Dok pišem, visoko civilizovani ljudi lete nebom iznad mene sa namerom da me ubiju. Nemaju oni ništa protiv mene kao pojedinca, ne osećaju nikakvo neprijateljstvo, a ni ja protiv njih. Oni samo obavljaju svoju dužnost, kako se to lepo kaže. Većinom su to, zasigurno, miroljubivi ljudi dobra srca kojima nikad u njihovom privatnom životu ne bi palo napamet da nekog ubiju. S druge pak strane, ako nekom od njih uspe da me raznese bombom u komadiće on zbog toga neće izgubiti miran san. U službi domovini svi su gresi oprošteni.

Džordž Orvel, Lav i jednorog

Moj sin nije upisao fakultet i sada će da postane radnik. Ništa ne pada sa neba, nadam se da će on postati radnik i da će moći sve sam sebi da obezbedi. Ponosan sam na to što će biti radnik, jer u tome nema sramote.

Aleksandar Vučić

Moj sin Marko sve što je uradio u životu uradio je sopstvenim rukama. Od 16 godina se zaposlio u Požarevcu jer nije mogao da izdrži da bude ovde sin predsednika Republike i medijske pritiske. Otišao je tamo u naš rodni grad, zaposlio se, znate šta da radi, da nosi gajbe s praznim i punim flašama za jednu kafanu za 5000 dinara mesečno, jer je takav čovek, jer je želeo uvek da bude samostalan.

Slobodan Milošević

”Hladno, ali standard”, bio je još jednom naslov u srpskim novinama, ovaj put uz vest da je Švedska zauzela prvo mesto među 162 zemlje rangirane na osnovu Good Country Indexa, kojim se na osnovu 35 indikatora (uglavnom raznih agencija Ujedinjenih nacija) meri pozitivan doprinos države načinu života, prosperitetu, jednakosti, zdravlju, blagostanju, kao i pozitivan odnos prema drugim državama, planeti itd. Mada je duhovita opaska iz filma ”Lepa sela, lepo gore ušla” ušla u široku upotrebu da se, eto, citira i u medijima, ni ovaj put se nije otišlo korak dalje u objašnjenju – šta je stvarno ”švedski standard”? Kad se potegne o tome, obično se završi i bez pravog započinjanja: To može tamo, ne može ovde; mi smo ovakvi, oni su onakvi… A baš ta priča je interesantna, jer niti je ”švedski standard” pao s neba, niti se toliko ogleda u veličini plate i besnim kolima; mnogo više je tu reč o temeljnoj postavci opšteg dobra i kvaliteta života.
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I u ovoj najnovijoj rang-listi, Švedska se najbolje kotira u četiri kategorije – jednakost, blagostanje, zdravlje, prosperitet – što su manje-više sve tekovine socijalne države ili države blagostanja. Globalna bujica neoliberalizma i ovde je štošta srušila, ali socijalna država nije razvaljena u paramparčad kao u zemljama bivše Jugoslavije. Tekovina socijalne države u Švedskoj je, i posle svega, više nego bilo gde drugde i to se, gle čuda, u ovim i sličnim rangiranjima ispostavlja kao kvalitet.
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Zato švedski standard pre svega ostalog znači – postojanje i poštovanje opšteg dobra i elementarne društvene solidarnosti. To je kohezivno tkivo društva. U švedskoj filozofiji politike i društva, poštovanje opšteg dobra i elementarne društvene solidarnosti granica je između preddruštvenog i društvenog stanja. Pre dogovora između rada i kapitala, odnosno sindikata i industrijalaca (kapitalista), i Švedska je bila siromašna, podeljena dubokim unutrašnjim konfliktima, a iseljavanje u svet masovno.
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Suština tako definisanog švedskog standarda jeste u stalnom traženju i pronaleženju balansa koji, s jedne strane, svakom pojedincu omogućava pristojan i dostajanstven život, a, s druge strane, ne sputava preduzeća i kompanije koji teže rastu. Drugim rečima, Švedska je kapitalistička zemlja, ali švedski kapitalizam podrazumeva zadovoljavanje (bar) minimalnog interesa svih; ne zasniva se na beskrupuloznom izrabljivanju radnika dok ovaj ne pukne, nego taj radnik ima svoja zagarantovana prava, kao i mogućnost da živi pristojno, a i da poživi. Zadovoljavajuće rešenje te jednačine kao rezultat daje lojalnost prema državi.
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Sledstveno tome, švedski standard su i emancipovani radnici, verovatno najemancipovaniji na svetu. Premijer Stefan Luven je zavarivač, ali je doktor nauka za 99% svojih kolega po svetu; sa srpskim kolegama i doktorantima da ga ne poredim. Moj stokholmski drugar Ilhan taj segment fenomena opisuje na svoj način: ”Električari, vodoinstalateri, građevinci, stolari, smetljari…svi istetovirani, u radnim odelima, jedu suši sa štapićima…” Na dobijene komentare, odgovara malo širom elaboracijom: ”Penziono, zdravstveno, godišnji odmor – sve plaćeno. Svaki minut ekstra – duplo plaćen. Nema nikog iznad da se nad njima iživljava. Svaka letva i šaraf na mjestu, samo se po šemi radi i niko se nikom u posao ne miješa, pa nema ni stresa…dva sušija i oni su ko bomba. A tek ova gospoda – kad hoda zemlju ne dodiruje…” Može to da se definiše i na druge načine, ali Ilhan sažima suštinu.
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Švedski standard su i jednostavnost, nerazmetljivost, skromnost. Stambene zgrade i stanovi u kojima živi većina ljudi veoma su jednostavni. Mnogi podsećaju na novobeogradske blokove, Konjarnik ili Karaburmu, s tom razlikom da se zgrade i zelene površine oko njih održavaju i da se o njima vodi računa, tako da i posle više decenija izgledaju novo, očuvano i čisto. U stanovima, čak i kod onih koji su zaista imućni, nema napucanosti. Funkcionalni minimalizam je opšte mesto. Mnogi uopšte nemaju automobile, već na posao idu biciklima. Nemati auto je i statusni simbol, a i izraz političkog stava. Na sličan način kao što stanari zgrade ”dele” veš-mašine u zajedničkoj prostoriji za pranje veša (zakazuje se unapred i u principu nema problema), tako može da se deli i auto, kome je i kad auto potreban.
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Švedski standard su aktivni i angažovani građani. Da bi opstali u retko naseljenim oblastima sa nezgodnom klimom, pojedinci su od pamtiveka morali da se udružuju i organizuju. I ovde postoji ono šala-pitanje ”Šta prvo uradi troje Šveđana kad se zadese na pustom ostrvu? Odgovor je: ”Osnuju udruženje.” Troje ljudi je dovoljno. Švedska je kapilarno premrežena udruženjima. U zemlji od devet i po miliona stanovnika ima oko 200 hiljada udruženja. Ona su osnova i demokratije, ali i države, pošto je država nastala ”odozdo”, kao ugovorna tvorevina čija je svrha da bude u službi pojedinca.
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Švedski standard je država kao servis pojedinca; država koja nije balast, neprijatelj, derikoža, parazit, trut, nego ”subjekat” koji se trudi da stvori i održi ekvilibrijum unutar zajednice i teritorije kojom upravlja i da svima podjednako omogući ujednačen razvoj. Nije nametnuta spolja, nekom stranom intervencijom i okupacijom, niti je uzurpacijom iznutra postala plen pljačkaške i korumpirane političke klike otuđene od građana.
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Švedski standard je i švedska statistika. Šveđani su na nju jako ponosni, slično kao i na svoj minimalistički dizajn. Statistika im nije dika u smislu da slika što neko poželi; ona je funkcionalni skener. Na osnovu neulepšanih rezultata skeniranja kreira se politika. Suština švedske politike ista je kao i na drugim mestima – šta i kako se oporezuje i kako se ta sredstva dalje raspodeljuju i za šta se koriste. Jedina razlika je u tome što je to ovde jasno i transparentno, nema zamagljivanja. Svake jeseni, kad počne parlamentarna rasprava o godišnjem budžetu, u njoj učestvuju bukvalno svi. Svako ko se bavi kućnim budžetom i svakodnevnom matematikom života u ”domaćinstvu” smatra se pozvanim i kompetentnim da u toj raspravi učestvuje. Jer, budžet države koja je servis građana, tiče se svakog građanina i o njemu ne odlučuju samo ”eksperti”, makar to bili i lumeni kalibra Dinkića, Đelića ili Jorgovanke Tabaković.
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Švedski standard je i permanentno obrazovanje i usavršavanje. Ne samo da zemlja ima najveći procenat ljudi u sistemu obrazovanja u uzrastu do 25 ili 30 godina, nego i u onom od 30 do 99 godina. Poredak se temelji na obaveštenom i obrazovanom građaninu, svesnom svojih prava i odlučnom da svoja prava koristi, ali i brani, ako je i kad je potrebno.
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Švedski standard su, na kraju i na početku svega, prilično zdravi i pravi građani. Ljudi dosta hodaju, voze bicikle, bave se sportom; količina stresa koja se svakodnevno upija znatno je manja, a prosečna dužina godišnjeg odmora ili roditeljskog odsustva znatno veća nego u drugim sredinama. Rezultat svega toga je duži rok trajanja pojedinaca i pojedinki. Ilhan zato upozorava: ”Drugari, ako nekada dođete u Stokholm i napalite se na dame gledajući ih s leđa, provjerite dobro, može da bude bakica od 70, 80 godina…”
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Predrag Dragosavac

