Obviously, there is a Wall of Love in Niš !
Antique performances of Aristophane’s Birds or Eschyle’s Persians must have been something looking like this, mustn’t they? Okay, in Athens they probably used to start earlier in the evening, there was probably no artificial light, probably no microphones, and obviously no crocodiles on stage. But so many people gathering to listen to litterature every evening: Krokodil festival was just amazing.
Beautiful moment to hear the bosnian writer Adullah Sidran reading his poems. Sometimes you don’t even need to understand the words: you just listen to the voice of the old guy; you just watch his face and his short arms moving around his small body ; you just feel the emotion all around you among people listenning to him ; and you understand something big is happening.
Also glad to have been introduced to Zelimir Zilnik’s movies, through several excerpts which were shown subtitled in english. Despite he won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 1969 for “Rani Radovi” and is obviously famous, i didn’t know him. I’m now eager to watch all his movies. Does anyone know where to find an english subtitled copy of “Vruce Plate”, a film Zelinik directed in 1987? The only excerpt of it i find on internet is here: http://zilnikzelimir.net/sr/vruce-plate. Enjoy!
“We Serbians can’t help being epic!”. I was having a coffee with Vladimir Arsenijevic and Ana Pejovic, my wonderful hosts in this Krokodil adventure, and Vladimir had that very funny (and probably quite true) statement – maybe not exactly these words but that was the idea. “In architecture, in litterature, in whatever we do, even in coffee or pasta, we Serbians always become epic!” He was making fun of this trend of course, and opposed it to the Czech way of thinking, for instance, completely different according to him: the like for small things, small stories, loosers humour, loosers stories, every kind of litterature showing the world through a miniaturized universe. All this sounded very interesting to me, i could very well see what he was meaning by this epic trend, and by the opposite. And it made me realize that in french litterature we sometimes face the opposed problem: We would love to be epic (I want to, I would love to) but very often we don’t know how to. Vladimir, help me!
Sometimes you’re just walking here and there, and at once a miracle happens. Not a big miracle. But a tiny one, you would like to happen again and again.
I met this guy on Despota Stefana boulevard. No: first i heard him. I heard his trumpet playing amzingly the Godfather’s theme. So smoothly. With so much emotion in it.
I didn’t manage to record him. It was already over, and maybe it’s better like this. Record a miracle? Come on. I just managed to catch a bit of his music a few seconds later. He was already playing someting else. And his Godfather theme will forever remain untouched, impossible to replay.
I both met them just walking around, not far from the Palilula area where the residence’s flat is located. The first Georges was lying on a sign in a quite remote and industrial street near the Danube bank. I was having an expresso on a terrace when i tried to read the name of the street. And i suddenly realized that it was a very french name: Oulitsa Georges Clémenceau!
A few hours later, the same thing happen. I wanted to know the name of the Boulevard I was strolling on. And I realized it was named after an other Georges, also famous (and obviously more famous than the french one, since the street was a boulevard, and much closer to the center than the previous one):
The funny thing was the difference beetween the two Georges. Although both written with the cyrillic alphabet, the G letter was not the same: one was aticulated with the french accent, while the other was with the american one.
Pity that i have no sound recorder here. I would have post a sample of the huge noise i can hear from my window, three hundred meters away from the gymnasium. Basket-ball fans singing all with one voice, stamping on the tiers all together in rythm, first slowly, then accelerating, accelerating again and again.
Among several remarkable places around the residence’s flat, the closest is probably the Pionir Sport Complex. A massive gymnasium which i now know can be crowded on big events such as tonight, with the Partizan basket-ball team playing against the Red Star.
This is the third game of the play-offs, maybe the last one since Partizan already won the two first ones. I went to the previous one, on friday. Not inside the gymnasium, but under it – which means also under the feet of the guys stamping and stamping again on the tiers. There’s a bar there, with nice wooden tables and tasty coffees from all around the world. When i arrived they were already playing the fourth quarter so i took a seat and decided to wait, drinking a café frappé and listening to the trampling over my head. We were maybe five of us in the coffee, four girls (whose boys were probably usptairs, singing themselves) and I. While listening to the noise, i tried to learn a little about cases in my serbian language book, without great success. Then the fans started to break out from upstairs, by hunreds and hundreds. First those who had lost, of course angry, their face disappointed, not talking that much, most of them watching the screen of their mobile phone. Then a few minutes later those who had won, singing loudly and waving hands and giving each other five – most of them also watching the screen of their mobile phone.
From the moment I sat in the plane to Beograd, tennis was there. There were no screens on board, but the speaker after a while asked us all passengers to clap: the tennis champion Ana Ivanovic was in the plane. I could guess she was coming back from Roland-Garros. It was quite early in the tournament, which obviously meant she had not succeeeded very well this year. But she was Ana Ivanovic, wasn’t she? So we all clapped for her, quite loudly.
Then in the streets of Belgrade i became a Roland-Garros viewer. I had not expected this, i don’t watch that much Roland Garros when i’m in France, i very often don’t watch it at all, and i would have never thought i would spend any of my time in Serbia watching something which was taking place in Paris. But how could i do? There were so many screens in the cafés. So many people watching it. So many serbian players doing well. I understood it was a typical serbian custom, even more serbian maybe than french, and i decided i could myself get addicted to it without any guilt complex.
In a small burek shop, i watched Jelena Jankovic winning the first set 6-0 against Maria Sharapova – the burek were excellent, the guy not too demonstrative about his enthusiasm (he was right: i then learnt Jankovic had finally lost the game), we both felt quite confortable together, even if we could hardly say a word to each other.
Then, much more epic, i watched a large part of the two last sets of Nadal-Djokovic’s semifinal. It was on my way back home after a lunch witk Krokodil’s team; I was feeling good, walking slowly down the Despota Stefana boulevard, and i first stopped in a pub called the Optimist Club. There were many people wathching the game there, Nole was not doing very well and i could see the anxious faces, the fists bamming on the tables. Should i say it? My heart was more on the side of Nadal. The guys in the pub were quite strong, with big muscles, they were not kidding about their Nole : i decided not to show i was supporting the Spanish guy. A few minutes and a good beer later, Djokovic started to come back in the game : their voices became loud, their enthusiasm too huge for me, and i decided to go back to my walk.
Five hundred meters further, there was a tiny café i like very much, always crowded, a bit outdated, with cigarettes filters on the floor and good expressos : i sat again. There fans were much peaceful. I could hear one of them whispering each time Nole kicked the ball: bekem, bekem, bekem… When i left, Nadal had managed to come back to 5-5 in the last set.
I left a few minutes for shopping and when i went out from the market, i saw again the orange earth of Roland Garros on a screen. The faces were quiet, the silence deep. Matchball for Nadal. The point started and Nadal won it. Around the tables there was no noise, no sign of anything important happening anywhere. More an eclipse than a matchpoint. And all was over.