2013年9月29日星期日

台湾民航局代表团在蒙特利尔



923是第38届国际民航组织大会召开前一天,中华民国民航局长沈启来到了这座被台湾人称为蒙特娄,被大陆人译作蒙特利尔的城市。沈启正好是在台湾退出联合国的那一年开始在民航局工作,整整42年后,她对自己有机会率团回到国际民航组织感到非常荣幸和激动。在和记者的访谈中,她谈及了台湾代表团的与会情况、和大陆代表团互动的细节,表达了在大会之后台湾参加后续区域性会议的愿望,而对台湾成为国际民航组织观察员的前景,沈局长表示相当乐观。

会议首日上午945分,会员国进场,由九名专业人员组成的台湾代表团和其他观察员11点入场参加开幕式,大会批准设立委员会,选举理事会成员国,下午两点会议重新开始后讨论各委员会报告,选举大会主席。晚上,台湾代表团参加了由理事会主席和秘书长举办的酒会。第二天开始项目讨论,台湾代表团参加了经济委员会、技术委员会、行政委员会、执行委员会和法律委员会等委员会的讨论,晚上还出席了由东道主加拿大举办的酒会。沈局长表示“由于不是会员,台湾没有投票权,但我们在会议中的待遇和其他的观察员是一样的”。在这里她提到的其他观察员包括全球航空运输协会、世界气象组织、世界贸易组织等非政府组织。

大会期间,台湾代表团与大陆代表团之间的互动引人关注。26日晚,台湾代表团举行小型酒会,宴请友邦代表及加拿大官员和国会议员,大陆代表不在受邀之列。对此,沈启解释说“虽然我们和大陆的关系有改善,但在外交和正式场合还没有协商出好的办法,互动还是比较容易变成政治议题”。

不过她透露在大会上,双方就有良好的互动,仅第一天会议,双方就两次相遇寒暄,大陆领队是中国民航局夏副局长,他对台湾以中华台北的名义到来表示欢迎。沈启说目前两岸每周航班达616班次,台湾飞大陆有54个点,大陆到台湾10个点,双方每半年都会会面,到今年年底,飞行班次可能增加到670架次。沈启表示要与大陆谈的问题很多,诸如增加航班、大陆航班延期问题严重、飞航安全、空管和气象的技术交流以及飞机维修等问题,但都要等回台湾再行安排,在蒙特利尔期间,双方互动只发生在会议间隙,并没有单独举行会谈的计划。

会议期间,大会理事会主席罗伯托·科韦·冈萨雷斯(Roberto Kobeh-Gonzalez)向新闻界透露,台湾这次以“主席贵宾”而非以“观察员”的身份与会,是北京的提议。对此沈启表示她接到国际民航组织的信函上,邀请台湾以“GUEST”的身份与会。这个身份在国际民航组织的历史上从来不曾有过,中文译为“特约贵宾”,因此,台湾代表团的角色非常特别。她说:“它的英文名字是guest,而大会上大部分与会者都是会员和观察员,以前没有GUEST这一名字,中文翻译为特别邀请的贵宾。听说这个名字是由大陆向大会主席提议(记者插话),这个我不太晓得,但大会给我们的信是用了GUEST”。

对于这次与会对台湾航空业的帮助,沈启坦言由于台湾过去不能与会,只能通过私人公司获取数月前的国际民航组织信息,这次在会议上就获得了所有资料。她说参加大会是第一步,希望台湾能参加后续的区域性会议,在那里可以和相邻国家讨论更多的技术性问题,获得更多的资讯。

对于台湾成为国际民航组织观察员的前景,沈局长认为有三方面原因使她保持乐观,一是台湾朝野的共识,二是促成这次台湾与会的两岸关系改善,三是美国和欧盟等友邦和团体的大力支持。沈启认为:“台湾这次与会,就不可能回头了,只会越来越往前,越来越正向”。

2013年9月25日星期三

06年旧文归档:被台湾护照“囚禁”的摄影家

                                               廖健行作品之一:法拉盛中心
                                  作品二:5 Pointz, Long Island City.

                                          作品三:Sohncke Square, Woodside
廖健行,1977年生于台湾,18岁去加拿大温哥华留学,1999年来纽约学习摄影。2005年9月11日,他以全景摄影方式拍摄的“七号地铁生活圈”(Habitat 7)获得纽约时报杂志“捕捉时间”(“Capture the Times”)摄影奖。

2006年3月12日至7月9日,纽约皇后美术馆在纽约全景模型展示厅的上升坡道上,以彩色灯箱的形式展出他30幅摄影作品。

3月30日在皇后图书馆,廖健行兴奋地告诉记者,暑假他要去中国拍摄黄河:“要从黄河源头拍,用直升飞机拍。”

没料想,一个多星期之后,陷入沮丧之中的廖健行告诉记者:哪儿也去不了,因为只要他一日不回台湾服兵役,台湾发给他的每本护照都只会有半年的有效期,一直到满40周岁。在这期间,他一旦离开美国就无法返回,因为没有哪个国家会让一个持有有效期只有半年的人入境。他可以回台湾,但会被扣住,无法再离开台湾岛;他也可以回大陆,因为他有台胞证,但却无法再回美国。思来想去,他发现自己被台湾护照卡在美国了。

迷上摄影的创造性

纽约皇后美术馆2006年的宣传单张对廖健行介绍的第一句话就使人产生误解,它说廖健行在18岁时就移民温哥华,后来抵达纽约。而实际上,无论在加拿大或在美国,廖健行都只是一个游学者,他持留学生的身份,在温哥华和纽约一呆就是11年。

记者:你在温哥华学什么呢?