Glavni izdavač Crnjanskoga u svetu bio je Vladimir Dimitrijević, osnivač i vlasnik švajcarsko-francuske izdavačke kuće Doba čoveka (L’age d’homme), koji je 1970. godine objavio na francuskom Dnevnik o Čarnojeviću, nakon čega se ovaj roman ubrzo pojavio i na poljskom, mađarskom, češkom, bugarskom i slovačkom. Najveća želja ovog izdavaća bila je da objavi na francuskom Seobe i drugu knjigu Seoba, vrhunska dela ne samo u opusu Crnjanskog već čitave naše književnosti. Ali… prvi pokušaj prevođenja, iako je angažovan vrhunski prevodilac, nije bio ni senka od Seoba. Drugi i treći pokušaj, takođe vrhunskih prevodilaca, isto tako. Kao da je tekst Crnjanskog bio uklet, imao je vrhunsku vrednost samo na srpskom!

Izdavač je bio digao ruke od Seoba, uprkos svojoj jarkoj želji da ih predoči svetu. Jednog dana, niz godina kasnije, uđe iznenada jedan gospodin kod pomenutog izdavača i gotovo s vrata mu preloži, prekorno što to već nije učinio, da hitno objavi Seobe – na letovanju u Jugoslaviji ih je slučajno pročitao i oduševio se. Znam koliko to vredi – odgovorio je izdavač – ali šta vredi kad ne može da se prevede, pokušao sam više puta. – Može, mora da može – uzvratio je posetilac, dodavši pri tom – Ako ne mogu drugi, ja ću da prevedem. – A šta ste dosad preveli? – upitao je izdavač. – Ništa književno, ja sam sudski tumač. Da ne bi uvredio dobronamernog ali po svemu sudeći naivnog gosta, izdavač mu je preložio da prevede jedno poglavlje i donese na uvid. A kad je potom video prevod tog poglavlja, nije mogao da veruje! To je bio Crnjanski u svoj raskoši svoga stila.

