Friday, February 29, 2008

Eugène Ionesco

Eugène Ionesco, born Eugen Ionescu (1909-1994), was one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict in a tangible way the solitude and insignificance of human existence. Ionesco was born in Slatina, Olt county, Romania, to a Romanian father and a mother of French and Greek-Romanian heritage. He spent most of his childhood in France. He returned to Romania with his father in 1925 after his parents divorced. There he studied French Literature at the University of Bucharest from 1928 to 1933, where he met Emil Cioran and Mircea Eliade - the three having become lifelong friends. In 1936 Ionesco married Rodica Burileanu. Together they had one daughter for whom he wrote a number of unconventional children's stories. He and his family returned to France in 1938 for him to complete his doctoral thesis. Caught by the outbreak of war, he remained there, living in Marseille before moving to Paris after its liberation in 1944. Ionesco was made a member of the Académie française in 1970. Although he wrote almost entirely in French, Ionesco is one of Romania's most honored artists.

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days

The setting for this grippingly horrible movie is Romania, in 1987: that is, two years before Nicolae Ceausescu was executed, but nine years after he was awarded an honorary knighthood by the Labour government of James Callaghan - and 20 years after he had outlawed abortion in Romania to increase the birth rate. It all seems at once a very distant and very recent era, and I can't think of a film that has shown life in the eastern bloc more fiercely than this; without ever being overtly political, it makes you feel humanity itself being coarsened and degraded by the state. In recent memory, we've seen The Lives of Others and Good Bye Lenin!, which affected to be about the last days of European communism, and they have been very effective in their own differing ways, but outclassed and made to look lenient and inauthentic by this brutal masterwork.

Read here the continuation of this article, signed by Peter Bradshaw and published on January 11, 2008 by The Guardian.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Clara Haskil

Clara Haskil (1895-1960) was one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century. Renowned as an interpreter of the classical and early romantic repertoire, Haskil was particularly noted for her performances and recordings of Mozart. Many considered her the foremost interpreter of Mozart in her time. Haskil was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Bucharest, Romania, and studied in Vienna under Richard Robert and Ferruccio Busoni. She moved to Paris at the age of 10, where she started studying with Joseph Morpain, who she always credited as one of her biggest influences.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tarzan was born in Romania

Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) was an American swimmer and actor who was one of the world's best swimmers in the 1920s. He set 67 world records. After his swimming career, he became the 6th actor to portray Tarzan in films, a role he played in 12 motion pictures. Dozens of other actors also played Tarzan, but Weissmuller was by far the best known. His character's distinctive, ululating Tarzan yell is still often used in films. He was registered as Peter John Weissmüller, baptized as János Weißmüller. Some sources cite his birthplace as Freidorf, now a district of Timisoara, Romania, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the son of German-speaking parents of Roman Catholic and Jewish background. He was actually named Peter by his parents, but when he arrived in the US he used his brother's name, Johnny, because it was more American. When Johnny was 7 months old, the family emigrated to the United States.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sephardim of Romania

Read this interesting article on the Sephardic Jewish Community of Romania, published by the Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture. According to it, documents demonstrate the presence of Spanish Jews in Wallachia as early as 1496; besides, most of the original Jewish population of Romania arrived from Turkey and the Balkans and was made up of Sephardim. However, by the 19th century, the majority of the Jewish population of Romania was made up of Ashkenazim, the result of waves of Yiddish speaking immigrants from Galicia and Russia.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Peindre, c'est la vie, la vraie vie, ma vie"

Victor Brauner (1903-1966) was a Romanian Jewish painter. He was born in Piatra Neamt, Romania, the son of a timber manufacturer who subsequently settled in Vienna with his family for a few years. It is there that young Victor attended elementary school. When his family returned to the country in 1914, he continued his studies at the Evangelical school in Braila; he began to be interested in zoology in that period. He then attended the Art School in Bucharest (1919-1921). He started painting landscapes in the manner of Paul Cézanne . Then, as he testified himself, he went through all the stages: "Dadaist, Abstractionist, Expressionist". In 1930 he settled in Paris. In 1935 Brauner returned to Bucharest. He joined the ranks of the Romanian Communist Party for a short while, without a very firm conviction. In 1938 he returned definitely to France.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Nikolaus Lenau