廖健行:读了一下高中,后来读大学,学了一年商科,就半途而废了。我对商有兴趣,但一到正统地学理论就没兴趣了,可能对做买卖这个行为有兴趣吧。后来就想,要学就学自己真正喜欢的东西。

记者:四年后在纽约重新开始学摄影?

廖健行:我一直都很喜欢摄影,一直也都拍。与西方人相比,我们中国人对摄影的认知比较刻板,认为摄影是属于有钱人的玩具。东方人对商业摄影和艺术摄影的观念很浅,一直到80年代,一提到摄影就是婚纱摄影。我当时也觉得自己不可能靠这个吃饭,但当我对摄影的创造性认识深刻以后,看法就不一样了。摄影只是实践创造精神的一种手法。

我2003年获得了普拉特艺术和设计学院(Pratt Institute of Art andDesign)的摄影艺术学士,2005年从纽约视觉艺术学院(NY Visual ArtsSchool)硕士毕业。为什么读两个学校,那是因为越学习越知道不足。

记者:你喜欢什么样的摄影家?

廖健行:让我迷恋的摄影家是三个德国人,Bernd,Hilla Becher和 Andreas Gursky,他们给我很多启发,他们的风格是寻找同一种东西的不同侧面,然后作成一组作品。例如很有名的水塔照片有九个格子,这些水塔初看一样,可细看就不太一样。这就像拍记录片一样,成了一组镜头。效果非常冷,线条简单,画面干净,从中感觉不到一点人的气息。

他们以同样的精神对待不同的物质世界。他们在拍摄时,在暗房和电脑制作中,都非常冷静地控制所有的画面。Gursky所有的照片都是拼凑成的,我不说出来你很难发现。

经过在纽约七年的摄影理论学习和实践,廖健行沿着三位德国摄影大师启发的道路,摸索着摄影技巧,应用老式相机在不同的时间里摄取许多相同景观的镜头之后,运用数位技巧将这些照片放置在同一张作品之上。廖健行称这种拼帖式的后期制作技巧,可以表现极佳的时间氛围,并得以再现环境的全景及细部。

在这些近乎电影导演式安排的摄影作品中,廖健行以一种奇趣,把他生活圈里的不同族裔的人们定格下来。

获纽约时报杂志摄影奖

2004年,10名台湾艺术家在纽约皇后美术馆以“唐人与美国这块土地之间的关系”为主题举办了作品展,廖健行有12张黑白摄影作品参展。

在此之前,廖健行已经将视野转向了更具象征意味的七号地铁生活圈。在他的想象中,7号地铁无情地从不同的社区轰鸣而过,沿着这震动不已的铁轨各族裔欣欣向荣,人们的生机仰仗于这条铁路。

七号地铁生活圈由48张作品组成,每张作品都由12张至15张原始照片合成,共花了两年半的时间,是廖健行至今为止完成的最大的摄影计划。廖健行说电脑合成技术使得他的作品画面饱满忙碌,达到了自己设想的效果。他告诉记者,合成同一张作品中的不同原始照片时间跨度最长达1年半。

廖健行的作品感动了纽约时报摄影比赛的评委,2005年9月,还只完成了30幅成品的“七号地铁生活圈”获得了纽约时报杂志“捕捉时间”摄影奖。 多维:在你的作品中,能看到你有意留下的破绽,比如在“Day Workers”这张照片里,一群南美人站在路边等工作,一名女子从他们面前经过,你把她处理成了非正常人体,单腿着黄裤棕鞋向坡上走,上身是长发披面往坡下行。

廖健行:那是我故意移植的,它带来一些超现实的感觉,我不想把图片做的太完美太死。我希望人们看我的作品,会回头来寻找自己遗漏的东西,我希望人们读我的摄影,读出我作品中的诸多事件和活动。

记者:你为什么做这么大的摄影计划?

廖健行:我当时也没想到会做到48张,就这么一直拍一直拍,一直拍到感觉完整才停下。拍到30张的时候,我的出版社说30张就可以出书了,但我说不行,等我拍完。现在想起来非常过瘾,两年半的时间里,天天对着自己的作品。当你将自己的作品收集起来的时候,你会发现自己已经慢慢建立了看待事物的思考模式,有时候在似懂非懂之间,发现哪些画面是自己要的,再按这种取舍去斟酌其他的照片。

记者:你想在作品里表现什么?