Seobe su tako sjajno prevedene dobile nagradu kritike i izdavača kao najbolja strana knjiga objavljena 1986. godine u Fransuckoj. Sudski tumač je postao prevodilački mag – nakon Seoba, na francuski je preveo i Roman o Londonu, Ljubav u Toskani, Kod Hiperborejaca… prešavši potom i na prevođenje Isidore Sekulić i drugih naših pisaca.

Vitomir Teofilović, Politika, 4. jun

○ Jedan od uticajnih tviteraša je i Nebojša Krstić, koji je često bio gost u vašoj emisiji. Kako komentarišete njegovu iznenadnu podršku Aleksandru Vučiću?

– Nebojšu Krstića poznajem, odnosno poznavala sam ga više od 30 godina. Apsolutno ne razumem šta on to radi i zašto. Upravo zbog tih 30 godina ne želim da ga komentarišem. A mislim da bi bilo lepo da se i on seti tih godina pa da u tim tvitovima poštedi mene i moju porodicu. A i ne mora.

○ I Aleksandra Vučića poznajete dugo, od njegove 19. godine?
– Da se razumemo, to se ne može porediti sa Krstićem. Njega sam sretala u televizijskom studiju, što ne znači da sam ga poznavala.

○ Koliko se promenio za sve ove godine?
– Uopšte se nije promenio. To je isti dečko. Misli isto, samo govori drugačije. To što više javno ne citira Šešelja nego „velikog Ogilvija”, što bi se reklo, mene mnogo ne fascinira. Verujem da ste primetili da on nas grdi u gotovo svakom svom nastupu. Retko propusti da kaže koliko je nezadovoljan narodom i odurnim srpskim mentalitetom koji ne ceni najmarljivije, najčestitije, najvrednije.

○ Kako je onda moguće da ima podršku gotovo polovine biračkog tela?
– Ako je istina da ima toliku podršku, nije mi jasno zašto je stalno ljut? On najbolje zna istinu o sebi i o istinitosti svojih rezultata. Mi ne znamo stepen zastrašivanja, stepen podmićivanja i falsifikovanja biračkih spiskova.

○ I ako zanemarimo procente, da li je SNS pobednik ili gubitnik izbora?
– Nikada nisam videla da je Novak Đoković, kada pobedi, ljut. Niti da protivnike naziva idiotima i „stručnjacima”. Prema tome, meni ponašanje Aleksandra Vučića ne izgleda kao ponašanje pobednika.

Olja Bećković, razgovor za Danas

neil

Neil Young Onstage: ‘FUCK YOU, Donald Trump’!

“I still support the issue focused, straight shooter Bernie Sanders, in my opinion, the best person for the job, hands down,” Young wrote. “The process is not over until its over.”

June 11th

Na Kaleniću bih da od pripadnice manjine kupim jagode za moje goste, strance, pola kile, to dođe trista dinara (lani): “Nadam se da su lepe”, kažem, “mi predstavljamo Srbiju”, prodavačica je na kantar stavila više od pola kile: “Da je predstavimo za četirsto dinara ili da odvađujem?”

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U predstavljaštvo, koje lične interese prikazuje kao žrtvovanje za dobrobit ili reklamu naciona, veruju ne samo političari, i ne samo elita, koja na toj mistifikaciji i opstaje, nego u to veruju i lishnye liudi: ushićeni su kad ih neko veličanstveno predstavi, svetsko se stanovništvo deli na predstavljače i predstavljene, ceo svet se stalno predstavlja, mahom lažno, tamo gde ne može da laže, država, svaka, troši novac da stvori pojedince, reprezentacije i izuzetnike kadre da pobede na zvaničnim takmičenjima, tako i mi, osvojiš medalju u plivanju, evo ti stan i penzija, predstavio si nas kao brzoplivajuću naciju. Svaki drugi dan čujem kako je taj i taj učinio za ugled Srbije više nego MIP i Ministarstvo za dijasporu, pa zar ti nije dodijalo da stalno ti budeš taj koga svuda neko predstavlja, a ti mu za to predstavljanje iz svog siromaškog džepa plaćaš li plaćaš!

Ljuba Živkov

Kad bih svoj život mogao ponovo da proživim
pokušao bih u sledećem da napravim više grešaka,
ne bih se trudio da budem tako savršen,
opustio bih se više.
Bio bih gluplji nego što bejah,
zaista, vrlo malo stvari bih ozbiljno shvatao.
Bio bih manji čistunac.
Više bih se izlagao opasnostima,
više putovao,
više sutona posmatrao,
na više planina se popeo
više reka preplivao.
Išao bih na još više mesta
na koja nikada nisam otišao,
jeo manje boba, a više sladoleda,
imao više stvarnih, a manje izmišljenih problema.
Ja sam bio jedan od onih
što je razumno i plodno proživeo
svaki minut svog života:
imao sam, jasno, i časaka radosti.

Ali kad bih mogao nazad da se vratim
težio bih samo dobrim trenucima.
Jer, ako ne znate, život je od toga sačinjen,
od trenova samo; nemoj propuštati sada.
Ja sam bio od onih što nikada nikuda nisu išli
bez toplomera, termofora, kišobrana i padobrana.
Kad bih opet mogao da živim
lakše bih putovao.
Kada bih ponovo mogao da živim
s proleća bih počeo bosonog da hodam
i tako išao do kraja jeseni.
Više bih se na vrtešci okretao,
više sutona posmatrao, sa više se dece igrao,
kada bih život ponovo pred sobom imao.
Ali, vidite,
imam 85 godina,
i znam
da umirem

john-cassavetes-gena-rowlands-001-sofa-rest

John + Gena: dynamite on screen and off by Matthew Thrift

Fiery and tempestuous, but devoted to their filmmaking, director John Cassavetes and actor Gena Rowlands are one of cinema’s great husband-wife partnerships, producing a string of collaborations of startling psychological intensity.

