhart Tolle) ? Awareness, consciousness or unconsciousness, extreme fear, despair, going from extreme suffering to (maybe) some kind of enlightenment? Unfortunately, this one story is everyone’s story. And I think our minds are not that open to accept and surrender to it. There were even people laughing during the movie. What twats! I wanted to say, but then I realised – this is the only way to respond, maybe. Or maybe not.

Well, at least Frantz (2016) was like a breath of fresh air.  Playing with colour and black and white to mark emotions and being in the moment was definitely the part I loved the most. Being grounded, falling in love and failing in love and the plot twist absolutely unbelievable. My intuition failed me this time (and it never does). This time, “it’s not what you think” worked too good.

That being said, I already missed a movie because the previous one was way longer than I expected, but it’s alright. There are 7 days left and a lot to see.