廖健行:就是这块土地和人。在这块土地上我看到了古文明和河流的关系,在我的画面里就是地铁和新移民的关系,七号地铁对于各族裔,就如同大河之于古时的人们。这里有来自全世界一百多个国家的移民,是全世界独一无二的地区,不同国家的人都可以在我的摄影中读到自己熟悉的画面,但它们全部出自纽约。

记者:在距离感和线条方面你受德国摄影家的影响,你自己的特点呢?

廖健行:我比他们更关注人性,我对人的兴趣比较强,对人的所作所为感兴趣,他们对空间对线条对历史更感兴趣,他们的作品里没有人的痕迹。

记者:你制作每张作品的具体过程是怎样的?

廖健行:我先画一张草稿,把需要的人和物画进去。我在七号地铁沿线走了好多次选景,是步行,这样我才能发现常人不易发现的景色和人物,发现人的有趣的活动。拍一张原始照片需要两个小时,再用12到16张原始照片合成一幅作品。我那时不是每天拍,我有时要上课有时上班。为了保证照片质量,我用的摄影器材是老式相机,带盖布的那种,有70磅重,用的是8寸X10寸的底片,为了省钱,我买半价的过期底片,好在电脑技术可以弥补这些底片的色泽不足。就这样,拍48张作品还得几万圆的费用。拍的时候,有些地方比如地铁里面还要向市政府申请拍摄许可,我在长岛市的最高建筑拍的时候,不但申请了许可,还买了人身保险,否则不可以上顶部拍。

因为一些预想的景点谈一个月也拿不到许可,就只能放弃。不过在拍完30幅作品拿到纽约时报摄影奖,对我后来申请许可有帮助。

记者:你现在这组摄影作品是否全部完成?

廖健行:还剩最后几张,完成后我会把所有的资料交给我在美国俄勒冈州的出版社,这是一家专门出版摄影艺术书籍的出版社,他们在我获奖之后找到我,帮我出书。在我获奖之前,皇后美术馆就找到默默无闻的我谈现在正在进行的这个展览,现在我有30幅作品在那里展出。

记者:获奖还为你带来了什么变化?

廖健行:我有了一家画廊帮我做经纪,曼哈顿的Julie Saul Galery,我刚到纽约时就常去这家画廊,我盯上它已经7年了,现在如愿以偿加盟进去了。摄影行业在纽约的竞争非常激烈,比方说在曼哈顿,有600家艺术画廊,其中只有100家摄影画廊,这100家每年只接受5至6名新人,这5,6个位子有两万个摄影师在争夺,曼哈顿和周边有一大堆的艺术家在争这几个位子。

记者:你个人生活怎样?

廖健行:极为简单,可以说没有生活。我做作品时间都不够,哪里有时间出去玩。我不出去喝酒,不去舞厅,我的厨房变成了暗房,我就出去吃东西,我常去法拉盛,吃中餐。我对音乐没有兴趣,也可能是因为我思考时需要安静,音乐不会给我带来任何灵感。我喜欢听地铁的声音,铁轨碰撞的声音加上人的嘈杂声,对我的思考会有帮助。

记者:你对文字的感觉怎样?

廖健行:我觉得好文字一两个字就是一张照片。我的灵感通常是靠读书来获取的,在阅读中看到画面。我可能是长期受视觉刺激,对画面倒觉得不新鲜,但对文字的敏感很强。

我常看艺术家的创作随感,读纽约时报的文章,少读文艺作品,我不是那种读万卷书的人。

台湾兵役制把我卡在美国

台湾自1949年以来就在一直实行全民志愿役募兵与义务役徵兵的二元化兵役制度。

按照台湾法律,满十八岁男性有服兵役的义务。如果抗拒服兵役将会被判刑坐牢。目前,台湾军队中大约有一半的成员,是义务从军的士官兵。这种全民皆兵的作法,得到一些退役陆军将领的肯定:"徵兵制的好处在于全国全民皆兵,一到战争的时候有充份的动员部队来投入战争。徵兵制的另外一个好处在于它的平均素质很高。像美军在韩战时,兵力素质高就是因为徵兵制。" 

不过徵兵制在许多服过兵役的台湾青年眼中,却不是一个好的制度。许多士兵戏称,他们服的兵役,不应该称为义务役,而应该叫作不愿役。也就是说,很多人是在心不甘情不愿的情况下去当兵的。

服兵役在他们看来是白白浪费时间。有已经退伍的义务役士官兵说:"男孩子很多人要出国留学,想要赶快投入就业市场。当兵两年一中断,学校学的全都忘光了,再重新投入市场,好像很陌生,要从头开始,多少还是会浪费时间。"

越来越不受欢迎的台湾徵兵制,服役时间也变得越来越短。过去役期曾经长达三年,不过近年来随着台湾军队的人员精简,役期从两年,一年十个月,再到一年八个月。兵役制度的彻底改革也在考虑之中,台湾军队已经在2003年开始少量的进行募兵,但有的人在期盼征兵制度由义务役转为志愿役。

廖健行就处于这种期盼之中,2005年从纽约视觉艺术学院毕业以后,他面临着回台湾当兵或是在海外流亡的选择。廖健行告诉记者他不愿放弃在纽约的摄影事业,回到台湾军中去做米虫,数馒头。

记者:你现在是什么身份?