Before I met Gena, I was a bachelor going out and torturing people. I think that’s good for young people. When I saw her, that was it! The first time I saw her, I was with an actor, John Ericson, and I said, ‘That’s the girl I’m going to marry!’

Both attendees of the American Academy of Dramatic Art, but separated by a year in age, it wouldn’t be until they were a couple of years out of school that John Cassavetes began his ruthless pursuit of Gena Rowlands. The couple were like chalk and cheese; he a jealous romantic, she ferociously protective of her independence. The arguments were ground-shaking from the get-go, and would only escalate from there.

But theirs was a personal and professional relationship which lasted until Cassavetes’ death in 1989. As both their careers began to develop (hers as an actress, his as both an actor and, starting with his directorial debut Shadows (1959), as the founding father of American independent cinema), Gena became as much Cassavetes’ muse as she did his wife, each of them doing their best work when in each other’s tempestuous company.

I don’t think you can do serious work in television… I wanted to do other things, and there was a certain amount of opposition to this. It came down to the fact that they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them well enough.

After a series of re-shoots for Shadows left him $30,000 in debt, Cassavetes was in desperate need of some income if he was ever going to fund the film’s editing and 35mm blow-up costs. With Rowlands having extracted herself from a relatively lucrative contract with MGM on discovering she was pregnant with the couple’s first child, and Cassavetes having had few acting opportunities during the protracted production period of his first feature, the couple were in dire financial straits.

When the offer from a Universal executive came in to play Johnny Staccato, ‘television’s jazz detective’, the brunt of Cassavetes’ ego’s song-and-dance routine was saved for Gena: “Can you imagine that son of a bitch wants me to do a television series? What the hell do you think I’ve been working for? I’m an artist! I don’t do television series! What kind of crap is that? Go out and do something for the sponsor of deodorants? Am I insane?”

Of course, he had little choice but to accept. Despite directing five of the more interesting episodes in the widely syndicated series (and getting to work with Rowlands on one, the unremarkable ‘Fly Baby Fly’), Cassavetes quickly tired of the artistic constraints imposed by network television, publicly denigrating the show and attacking the sponsors in the hope of being fired. Or as he himself put it, “I went to New York and took pictures with child molesters then called their agent”.

Making A Child Is Waiting was like drowning painlessly. It was a slow death. Shadows kept haunting me all the time I was trying to make like this big Hollywood director… I’ve since learned I’m just not temperamentally suited to that kind of ball game… It’s hard to be on the outside, and yet that’s really where you want to be.

Cassavetes’ first opportunity to direct his wife on screen came with a project inherited from director-producer Stanley Kramer. It would be his first real stab at making a studio picture as director-for-hire, having dipped his toe the previous year with the more personally resonant (but likewise inherited) feature, Too Late Blues (1961).

His experience on A Child Is Waiting was an unmitigated disaster from day one. Cassavetes clashed with just about everyone involved, taking pleasure in winding up screenwriter Abby Mann (who hung around the set to ensure the director didn’t change a word of his dialogue) and provoking his anxious and volatile star, Judy Garland. When both Cassavetes and Garland had to be physically restrained during a particularly frenzied bout of disagreement, Burt Lancaster stepped in to take his co-star’s side against the filmmaker.

With Rowlands in only a minor role, he had no real allies left, the last straw coming during post-production. For him, the primary focus of the picture had always been the children at the heart of the story, not the adult leads. Stanley Kramer saw things differently. When Cassavetes attended the first screening of the film for the executives at MGM, he discovered that Kramer had completely re-edited it behind his back to amplify the sentimentality. “Take my name off the picture”, said Cassavetes as he stormed out of the screening room. Then he smacked Kramer in the mouth for good measure. For the time being, the director’s Hollywood career was over.

When I decided to write and shoot it, I came home and said to Gena, ‘Are you willing to go without all the luxuries for the next couple of years so we can put everything we’ve got into the picture?’ She said, ‘Yes – except for getting my hair done. I insist on that!’

With his bridges burned at the major studios, there was no way that Cassavetes was going to find traditional funding for what would become Faces. If Shadows was a rough-and-ready exercise in filmmaking on the run, a young filmmaker’s film about youth itself, then Faces would be the first to define Cassavetes’ mature style, an examination of love, middle age and the politics of male-female communication that would extend into his next feature, Husbands (1970) and beyond.

Using his salary from a short-lived day job at Screen Gems (coming up with ideas for new TV shows that were never commissioned) and the fee from an unproduced script he wrote for Don Siegel, Cassavetes moved ahead with the unheard-of-at-the-time idea of an entirely self-financed production. Favours were called in at every opportunity, from the use of friends’ and family’s homes for locations to the use of Haskell Wexler’s camera. A young Steven Spielberg worked as an unpaid runner, while the milkman was given a promise of the share in any profits when Cassavetes couldn’t afford to pay his bill.

Refusing to work to any form of schedule or budget, Cassavetes let the production evolve organically, giving his company of actors whatever time they needed to find their way into character, shutting production down whenever rewrites or extra rehearsals were required. Rowlands would give the first of six extraordinary performances in her husband’s work, despite later describing the shoot as the most difficult she’d ever undertaken. With Rowlands pregnant at the time with daughter Xan, Cassavetes’ insistence on goading her through multiple takes took its toll and tensions between the two ran high.

