Casablanca in the 40’s was the city of hope and despair, a meeting place for those seeking adventure, for fugitives and for people who risk its life in this deceitful oasis, hoping that a new life awaits them on American land. This is the fascinating background on which an unperishable love story unfolds its last pages and with it one of the greatest stories of the silver screen.
Due to his double statute of director and film producer, Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) impresses posterity with fierce labour and remarkable talent transposed into over 50 films directed. He was born in London, where he carried out his astonishing cinematographic activity for a long time, and then he developed his directing skills in 1939, in the United States of America. He became accustomed to the field of cinematography when he was part of the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, being in charge of creating subtitles for silent movies. This experience infused various feelings inside of him, which determined him to make a first attempt to produce the film Number thirteen, which he has however never finished.
Thus, The Pleasure Garden (1925) genuinely represents his first film. Subsequently, his style and preferred themes come to life in thrillers such as The Lodger (1926) and Blackmail (1929), works that have a great impact on the audience and on the critics, due to a variety of suspenseful scenes, a feature which undeniably strengthens his reputation.
…unless her name is Holly Golightly. Half a century has passed since this young and cunning New York socialite was brought to life by Audrey Hepburn in the iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), the one that set Hepburn on her 60s Hollywood course. However, it still remains as a strong presence on the scene of romantic masterpieces, inspiring many young producers in their movie-making journey.
It is a cold Thursday evening, embraced by the welcoming warmth of “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre, which seems derived from a painting and placed near the “Stefan cel Mare” (Stephan the Great), a street for pedestrians which is also decorated with lots of little, colorful lights. Such an evening we have spent, along with other people who were holding their breath for one of the great theatre representations of “The Visit”, by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, a Swiss writer who has brought to the fore in his literary work the problematic of justice and endurance.
A merry smile welcomed us at the entrance! It was the bright face of the lady who was in charge with checking our tickets. I was rejoicing over the beauty that slowly surrounded me, taking me away from reality. A few minutes after, we were all sitting impatiently, awaiting the show to begin.
Deeply anchored in history, terrestrial stars shine, lighting the Earth with cultural beauty. Each one of them wears a cape imprinted with stories, caressing both the eye and the soul of the passenger. On Romanian ground lie countless treasures, forming a magical web that unites the country’s territory under the mark of cultural richness. Touched by a legendary destiny, somewhere in the north-east “lives” a pillar of architectural beauty, which was born to die and rise again from its ashes like a Phoenix, returning stronger and everlasting. The “father” of Romanian Theatre has its home in Moldavia’s cultural capital, the city of Iași. “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre of Iasi is the first national theatre that has ever emerged on Romanian ground, remaining one of the most prestigious institutions in the country. Ever since 1956 its value has been emphasised by being named after an important Romanian figure – the renowned playwright and poet, Vasile Alecsandri.
Although Iasi was first touched by this kind of art in 1816, when one of the first theatrical performances in Romanian language was held with the help of Gheorghe Asachi, it is only in 1832 when an actual building was constructed, and the stage was now sheltered by the Théâtre de varieté, especially created for the French Fouraux troupe. This became a national asset 8 years later, when on the 15th of May 1840 the French troupe merged with the Romanian language troupe, being united under the direction of Vasile Alecsandri, Costache Negruzzi and Mihail Kogălniceanu, and managed by Costache Caragiali. On the 22nd of December 1846 the whole activity was moved into a pretentious setting, when a new audience hall was inaugurated in the former mansion of Prince Mihail Sturdza, on the Hill of Copou.
A dark event in history is marked by a devastating fire which destroyed the Theatre from Copou on the night of 17/18 February 1888. What apparently seemed to be a disaster led the way to a fundamental act of culture. The identity of the Romanians was consolidated by an everlasting work of art, which wears the fingerprints of the Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer, who left their signature on important European constructions in Vienne, Prague, Odessa, Zürich, and on other Romanian constructions in Cluj-Napoca,Oradea, Timișoara and Chernivtsi. In 1984 they signed a contract and committed to help build what is nowadays known as the edifice of “Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre of Iasi, which also hosts the Romanian National Opera. This brought along with it the beginning of electrification in the city of Iasi, for a whole power station was built back then by a company from Berlin to supply with electricity the 12 electric-arc lamps lighting the Theatre Square. The work process lasted 2 years, and ever since the 1st of December 1896 everyone can admire one of the most elegant buildings in Romania, which displays a Neoclassic exterior and a richly decorated interior in Rococo and Baroque styles, including precious elements created by praised artists: the curtain painted by the Viennese M. Lenz, presenting allegory of life with its three stages and the allegory of Romanian Unification, the iron curtain were painted by Alexander Goltz, and the ceiling which has as a narrative basis the Archetypal Story shown in paradisiacal allegories, or the 1418 electric lights and the chandelier with 109 Venetian crystal lamps. All these render a unique architectural personality, crowning the work of the Romanian troupe performing nowadays, which is formed of 36 actors, 2 directors, 2 script writer and various collaborators, under the direction of the director Cristian-Valeriu Hadji-Culea.