廖健行:我还是拿台湾护照,正在申请艺术家移民来美,律师说我的资料够,就是要等时间。我这几天烦的也就是这台湾护照,台湾政府说我没服兵役,每次给我发的护照都只有半年的有效期限,每半年我就要换一次护照。但更严重的问题是,我的护照只有半年,我哪个国家都不能去,我只能被卡在美国。我甚至想干脆移民到中国去,也不至于被关在美国。

记者:台湾方面能否有变通?

廖健行:据说2008年台湾可能会改为募兵制,改为职业军人,愿去的就去,拿工资,不再强制每一个人都要当兵两年。想象一个艺术家去当两年兵,再回来搞艺术,已经落后了。

我跑去跟台湾外交官交涉,他们说“连台湾大使的儿子都一样,你会有特权吗?”台湾有个棒球选手在美国扬基队,他享受了特权,当了两个礼拜的兵,运动员比艺术家牛呵。

记者:那你怎么对待这个困境?

廖健行:我这两天一直在跟自己说,我去当兵,两年之后就不再有阻挠了,去哪里都自由了。但一想到如果当兵离开纽约,没有创作,没有新的作品,那我很快就被人忘记了。

我征求很多朋友的意见,有人说当兵好,有人就骂台湾政府,说实在台湾政府这几年做的真不好。台湾号称有40几万兵,能打仗的也不知道有几万,大家都是去数馒头。

你知道在80年代大陆有个艺术家要进台湾,按规定台湾不许可,后来因为他是着名艺术家,就开禁了。我现在想我也要变得很出名以后,就能享受特例了。

记者:你现在能自由进出台湾吗?

廖健行:不能,我回去就会被抓住,被关在台湾,不给出来。很多在外面搞艺术的台湾青年和我一样,我们已经把台湾放弃了一半了。

不知何时能拍黄河

2002年,廖健行参加了在中国举办的重走长征路摄影活动,这项把当代艺术带进贫困乡村的活动为期2个半月,由一个美国的基金会组织,当时还在纽约读摄影本科的廖健行因具备西方的文化背景,又能和中国人沟通而入选,在其中负责摄影记录。

第一次回中国大陆的廖健行说在两个半月里喝了至少40种啤酒,他还清楚地记得贵州茅台的小姑娘用水壶给他装茅台酒喝的情景。那两个半月使他领略了中国的辽阔,每个地区都有自己的啤酒,每天和艺术家们在一起,大家一起光着头,坐在路边,喝酒喝到天亮,还吃了狗肉。最后这次活动的摄影作品出版成册,基金会在北京还设了一家画廊。

那次中国之行使廖健行计划拍摄黄河,他告诉记者,不拍美国的河流,要拍河流就回中国去拍,拍黄河,因为那才是自己的根。

因台湾兵役而导致的护照问题使廖健行受困于美国,黄河拍摄计划也只好搁置起来。

记者:黄河计划受阻,你有其他的摄影计划吗?

廖健行:我一直在想能不能找到一个办法让我去一趟中国又能让我回到美国,但想不出来。山不转水转,我只好在美国多呆两年,说不定两年后在美国会有人赞助我去中国拍摄,我乐观地这么想。

现阶段做不了黄河计划,可以做别的,如果我一定要先拍黄河,那我就只好先回台湾当完兵,再去大陆拍黄河。

但我现在在考虑另一个计划,一个和人息息相关的事情:金钱。我在考虑城市的架构和金融架构,金钱和人们生活的关系,我发现这个很有趣,我想做一个计划叫做“City On the Citi”,“花旗银行架构上的城市”,我想去美国所有的城市,在高层建筑上俯拍花旗银行,鸟瞰这个世界最大的银行怎样控制人们的生活,镜头从上望下,上帝在俯瞰着人民。

不过这个计划还不成熟,我要写计划书,还要征求花旗银行的拍摄许可。

有家不能回的台湾人

                     2010年,纽约《世界日报》记者简一夫拍摄的廖健行
                                       台湾教父陈启礼
                                    2009年我在纽约拍摄的林毅夫

                                             1988年张宪义叛逃美国时的新闻

                                              流亡美国20多年的张宪义


不说不知道,其实有不少台湾人回不了自由民主的台湾。

2006年,我在纽约采访了29岁的摄影家廖健行,发现这位获得《纽约时报》摄影奖的台湾青年竟回不了台湾,因为一旦回去,他就必须留下来服兵役,于是他选择在美国流浪。2008年,台湾部分实行募兵制,2013年1月1日起,台湾兵役制度转变成“平募战征”,1994年后出生的男青年只需要经过4个月的常规兵役军事训练。廖健行应该可以回家了。