Finally printing over 115 hours of 16mm stock (paid for through several remortgages of his and Rowlands’ home), Cassavetes would spend 30 months in post-production, shaping the film into what would ultimately become the director’s first masterpiece.

Directing is really a full-time hobby with me. I consider myself an amateur filmmaker and a professional actor. I’m a professional actor out of defence. I’d prefer to be an amateur actor. But I’ve got to have money to make films. Unfortunately, it’s an extremely expensive hobby.
Despite his protestations of professionalism as an actor, Cassavetes could prove as tricky a customer for those directing him as he could for those he directed in his own projects. More often than not, disagreements were borne out of the actor’s strong-mindedness rather than outright contempt (although Roman Polanski, who directed him in Rosemary’s Baby, may beg to differ), but one need only watch a few of his actor-for-hire roles to witness varying levels of engagement.

One thing on which Cassavetes could always be relied however, was convincing producers to hire his actor pals alongside him. Offering an atypical role for Peter Falk and a film-stealing one for Rowlands (as well as minor parts for Faces’ Val Avery and Jack Ackerman), Machine Gun McCain proves a lean, energetic slice of genre filmmaking from Italian director Giuliano Montaldo. Never one to miss an opportunity, Cassavetes’ greatest coup surfaced over dinner one night with the film’s producer, an Italian millionaire by the name of Count Ascanio Bino Cicogna. His fee for those weeks on Machine Gun McCain may have helped him finish editing Faces, but with wine and charm in plentiful supply that night, it was that dinner which got him his funding for Husbands.

To understand the story of Minnie and Moskowitz and the relationship of the title characters through their fights, arguments, pounding on doors, the torture, the pain, the screaming and the eventual marriage, it is essential for the audience to take itself back to when it cared. The romance takes place in a time before intellect.

An oft-overlooked gem in his filmography, Cassavetes took a cautious step back into studio filmmaking with Minnie and Moskowitz, taking advantage of Universal’s commitment to fund a series of low-budget features in the wake of the success of the likes of Easy Rider (1969). Racing through pre-production, he took a similar approach here as he did on Faces, filling the cast with friends and family members and taking over their homes to fulfil his location requirements.

With many aspects of the relationship between the protagonists mirroring his own with Rowlands, Cassavetes filled the screenplay with autobiographical references, and in casting his friend Seymour Cassel opposite his wife, ensured that the off-screen frictions that existed between the pair would colour their onscreen dynamics. He did everything he could to keep tensions high, sometimes marching a terrified Cassel into Rowlands’ bedroom when she was sound asleep to insist on an immediate rehearsal that he pretended Cassel was demanding. If this wasn’t enough to rile her up, he’d begin laying into her performance to create an exasperated energy she could carry with her into the scene. Always prepared to coax, trick and tease emotion out of his cast, the final interpretations always rested with the actors themselves, with the multiple takes upon which he insisted allowing him to shape the material to his liking at a later date.

If his tentative return to the studio fold with Minnie and Moskowitz led to a much less protracted pre-production process than usual, it wasn’t to last. Unhappy with the way the film was eventually marketed, Cassavetes gave a disastrous interview to Playboy magazine accusing the Universal executives of incompetence. Plans for a low budget, multi-picture deal that had been mooted until then instantly went up in smoke.

[Gena and I] were talking about how difficult love was and tough it could be to make a love story about two people who were completely different culturally, coming from two different family groups that were diametrically opposed and yet still regarded each other very highly… Gena and I are absolutely dissimilar in everything we think, do and feel. Beyond that, men and women are totally different. When I started writing the script, I kept these things in mind and didn’t want the love story easy. I made a lot of discoveries about my own life.

Considered by many to be his crowning achievement, Cassavetes conceived A Woman under the Influence as a gift for Gena. Unable to find funding for its initial life as a stage play, the start-up money was split with Peter Falk, who was insistent on playing the male lead. But it still wasn’t enough to move forward. Hoodwinking the American Film Institute into hiring him as a filmmaker-in-residence, Cassavetes gained access to all their equipment in return for leading some classes in filmmaking. What this effectively meant in practice was that Cassavetes now had a crew for the feature, made up of eager students (including cinematographer Caleb Deschanel), none of whom he’d need to pay.

Financial difficulties on the film were legion, but once again he refused to be dictated by anything resembling a schedule. If a scene took a week to shoot, so be it. Many cast members spoke of a familial atmosphere on the set during production, but more so than ever Cassavetes refused to make things easy for Gena. Rowlands gives one of the greatest screen performances in cinema (although she lost out on the Oscar to Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore), but Cassavetes’ direction (or often lack thereof) could be brutal. Knowing exactly how to push her buttons, his tactics could be seen as tantamount to psychological abuse; mocking, taunting and wearing her down to elicit reactions that could work for the character.

Casting her real-life mother to play that of her character’s proved another unbalancing device, an off-screen relationship Cassavetes wasn’t shy in attempting to manipulate for the needs of the film. Gena knew what he was doing, but it was only in retrospect that she was able to look back on the situation with any real sense of perspective: “John encouraged you to the point that you pushed yourself into areas you feared with other directors”. While Cassavetes would take greater stylistic leaps with Opening Night and Love Streams (1984), in many respects A Woman under the Influence remains his quintessential work, the apotheosis of his working relationship with his wife and muse.

The actor can’t deliver in this situation. Hollywood directors create this situation. They make it possible for the actor to give nothing.

A quickie acting gig for the couple which (financial benefits aside) offered thankless roles for both, Two-minute Warning was shot during the latter post-production stages of Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Helmed by veteran TV director Larry Peerce, it’s a ploddingly orchestrated affair that adheres to the then-popular disaster movie template, introducing a slew of one-dimensional characters only to have them picked off one by one by a motivationally-confused sniper at a football game.

