Romanian Survival Book

February 28, 2007

Romania in the global news

Filed under: Uncategorized — darian @ 2:34 am

I’ve just discovered a blog recently cooked by Daniel Jianu in ‘meager attempts to keep myself sane. All the posts reflect the bias as someone who was born in Romania, studied and worked in the US for many years and now is living in Greece’.

It is something I always wanted to do, but never had the patience for. I really think is very useful for keeping an eye on post-recent history. Moreover, very intriguing the whole idea behind it ‘keep myself sane’ by posting news about Romania while living in a different country….that would be something interesting to hear about.

You can find more on:

and just remember to click every now and then on the links listed in the blogroll here, right hand.

PS: Today I had 75 views on this site. Impressive ….just to feel guilty of not posting more often and more consistent, as lately I went a bit too much in personal stuff.

Coming soon…


February 22, 2007


Filed under: Politics,Society/Lifestyle — darian @ 5:01 am

abroad and in the country – superficial notes on the move

I just got back from Berlin couple of days ago; Berlin was very interesting, but is not the subject here, but the Romanians I have met there.

Years ago, when travelling, I have always, with no exception, met unpleasant, sleazy Romanians travelling or living abroad. Now, for the first time for me, I have the chance to bump into the nicest people one could expect. It is always different, always subjective….but I’ve just noticed Crina’s comment on the right hand side of this page here and while I understand and share partly her view, I really felt the need to add this post about things changing …about Romanians abroad, implicitly about me.

Wandering around the European Film Market one day, a German guy working at the German Film section asked me something; when I answered back my Eastern European accent hit in immediately or, better, as Ioana’s put it later, my Romanian strong accentJ. Funny enough, at the information counter of the German documentaries film section in the EFM was a Romanian, a great girl, warm and talkative, who invited me into the small boxing area and offered me whatever she had around, happy to see and speak with a Romanian. Later on, couple of other Talents –as they called us all the time – rounded around and asked me surprised if I already worked there….. While getting to know Ioana, she told me of her encounter with another Romanian girl, a wannabee something, who was extremely arrogant for no good reason… meet plenty of these Romanians everywhere, the pubs and clubs of Bucharest are over crowded with the likes….they didn’t learn that real cool people are just plain cool because they don’t feel the need to show off with anything….while here you cannot breathe of so many insecure egotistical idiots.

Besides Ioana, herself a Talent in the Berlinale a couple of years ago, the group of Romanians in the Berlinale was really cool, all of them, though I only gotten to have a drink and talk with Ana, Adi, Alina and Tudor. For the first time, once again, I really enjoyed spending time with my fellow country people while being abroad. Then, in my last days in Berlin, on 16th I went to Postdamer Plaz to look for tickets of films on 17 and 18, particularly a documentary made by a German guy about an Indian soldier, called ‘The Halfmoon Files’ recommended strongly by M.K., so I was extremely keen to see it but all the tickets were sold out, as the ticket counter guy said to us – me and an English Talent J. When I handed over my badge for screening the tickets, he noticed my name and asked me whether I am Romanian. I said ‘yes’ and then we continued in English for a little while, until he unveiled the fact that he is from a Romanian family from Timisoara and really glad to speak some Romanian and meet one. Absolutely nice and polite and he did help us with a few tips about movies…..and we got to see ‘The Halfmoon Files’. I was happy. It suddenly seemed to me that Romanians have taken the world in a good way. And….that is not all.

After I moved out to a new location in Kreuzberg, in T.’s student house, in an area with many immigrants, riding the U-bahn to Postdamer proved inspiring more than I thought. Besides the many Turkish talking out loud, passing by the Hebbel am Uffer one day when I felt a bit sad, Saturday 17 I think, two Gypsy singers came into the train exactly at Hebbel am Ufer station. They were playing an Austrian waltz and I knew immediately that they are Romanian Gypsies, so I started to talk with them in Romanian. They were well in Germany, having gigs every night in fancy cafes and hotels. I gave them one euro because they changed my mood when I was going down a little. When I got off to the next station one asked me if I am married and I said ‘yes’.