回不了台湾的人当中,大名鼎鼎者少不了台湾竹联帮原老大陈启礼。他曾因江南遇刺案获刑,再遭通缉后逃往柬埔寨,在金边流亡十七年,2007年因患癌症赴港治疗,两个月后客死香港。半个月后, 陈启礼魂归台北,台湾黑道为他举行了世纪葬礼。

2009年5月2日,在纽约地区北京大学校友会于曼哈顿洛克菲勒大学礼堂举行的年会上,我采访了世界银行首席经济学家、高级副行长林毅夫, 这位三十年前(1979年5月16日)叛逃的国军精锐马山连连长表示“作为台湾子弟,我希望能够回台湾,去扫墓、拜访以前教过我的老师、看望亲戚和老朋友。回台湾,是我作为台湾子弟,离开那一天就存在的愿望,我相信这个愿望会实现!”因为叛逃罪,曾在2002年父亲病逝时想回宜兰奔丧的林毅夫,至今不能回台湾。

还有一位身份隐秘的台湾不归者,就是1988年1月12日逃往美国的国军上校和核物理学家张宪义。当时他把台湾几乎成功研制核武器的机密资料交给了美国政府,导致三天后美国会同国际原子能总署突查他任职副所长的台湾中科院核子研究所,拆卸设施带走仪器。台湾指控张宪义是美国中央情报局卧底,目的是终止中华民国的核武发展计划。




2013年9月24日星期二

塞内加尔电影教主穆萨

中国电影界没有教主。

曾经的牛人张艺谋,现在几乎已经偃旗息鼓,既没有创立自己的风格流派,像古时的贤者一样收一帮弟子门徒,又没有像现代人一样走上社会,成为一个积极干预社会事务的活动者。现在偶尔传来的关于张艺谋的消息,是他已经成为七个孩子的爹。恭喜他已经和印度人一样,没事就在床上作业。记得印度的计划生育口号是“多看电影少做爱”,中国这位曾经的顶级导演,干的却是“不拍电影专做爱”的勾当,可见当今中国电影堕落之一斑。

比张艺谋年轻七岁的塞内加尔人穆萨(Moussa Touré)最初在电影界的势头远逊于前者,但后劲十足。

他在29岁时成立了自己的电影公司达喀尔鳄鱼电影公司( Les Films du crocodile Dakar),拍了第一部短片,四年之后拍摄了为他获得一定声誉的长片《Toubab Bi》。他被国际社会认识是在39岁时,拍摄的TGV在非洲大获成功,还在意大利获得了第九届米兰非洲电影节公众大奖。

写到这里,再拿张艺谋做个对比,张艺谋37岁就以《红高粱》获得柏林电影节金熊奖,40岁的《大红灯笼高高挂》赢得意大利威尼斯电影节银狮奖,41岁的《秋菊打官司》摘得威尼斯电影节的金狮奖,43岁时以《活着》获得嘎纳电影节评委会大奖,其大燥的名声远非穆萨所能比。

但就这么一个牛人,愣是没有在中国电影界有更大的作为,他后来在中国的生存状态也只是“活着”。

穆萨则不同,他在2002年43岁时,在塞国一个叫Rufisque的地方创办了自己的电影节《穆萨做东》(Moussa invite) ,专门推广非洲人自己拍摄的纪录片。

在此次《蒙特利尔国际黑人电影节》上,穆萨带着四个塞国门徒的纪录片到来,在上映现场,由法国驻魁北克总领馆文化官员出面介绍这位塞内加尔的电影教主。

门徒一 Pape Samb 的纪录片讲述一位海滨妇女每日起早拾贝维持全家生计的故事,她所在的岛屿天主教徒和穆斯林混居,却有着难得的和谐。

门徒二Abdoulaye Cissé,拍摄了一位祖传的乐器制作人 Cissakho 如何制作及演奏 kora 的故事。

门徒三Daro Sarr 跟踪了一位多妻的穆斯林渔民的家庭生活。

门徒四Mamadou Fall讲述了一名快活的打工妹在餐馆做帮工的生活。

有国际声誉的电影人,利用自己的专业技能和社会影响,广收门徒,教他们讲述老百姓朴素的故事,并不比床上做爱更难,但需要热爱生活、关注他人及社会的胸怀,而当今中国连这一点都做不到。老一辈的张艺谋陈凯歌没有,后生贾樟柯也没有,这既是中国政治的问题,也是中国电影人本身的问题。

 





马拉维的小唐吉珂德


非洲东南部小国马拉维是世界最贫穷的国家之一,这里有个名叫威廉姆(William Kamkwamba)的农家男孩子,中学毕业后突发奇想,要在简陋的家居旁边建两个大风车。