Perhaps most surprising was Cassavetes’ willingness to share the screen with an awkwardly bewigged Charlton Heston, given the pair’s fractious history. Back when the Academy Award nominations were announced in 1969, Faces picked up three. Cassavetes received a call from Screen Actors’ Guild president Heston, threatening the director with expulsion from the Guild and a hefty lawsuit for not abiding by its salary or contract regulations during production. He’d contacted the filmmaker earlier to initially press the issue, insisting dues be paid from any eventual profits the film made. The furious Cassavetes’ response was typical. “Sue me” he said, refusing to attend the ceremony at which Faces went home empty-handed.

When I am the director and Gena is acting, disagreement is not a bad thing. It’s really interesting. You don’t want an actor who is always polite and serious. You need someone who gets angry. They call me at five in the morning to insult me and that’s normal… That’s what life is about – for living through problems and for sharing them, isn’t it?

Inspired by the likes of All about Eve (1950) and A Star Is Born (1954; the 1976 Barbara Streisand version of which he turned down the opportunity to direct with an alleged “Why would I want to direct you?”), Cassavetes’ backstage drama is his most female-centric work, literalising his career-long thematic concern with performance via an examination of age, insecurity and celebrity. While much of the screenplay evolved out of discussions with Rowlands, whose experiences with an often hysterical public after the release of A Woman under the Influence mirrored those of her character Myrtle, Cassavetes also drew on his time directing the manically insecure Judy Garland in A Child Is Waiting.

Writing and conceptualisation proved a lengthy process, with Rowlands and Cassavetes often in disagreement on the shape the film should take; Gena favouring clarity, Cassavetes ellipsis, but the biggest battles were over the way the film dealt with the subject of ageing: “I softened the ageing theme because it was all very, very painful and the people I care about were upset by it. I mean Gena. But it wasn’t just that. I didn’t want the film to be too destructive”.

It was also the most technically challenging directorial assignment Cassavetes had ever given himself. Not only did it have the biggest cast he’d worked with, but the demands of filling a large part of a 2,000 seat auditorium for the performance scenes with SAG-approved extras took a sizeable chunk out of his tight budget. Luckily, the acting job that required him to explode for Brian De Palma (The Fury, 1978) ran over-schedule, meaning an extra $10,000 towards production costs. It went little way to helping him settle actor Joan Blondell however, who struggled with what she saw as Cassavetes’ unique approach to directing.

The film opened disastrously in America, Cassavetes swiftly deciding to pull the film from cinemas. It would be a long time before Opening Night would receive its due as one of the filmmaker’s finest achievements, and further evidence of Gena Rowlands as the greatest actress of her generation.

So they sent [the script] to Columbia, and a couple of days later [my agent] called and said, ‘I have some good news and some bad news. One, they like the picture very much and want to buy it. And they want to have Gena in the picture.’ And I said what’s the bad news. ‘The bad news,’ he said, ‘is they want you to direct it.’ So that’s where we started.

Cassavetes had no intention of directing Gloria, a script he’d knocked out in a couple of weeks to sell to MGM. But with Gena attached and time to work on some rewrites before Columbia eventually took the script instead, the money finally proved too good to turn down. Rowlands was sold on the idea from the outset, keen to take on a tough-talking, leading role that in some ways resonated with her long-held love for Marlene Dietrich.

It was unlike anything Cassavetes had ever undertaken before: a $4m budget; a large, professional crew; a strictly enforced sequential shooting schedule and no final cut. While the production went by smoothly enough, Columbia sat on the film for almost a year, convinced it wouldn’t prove profitable enough to market. They weren’t wrong. Despite winning Gena the best actress award at the Venice Film Festival, the film did middling business. Not that Cassavetes really seemed to care: “It was television fare as a screenplay but handled by the actors to make it better. It’s an adult fairy-tale. I always thought I understood it. And I was bored because I knew the answer to that picture the minute we began”.

I read the script. To my mind, it had nothing to do with Shakespeare – it was an interesting plot. It was complicated. And I thought it was a comedy, but I wasn’t quite sure.
Cassavetes was right, Paul Mazurksy’s Tempest has very little to do with Shakespeare beyond its most obvious allusions. He can also be forgiven his curiosity as to the film’s tone, as even 30 years on it remains difficult to judge. It does, however, feature Raul Julia as a Greek shepherd playing ‘New York, New York’ on his clarinet to a herd of flying goats. So there is that.

While Rowlands is given little of substance with which to work, Cassavetes turns in a surprisingly nuanced performance that belies his difficulties with Mazursky. I say ‘his difficulties with Mazursky’, but it was really the reverse that was more often the case. Up to his old tricks, Cassavetes was demonstrably uncooperative throughout filming, often point blank refusing to do what his director asked, once again teasing Gena almost to breaking point. The film itself remains something of a chore, its laborious direction something even a fully committed turn from Cassavetes couldn’t have fixed

That’s all I’m interested in, love. And the lack of it. When it stops. And the pain that’s caused by loss or things taken away from us that we really need. So Love Streams is just… another picture in search of that grail… or whatever.

Loosely based on the 1970 stage play I’ve Seen You Cut Lemons by Ted Allan, Love Streams is Cassavetes’ final masterpiece, sadly unavailable on any home video format. Both a stunning summation and exquisite farewell to everything that had come before in terms of his thematic concerns, it’s a final prayer for love and empathy, communication and understanding that centres on a brother and sister struggling to keep their grip on the very edges of their worlds.