Nikolaus Lenau was the "nom de plume" of the poet Nikolaus Franz Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau (1802-1850). He was born at Schadat (Csatád in Hungarian) near Timisoara in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Lenauheim in Timis county, Romania. He is considered the greatest modern lyric poet of Austria, and the typical representative in German literature of the pessimistic "Weltschmerz". Visit the Lenauheim website (in German).

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jacob Levy Moreno

Dr. Jacob Levy Moreno (1889-1974) was born in Bucharest, Romania. He was the founder of psychodrama, sociometry and the foremost pioneer of group psychotherapy. He was also a leading psychiatrist, theorist and educator. During his lifetime, he was recognized as one of the leading social scientists.

Source: Wikipedia

Monday, February 18, 2008

National Geographic Traveler 'Romania'

On February 14, 2008 it was launched in London the National Geographic Traveler ‘Romania, written by Caroline Juler.

Starting with a detailed introduction to the country’s history, food, land, and culture, the book explores in-depth each of the sections of the country, including Maramures in the north, Moldavia in the east, Wallachia in the south, and Crisana and Banat on the country’s western flank.

Special detailed features give comprehensive information on many diverse topics such as Romanian folk music, the bears and wolves that still prowl the hinterlands, the excellent Romanian wineries, the ethnic minority officially known as the Roma but to this day referred to as Gypsies, and the many myths that immediately come to mind whenever you mention the country’s Transylvania region.

Source: Romanian Cultural Centre London

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Golden Bear to Romanian short film

During the 58th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - February 7-17, 2008 - the members of the international short film jury Marc Barbé, Ada Solomon and Laura Tonke awarded The Golden Bear for Best Short Film to O zi buna de plaja by the Romanian director Bogdan Mustata.

Saul Steinberg

Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) was a famous American cartoonist and illustrator, born in Râmnicu Sarat, Romania. He studied philosophy for a year at the University of Bucharest, then later enrolled at the Politecnico di Milano, studying architecture and graduating in 1940. Steinberg left Italy after the introduction of anti-Semitic laws in Italy. In 1942, The New Yorker magazine sponsored his entry into the United States. During World War II, he worked for military intelligence, stationed in China, North Africa, and Italy. After the war's end, he returned to work for American publications, merging an encyclopedic knowledge of European art with the popular American art form of the cartoon, to pioneer a uniquely urbane style of illustration. Visit The Saul Steinberg Foundation website.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Edward G. Robinson

Edward Goldenberg Robinson, Sr. (born Emanuel Goldenberg, 1893-1973) was an American stage and film actor born to a Yiddish-speaking Jewish family in Bucharest, Romania. He emigrated with his family to New York City in 1903. He attended Townsend Harris High School and then City College of New York, but an interest in acting led to him winning an American Academy of Dramatic Arts scholarship, after which he changed his name to Edward G. Robinson (the G. signifying his original last name). The American Film Institute considers him one of the best actors of the 20th century.

Source: Wikipedia

Friday, February 15, 2008

Béla Bartók

The Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881-1945) is considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century and was also one of the founders of the field of ethnomusicology, through his analytical study and ethnography of folk music. Béla Bartók was born in the small Banatian town of Nagyszentmiklós in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today Sânnicolau Mare, Timis county, Romania. You can listen to his Romanian Folk Dances.

Source: Wikipedia
Visit the Bartók Virtual Exhibition

Saturday, February 2, 2008

TouristClick listing

Our blog has just been listed on the worldwide travel web directory TouristClick, a comprehensive online travel destination guide and travel directory, where you can find information from local people, cheap airline tickets, booking hotels online, cars hire cheap from local services, cruises and vacation packages, all in one place, including user and expert advice from travel forums, local weather, currency information and much more.