是图书馆里的书籍催生了这一奇思妙想,当时威廉姆18岁,到处搜集蓝胶树枝、自行车零件和铁皮,他就要靠这些废物,修建两座高十几米的大风车来为自己所在穷乡僻壤发电。

2006年,马拉维的《每日时报》讲述了威廉姆的故事,不久后大名鼎鼎的《华尔街日报》的专访使他一夜之间名扬四海,美国实业家汤姆(Tom Rielly)来到了这个1987年才出生在马拉维小唐吉珂德身旁,帮他著述、为他规划人生。

威廉姆开始周游欧美各大城市,他在纽约帝国大厦第一次坐上电梯,从摩天大楼 的窗玻璃里探出手去,体验风的感觉。芝加哥的科技馆也有他的发电风车模型。威廉姆回到自己的村庄建了一所新的学校,自己则入读《非洲圣经学院》,后又进了《非洲领导人学院》,现在他是美国东部的常春藤名校《达特茅斯学院》的学生。

2009年10月,他成为CNN热门节目《每日秀》 (The Daily Show)的座上宾。

2011年,他获邀成为谷歌线上科学竞赛活动中(Google Science Fair)演讲嘉宾。

就这么一个奇思妙想玩风车的家伙,活脱脱一个现代版的唐吉珂德,不过与唐吉珂德悲凉的命运不同的是,威廉姆凭着唐吉珂德式的旷世创意,走出了贫瘠的黄土,来到了现代世界。

纽约的独立制片人Ben Nabors在95分钟的记录片里讲述了威廉姆的故事,好莱坞还买下了他的故事版权,日后一个非洲版的唐吉珂德将会问世。





2013年9月21日星期六

价值宪章撕裂魁北克社会





910,加拿大魁北克省政府向议会提交了《魁北克价值宪章》草案,提议禁止教师、医生、法官、检察官、警察和托儿所雇员及政府公职人员佩戴面纱、小圆帽、头巾和大十字架等明显的宗教饰品,如获省议会通过,魁北克将成为北美唯一下此禁令的地区。14日,被激怒的穆斯林、锡克教徒、犹太人和原住民走上街头抗议,加拿大多元文化部长肯尼在推特上推了一张自己戴锡克头巾的照片,并表示为捍卫宗教自由联邦政府不惜与魁北克对簿公堂。一名魁北克当地人向记者表示,受到伤害的不仅是穆斯林和犹太教徒,本地天主教徒也受到伤害。加拿大最大的民调公司莱杰市场(Leger)最新的民调显示,魁北克正面临着1995年第二次独立公投以来最严重的分裂,支持和反对宪章者分别是43%42%

《魁北克价值宪章》诞生的背景是十年来这里爆发了一系列涉及到社会、政治和法律层面且令人困惑不已的事件,2002年一名锡克教学生带一把宗教仪式用刀去公立中学上课,学校禁止后被以限制宗教自由告上了加拿大最高法院,06年他获裁定可以带刀上学,但必须放在布袋中的木鞘里,且不得打开。06年,蒙特利尔的哈希德派犹太人要求YMCA把玻璃换成有色玻璃,以免他们的孩子看到女性健身时的情景,为此他们还支付了换玻璃的费用。07年,到魁北克一家枫糖小屋旅游的穆斯林游客请店主和他们一起祷告,并要求在场的其他40名客人离开,经传媒曝光后轰动一时。07年还发生了一起穆斯林女学生被逐出足球赛场的事件,因为裁判员认定她的头巾会威胁其他球员的安全,她在拒绝摘下头巾后被逐出赛场,最终导致和她一起来魁北克参赛的其他几个安大略省的球队集体退出比赛。

在这些个案发生的同时,魁北克的一些地方政府也有行动。人口只有1340人的小城赫鲁维尔(Hérouxville)在07年宣布为新移民制定了五页纸的《行为准则》,内容包括不得用石块袭击妇女和不得用火活烧女性等,小镇议员还要求政府宣布紧急状态,要求联邦修改宪法和魁北克修改人权法案。当年,省内又有两座小城市制定了类似的规则。当时的自由党省政府组成了有社会学家和哲学家参与的咨询委员会,在17个城市征求公众意见后出炉了一份包含37项建议的报告,但否认魁北克存在真正的危机。2012年魁人党执政后,马华省长开始重新考虑《魁北克价值宪章》。

省民主与公民事务厅厅长贝尔纳-谭维尔为这一极富争议的举动辩护说:“在宁静革命50年后,魁北克政府以这个宪章继续完成宗教和国家政体分离的进程,并认为这是应对现代国家中宗教多元化问题最好方式,强大的公民社会终将超越不同的宗教、道德和文化差异,最终平等相处”。

但魁北克社会并没有理会他的解释。911,国会议员莫朗妮(Maria Mourani)警告价值宪章会“制造系统性歧视,尤其是歧视女性”,这位出身魁北克独立运动魁人政团的议员认为,这个宪章也会伤害魁北克独立运动,独立运动花了数年拉拢少数族裔,《宪章》会使之前的努力付之东流。发表言论的第二天,这位黎巴嫩裔议员就被魁人政团逐出仅有5人的议员团。