Although he would go on to direct one more feature subsequently, Cassavetes was little more than a hired hand on the dreadful Big Trouble the following year, so the final shot of Love Streams presents an image of heartbreaking, seemingly prescient finality. Both Cassavetes and Rowlands give remarkable performances, hers sounding echoes of both A Woman under the Influence’s Mabel Longhetti and Opening Night’s Myrtle Gordon, his a hollow shell of Husbands’ Gus Demetri.

It’s a film that sees Cassavetes take an achingly poetic leap into new territory in its final third, his closing tempest making a mockery of Mazursky’s. The formal qualities of Love Streams show the filmmaker scaling new heights, and for my money it’s the pinnacle of his achievements as a filmmaker.

Prvi put sam čitao roman Rat i mir pre pola veka, Plejadino izdanje u jednom tomu, u letovalištu Peroz-Girek, tokom prvog godišnjeg odmora koji mi je platila agencija Frans pres. Tada sam pisao svoj prvi roman i bio opsednut idejom da je za roman kao proznu vrstu, za razliku od drugih, kvantitet osnovni preduslov kvaliteta, i da su veliki romani doslovno veliki – dugački – jer obuhvataju toliko planova stvarnosti da odaju utisak da je u njima izraženo celokupno ljudsko iskustvo.

Tolstojev roman je po svoj prilici do tančina potvrđivao tu teoriju. Od površnog početka koji oslikava tadašnje društvo, u otmenim salonima Sankt Peterburga i Moskve, među plemstvom koje je između sebe više razgovaralo na francuskom nego na ruskom, pripovest je oslikavala pad i raskol složenog ruskog društva uzduž i popreko, prikazujući beskonačnu raznovrsnost njegovih klasa i vrsta, od kneževa i generala do slugu i seljaka, preko trgovaca i devojaka za udaju, poročnih ljudi i masona, vernika i probisveta, vojnika, umetnika, karijerista i mističara, dok se čitaocu ne zavrti u glavi od priče u kojoj mu pred očima defiluju sve moguće vrste ljudi.

Kada pomislim na taj kolosalni roman, najsnažnije pamtim bitke, čudesnu odiseju vremešnog generala Kutuzova koji, od poraza do poraza, malo-pomalo iscrpljuje Napoleonovu osvajačku vojsku sve dok, uz pomoć oštre zime, snega i gladi, ne uspe da je pokori. Imao sam lažnu predstavu da bi se, kada bi trebalo sažeti Rat i mir u jednu rečenicu, moglo reći da je to veliki epski mural o načinu na koji je ruski narod odbacio imperijalističke napore Napoleona Bonaparte, ‘neprijatelja čovečanstva’, odbranio svoj suverenitet, tada sam mislio da je posredi veliki nacionalistički i vojni roman, koji veliča rat, tradiciju i tobožnje strateške vrline ruskog naroda.

Sada, kada ga drugi put čitam, uviđam da sam bio u zabludi. Rat i mir ne samo što ne prikazuje rat kao čestito iskustvo koje oličava hrabrost, osobenost i veličinu jedne zemlje, već ga predočava u svem užasu, pokazujući u svakoj od bitaka – a možda nadasve u zadivljujućem opisu Napoleonove pobede kod Austerlica – monstruozno krvoproliće čija su posledica beskrajna nemaština i nepravda koje pogađaju običnog čoveka i struje koje zahvataju ogromnu većinu njegovih žrtava, i jezive zločinačke gluposti onih koji podstiču takvu kataklizmu, govoreći o časti, rodoljublju i građanskim i ratničkim vrednostima, rečima čija ispraznost i tivijalnost postaju očigledne istog trnutka kada zagrme plotuni.

Tolstojev roman se mnogo više dotiče mira nego rata, a ljubav prema ruskoj istoriji i kulturi koja ga nesumnjivo prožima nipošto ne veliča buku i bes ubistava, već intenzitet unutrašnjeg života ispunjenog razmišljanjima, sumnjama, traganjem za istinom i nastojanjem da se drugima čini dobro, oličenog u pasivnom i dobroćudnom Pjeru Bezuhovu, istinskom junaku romana.

Premda španski prevod Rata i mira koji trenutno čitam nije izvrstan, Tolstojava genijalnost je prisutna na svakom koraku u svemu što pripoveda, i to više u prikrivenim nego u eksplicitnim slojevima teksta. Njegove tišine su uvek rečite, komunikativne, pobuđuju kod čitaoca znatiželju koja mu ne dozvoljava da se odvoji od štiva, jer željno iščekuje da sazna da li će knez Andreja izjaviti ljubav Nataši, da li će se dogovoreni brak ostvariti ili će knežev zlonamerni otac Nikolaj Andrejević uspeti da ga osujeti. Takoreći ne postoji nijedna epizoda u romanu koja nije dopola ispričana, koja nije prekinuta uskrativši čitaocu neki ključni podatak ili informaciju, kako njegova pažnja ne bi opala, kako bi sve vreme bila požudna i budna.

Istinski je impresivno kako je u jednom tako obimnom i raznolikom romanu sa toliko likova narativna potka tako savršeno vođena sveprisutnim pripovedačem koji nikada ne gubi kontrolu, koji beskrajnom mudrošću i merom posvećuje vreme svakom od njih, koji tokom romana nikoga ne zanemaruje niti ističe, svima dajući primereno vreme i prostor kako bi sve teklo kao što teče život, ponekad presporo, ponekad u mahnitim skokovima, sa dnevnim dozama radosti, nedaća, snova, ljubavi, mašte.