Nonetheless, all these Romanian encounters were warm and welcomed, and I was each time feeling at ease and relaxed; also for the first time in my life I was really looking back to return to Bucharest. Each time I travel it is almost impossible for me to put myself back pack to Romania, but this time I was looking forward to it, for whatever the unknown reason. Maybe because I was sick with flu, so much work to do back in Bucharest and I don’t speak German….whatever. Now being here, I am ready to take off to the next destination. I was sick in bed with fever for two days, I am still not ok, but I turned on the news tonight and I got sicker….the never ending vendetta between the prime-minister and the president is so utterly boring and so Balkanic in its ugly sense. What is more discouraging is that I don’t see a resolution to this; I don’t see a nice smart guy coming along and make this country what is worth. Then I say to myself: I need to get out of here or never watch the news again unless something has changed….recently I truly hate wasting my time, I just feel it running and I do ponder about its better use. Following politics in Romania is no good use of time; in six month time the same on will run again and again, with small variations on the same themes: Tariceanu, Basescu, Elena Udrea, Boc, groups of interests, corruption, justice, Macovei. No consistence behind this circus, Balkanism at its worst (note: and I do not intent do discuss here the discourse of Balkanism and the changes in its perceptions etc., that I leave out for other conversations, whenever the case).

February 5, 2007

Talented Romanians #2

Filed under: Politics,Romanian symbols,Romanian Talent — darian @ 12:46 am

porumboiu2.jpgCorneliu Porumboiu, Romanian Director, Camera d’Or, Cannes 2006, with ‘A fost sau n-a fost?’, a detached look at the Romanian Revolution…

For those who don’t know who Corneliu Porumboiu is I should mention that he is a young talented Romanian filmmaker –director and screenwriter – who won many awards lately, including the prestigious Camera d’Or last year in Cannes with his movie ‘A fost sau n-a fost?’ a comic saga about the Romanian Revolution of 1989. He wrote the script himself and if you understand Romanian you can read it for free on

Porumboiu is now touring the Europe being invited with his film in many countries who are more than interested to show the film in theatres. In France, after the premiere, people were laughing in the theatre, thought the film is not entirely a comedy; the critics are over-excited with this somehow eccentric Romanian director who had a 40 minutes static scene in the film, showing a TV talk –show in a rather theatrical manner considered unusual, if not suicidal, in for a long film. Surely, it proved not suicidal but the right access ramp for Porumboiu’s amazing talent and rise to fame in the crowded film industry. His films, including short movies are witty, deep, mixing irony with melancholy, warm and non-judgemental. He has a detached but not indifferent way at looking at things that matter or interest him and you can feel that through the camera, which imprints his movies with a great deal of authenticity. If you look at his short graduation film ‘Gone with the wine’ (you will be amazed how simple everything seems in this films, only to be taken by surprise in the end by Porumboiu’s unique way of looking into an apparently trivial (for the Romanians way too obvious) subject.

The remarkable success obtained by Romanian filmmakers last year and recently –Radu Jude just won the Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival this January with his short film The Tube with a Hat and multi-awarded already Cristi Puiu won the BBC Best Foreign Language Film Award a few days ago, out beating well-known directors like Haneke or Almodovar– it is noticeably connected with the theme of our recent past and the context of Romania’s European integration, when new opportunities and a certain interest in  this country is awaken.

Beyond that, one can always bet on someone like Corneliu Porumboiu; he is definitely extremely talented and I am sure other good films are yet to come and there is no question that he is going to surprise us again with a brilliant piece of filmmaking.

Meanwhile, you can check out some of his short film on youtube, the invention that made it so easy for us to enjoy good films and music for free. You can go here: for Corneliu Porumboiu’s Gone with the Wine, which I find amazing.




Create a free website or blog at