加拿大英语省份从魁北克社会的分裂中发现了机会,邻近的安大略省趁机到魁北克招徕医护人员,4家医院公开在魁北克省刊登广告,广告词明说“我们不管你们头上戴什么,只管你们心里有什么”。加拿大西部城市卡尔加里市长纳什(Naheed Nenshi),是北美大城市里首位穆斯林市长,他公开批评魁北克的做法缺乏远见,指宪章不仅损害了加拿大人的伦理道德,也损害了加拿大成功所仰仗的一切,它会使这个国家没有前途 纳什公开鼓动魁北克人搬到卡尔加里去,以逃避正在那里发生的宗教迫害。

怎样的民族主义会支撑中国共产党独裁?

针对英国金融时报专稿《共产党在中国还能存在多久?》,伦敦威斯敏斯特大学国际关系学副教授迪比亚什・阿南德 (Dibyesh Anand) 认为“这篇洋洋洒洒、面面俱到的文章,像很多持共产党即将崩溃观点一样,忽略了中国人的民族主义对共产党制度的支撑作用。(A decent and comprehensive article that however, like most Chinese communist party will collapse proponents, ignores the role of Chinese nationalism in keep the system together.)

共产党独裁政府何时崩溃? 这是西方学者和海外华人普遍关注的问题。但在中国国内,尽管外逃官员用急速的脚步告知世人专制政府崩溃只在转瞬之间,但习惯于言不由衷的中国官方学者在很多时候还在争论另外一个问题:“共产党会不会崩溃”?《共产党在中国还能存在多久?》一文作者采访的中央党校教授Chen Shu 就是这样,她认为“中国危机论纯属西方理论”。

再看看所谓中国人的民族主义生存的土壤:贫富分化严重、社会矛盾激烈对立、无官不贪为富不仁、巨额资金外逃、官员纷纷成为裸官,这样的社会里会出现什么样的民族主义,完全在于用什么样的资讯去催生它。如果中国的民族主义把民族堕落归咎于共产党,视其为民族罪人加以推翻,就不会产生如比亚什教授说的那样民族主义支撑共产党政权的局面。

附:

共产党在中国还能存在多久?


How long can the Communist party survive in China?


2013-09-20
By Jamil Anderlini

As the economy slows and middle-class discontent grows, it is the question that’s now being asked not only outside but inside the country. Even at the Central Party School there is talk of the unthinkable: the collapse of Chinese communism

Tucked away between China’s top spy school and the ancient imperial summer palace in the west of Beijing lies the only place in the country where the demise of the ruling Communist party can be openly debated without fear of reprisal. But this leafy address is not home to some US-funded liberal think-tank or an underground dissident cell. It is the campus of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the elite training academy for the country’s autocratic leaders that is described in official propaganda as a “furnace to foster the spirit of party members”.

The Central Party School was established in 1933 to indoctrinate cadres in Marxism, Leninism and, later, Mao Zedong Thought, and past headmasters have included Mao himself, recently anointed president Xi Jinping and his predecessor Hu Jintao. In keeping with some of the momentous changes that have occurred in Chinese society, the curriculum has been radically revised in recent years. Students still steep themselves in the wisdom of Das Kapital and “Deng Xiaoping Theory” but they are also taught classes in economics, law, religion, military affairs and western political thought. As well as watching anti-corruption documentaries and participating in revolutionary singalongs, the mid-level and high-ranking party cadres who make up the student body are given lessons in opera appreciation and diplomatic etiquette.

A more significant change for an institution founded to enforce ideological purity is its relatively new role as an intellectual free-fire zone, where almost nothing is off-limits for discussion. “We just had a seminar with a big group of very influential party members and they were asking us how long we think the party will be in charge and what we have planned for when it collapses,” says one Party School professor who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak to foreign media. “To be honest, this is a question that everyone in China is asking but I’m afraid it is very difficult to answer.”

How long the heirs to Mao’s 1949 revolution can hang on to power has been a perennial question since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Many dire predictions of imminent collapse have come and gone but the party has endured and even thrived, especially since it opened its ranks to capitalists for the first time a decade ago. These days the revolutionary party of the proletariat is probably best described as the world’s largest chamber of commerce and membership is the best way for businesspeople to network and clinch lucrative contracts.

In less than five years the Chinese Communist party will challenge the Soviet Union (69 or 74 years in power depending on how you count it) and Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (71 years until 2000) for the longest unbroken rule by any political party. Modernisation theory holds that authoritarian systems tend to democratise as incomes rise, that the creation of a large middle class hastens the process and that economic slowdown following a long period of rapid growth makes that transition more likely. Serious and worsening inequality coupled with high levels of corruption can add to the impetus for change.