Prilikom ponovnog čitanja Rata i mira primećujem nešto što pri prvom nisam uvideo – da je duhovna dimenzija istorije mnogo značajnija od one koja se odvija u salonima ili na bojnim poljima. Filozofija, religija, traganje za istinom koja bi omogućila da se jasno razluči dobro od zla i da se postupa u skladu sa tim, osnovna je preokupacija glavnih likova, čak i vojnih glavešina poput generala Kutuzova, zadivljujućeg lika koji je, uprkos tome što je proveo život u borbi – još uvek mu se vidi ožiljak od turskog metka koji mu je okrznuo lice – izuzetno moralan čovek kome je mržnja nepoznanica, čak bi se reklo da ratuje jer mu ništa drugo ne preostaje i jer neko mora i to da radi, premda bi radije provodio vreme u intelektualnim i duhovnim pregnućima.

Iako su, istini za volju, događaji koji se odvijaju u romanu Rat i mir užasni, sumnjam da iko oseća tugu i pesimizam kada završi njegovo čitanje. Naprotiv, roman ostavlja utisak da su, uprkos svemu lošem što nam život donosi i obilju nitkova i zlobnika koji žele da ostvare svoj cilj, kada se sve sabere i oduzme, dobri brojniji od zlih, prilike za radost i vedrinu češće od onih za ogorčenost i mržnju, te da čovečanstvo, mada to nije uvek očigledno, malo-pomalo, ostavlja iza sebe najgore terete koje vuče, neprimetno postajući sve bolje i rasterećenije.

Reč je verovatno o najvećem Tolstojevom dostignuću, poput Servantesovog kada je napisao Doh Kihota, Balzaka i njegove Ljudske komedije, Dikensa sa Oliverom Tvistom, Viktora Igoa sa Jadnicima ili Foknera sa njegovom Južnjačkom sagom. Uprkos tome što u njihovim romanima uranjamo u podzemlje čovečanstva, ubrizgavamo uverenje da je, i pored svega, ljudska pustolovina neizmerno bogatija i uzvišenija od patnji i tričarija koje takođe u njoj obitavaju, da gledana u celini, sa vedrije perspektive, zavređuje da je proživimo, makar jedino zbog toga što na ovom svetu ne možemo živeti samo od istine, već i od laži, zahvaljujući velikim romanima.

Mario Vargas Ljosa, Rat i mir

U krajnjem kutu svoje dnevne sobe
gdje ne može doprjeti nepozvani pogled
na dnu svojih prepunih vitrina
kriješ slatku fasciklu s natpisom “intima”
.
Međ slikama tebi dragih lica
gdje čuvas svoje spomene i pisma
sve u formi poezije, stiha
nalazi se i moja ljubav tiha
.
To su pjesme nikad objavljene
napisane zbog voljene žene
al’ datumi na njima su stari
već odavno nema novih stvari
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Jer umjesto poetskih visina
iz mene izlazi samo tuga i gorčina
i misao što se reći ne sm’je
ko te kara nek ti piše pjesme
.
Htio bih da budem gospodin
i izbjegnem reakcije bijesne
ali ću reći kao pravi primitivac
ko te kara nek ti piše pjesme
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Znam da slušaš moje nove ploče
sa njima se branim od samoće
i ubacim nešto da te štrecne
ko te kara nek ti piše pjesme
.
Elvis Dži Kurtović

Onaj koji je sad sedeo prekoputa gospodina Goljatkina bio je užas gospodina Goljatkina, bio je stid gospodina Goljatkina, bio je noćašnji košmar gospodina Goljatkina, jednom rečju bio je glavom gospodin Goljatkin.

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.

Elie Wiesel

Of his experience at Auschwitz, he would remember, “Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live long as God himself. Never.”

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

~ Elie Wiesel, September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016.

U skorašnjoj kolumni Brzogoreća patka napisah da je takozvana demokratska i proevropska Srbija mnogo sklonija deklaracijama, protestacijama, šetnjama i paradiranjima, nego strpljivom radu, a da je prvom sklonija zato što su protestacije, za razliku od ozbiljnog rada, lake kao pero. Malo se prošetaš, malo duvaš u pištaljku, malo mašeš patkicom, napraviš poneki selfi i smatraš da si završio posao i da si trenutnom srpskom tirjaninu, Ocu Vučiću, žestoko natrljao nos.
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Ocu Vučiću te protestacije bezbeli idu na živce – takav je čovek – ali mogu vam garantovati da zbog toga neće podneti ostavku. Sad će demokratskoevropski dilberi graknuti (i već su graknuli) – ali, čoveče, Vučić ruši Savamalu, on ovo, on ono, što je sve tačno i što uopšte ne znači da takve stvari treba mirno progutati, ja, međutim, demonstrante nisam ni kritikovao zbog toga što demonstriraju, nego zato što su pobrkali lončiće. Na koje to lončiće mislim? Polako, sve po redu. U demokratskim porecima – makar oni bili i ovakvi kakav je u Srbiji – demonstracije su, po definiciji, poslednje sredstvo političkog delovanja. A šta je, možda se pitate, prvo? Prvo sredstvo su izbori. Sad se ja pitam – kud se denuše oni sva ona divna stvorenja čiji su glasovi nekadašnjem DOS-u pribavili mnogo više poslaničkih mesta (176 čini mi se) nego što ih sada ima Vučić?
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Idemo dalje. Vučić se nije domogao tirjanstva zahvaljujući masovnom izlasku njegovih glasača, nego masovnom neizlasku pozamašnog dela srpskog građanstva i seljaštva koji očima ne može da ga vidi. Sad viđi vraga: propustiš da pribegneš najučinkovitijem sredstvu – izborima – a onda radosno pribegneš poslednjem – demonstracijama – koje nije da nemaju nikakav efekat, ali koje suštinski ništa ne menjaju na stvari, a ponajmanje smenjuju Vučića, na šta nemaju ni pravo, jer je čovek došao na vlast legalnim putem.
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Basara, Danas