“Vasile Alecsandri” National Theatre of Iasi remains a bright pearl on the crown of culture, belonging to Romania and to the entire world. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Monuments, being a symbol of art that carries infinite meaning!
Modern times is a comedy film written and directed by Charlie Chaplin in 1936. It is one of the best movies in the history of the American film industry. It is considered to be a silent film in which the Little Tramp character talks for the first and last time, by singing. However, we can hear fragments of speaking here and there through audio devices. It seems that by using this fifty-fifty game, Chaplin has decided to say goodbye to the wonderful world of the silent film. But he did it in a brilliant manner.
In Modern Times Chaplin looks rather doubtfully and distrustfully upon the industrialization and the technological process. So quickly does life develop that it is no longer about machines helping people, but people helping machines. There is the danger of a mass automation that threatens society with having no jobs.
Miss Julie is a drama movie directed by Mike Figgis in 1999, based on the play of the same title – Miss Julie (orig. Fröken Julie) – written in 1888 by August Strindberg, a Swedish poet and playwright.
The action takes place in Sweden, in the 19th century, on the estate of a venerable Count on Midsummer’s Eve. The Count’s daughter – Miss Julie, the valet – Jean and the cook – Kristin are the three main characters around which the action develops. However, the viewers do not get tired with it even for a moment. Both for the remarkable atmosphere of the movie and for the cast, we are gently trapped in this wonderful play.
I have observed that movies which transpose the intensity of emotions, of honest feelings, but which have a simple action, have been isolated to the detriment of those mushy movies which have a rich and spectacular action. A movie I have seen a long time ago has caught my eye, and I really enjoyed watching it again.
If you miss a romantic story with a simple action, but concentrated in a wide range of emotions, Before Sunrise would be an excellent choice. The movie was released in 1995, and it represents the beginning of a trilogy which presents the intensity of some feelings grown from the action of a simple love story.
Andrei Tarkovski (4 April 1932 – 29 December 1986), is part of the area of the most copious directors in the history of film industry due to his innovative creative vision. He was born in Zavraje and his parents were Arseni Aleksandrovici and Maria Ivanovna Vişniakova. Andrei Tarkovski revolutionized the cinematic perspective, introducing a new problem of human existence, namely the relationship between art and divinity. Having been molded in the oppressive background of Soviet Russia and having been marked by several adverse experiences of the destiny when he was a child, Tarkovski translates the pessimistic outlook on life into his films.
Since childhood, his fate bears the imprint of adverse events. So, he comes to know since he was little the misfortune of living without a father who abandoned his family for another woman when Andrei was at the tender age of five. Ivan’s Childhood (1962 – won the Golden Lion Award in Venice) represents exactly the cumulation of painful memories and the sadness of a deprived childhood.
Andrei Tarkovski is one of the most outstanding directors of the Soviet period. Born on 4 April 1932, he has to face a difficult path with unpleasant events during times of hostility for society. At a rather young age he witnesses the divorce of his parents, a fact that would cause considerable changes in his life, having to live with the maternal grandparents. When he is less than 12 years old, he has his leg amputated after a serious accident. However, this personal tragedy will not influence his success in life. He attends classes at the Institute of Fine Arts, but he quits because he catches tuberculosis. After many attempts and surrenders during his career, he comes to study at the State Institute of Cinematography, where he writes and directs a part of the movie The Killers. This is the beginning of his career as a director. Even though his work is reflected in 7 films and short films, the quality of these achievements would place him in a positive light, both nationally and internationally. Continue reading “Andrei Tarkovski – I want to preserve the level of quality”