All these factors now exist in China but some political ­theorists, including many at the Central Party School, argue that the country is culturally and politically exceptional and the wave of authoritarian collapse still surging through the Arab world will never reach Chinese shores. Others, including influential Chinese intellectuals, distinguished western sinologists and even liberal-minded senior party members, believe these are the final days of the Communist era and the party will be washed away if it does not launch serious political reforms soon.

“One thousand autumns and 10,000 generations”

Chen Shu is a professor of party history, “party-building” and Mao Zedong Thought at the Central Party School and his views reflect orthodox thinking within the upper echelons of the party. For all the intellectual ferment and free exchange of ideas that goes on inside the campus walls foreigners are still forbidden from entering without special permission, a rule that harks back to when the school’s very existence was a state secret. Chen has graciously agreed to meet the FT in a tea house across the road from the Summer Palace but he is impatient when asked what he thinks the future holds for the party.

“Those theories about a China crisis or China collapse are all completely western,” he says, in a tone that makes clear ­“western” is pejorative. “The more pressure placed on Chinese culture and the Communist party, the more united and cohesive they become and the more capable they are of producing miracles.”

Lin Zhe is a Central Party School professor who has spent the past two decades researching how the party tackles corruption in its ranks. At the same tea house she cheerfully predicts the party will celebrate its centenary in power in 2049 and says that it is preparing, as the Chinese saying goes, to rule for “one ­thousand autumns and 10,000 generations”. But both Lin and Chen also caution that the party’s legitimacy is threatened by endemic corruption that has spread to every level in the system. “This problem is very dangerous and, as China’s top leaders have said, it could lead to the demise of the party and the demise of the nation,” Lin says.

Authoritarian resilience

In his 1992 book, The End of History and The Last Man, Francis Fukuyama argued that western liberal democracy represents the final form of human government and the endpoint of ideological evolution. His argument was boosted by the dramatic expansion of democracy during the 20th century. In 1900, no nation in the world had competitive multi-party politics with universal suffrage and only about 12 per cent of humanity lived under a form of government that could be regarded as somewhat democratic, according to the American NGO Freedom House. By the dawn of the 21st century, 120 of the world’s 192 internationally recognised countries were governed by electoral democracies and 60 per cent of the world’s population lived under a democratically elected leadership.

Fukuyama, now a senior fellow at Stanford University, says he is convinced that China will follow the path of most other countries, probably through a gradual liberalisation that eventually yields democracy. But if that does not happen, he says popular uprisings of the kind seen in the Arab spring are also possible.

“China’s political model is just not sustainable because of the rising middle class – the same force that has driven democracy everywhere,” he says. “The new generation in China is very different from the one that left the land and drove the first wave of industrialisation – they’re much better educated and much richer and they have new demands, demands like clean air, clean water, safe food and other issues that can’t just be solved by fast economic growth.”

Estimates of the size of China’s middle class vary depending on the definition used but one thing is certain: it was virtually non-existent two decades ago and is now growing exponentially. The consultancy McKinsey says that what it calls the “upper middle class” – a segment of the population with annual household incomes of between $17,350 and $37,500 – accounted for 14 per cent of urban Chinese households last year but will account for 54 per cent of households in less than a decade.

China has often been held up as evidence to debunk Fukuyama’s theory, with critics arguing that the party’s process of constant reinvention is far more responsive to the needs and demands of its subjects than traditional authoritarian systems. Until a few years ago, David Shambaugh, director of the China Policy Program at George Washington University and a leading expert on China’s political system, was a strong proponent of this view. But he has changed his mind and now believes that the party is in a state of decline that echoes the dying days of Chinese dynasties throughout history.

The signs include a hollow state ideology that society does not believe in but ritualistically feigns compliance with, worsening corruption, failure to provide the public with adequate social welfare and a pervasive public sense of insecurity and frustration. Other signs include increasing social and ethnic unrest, elite factionalism, over-taxation with the proceeds mostly going into officials’ pockets, serious and worsening income inequality and no reliable rule of law.

Shambaugh says a powerful indicator of just how little faith exists in the system is the number of wealthy Chinese elites with offshore assets and property, offshore bank accounts and children studying in western universities.

“These individuals are ready to bolt at a moment’s notice, as soon as the political system is in its endgame – but they will remain in China in order to extract every last Renminbi possible until that time,” he says. “Their hedging behaviour speaks volumes about the fragile stability of the party state in China today.”

The mummy in the crystal coffin

Hanging directly above Tiananmen – “the gate of heavenly peace” – at the south entrance of the Forbidden City, a giant portrait of Mao Zedong stares out across the eponymous square to the imposing mausoleum where his mummified corpse lies draped in a Communist flag. Every morning of the week except Monday, long lines of Chinese tourists snake across the square as they wait for a glimpse of the great helmsman in his crystal sarcophagus.

A decade ago it was common to witness loud emotional outbursts and swooning pilgrims dropping to their knees in the presence of China’s dead “red emperor”. But on a recent weekday, the dominant sentiment among onlookers seemed to be indifference or mild disappointment. “I waited in line for an hour for that?” said one middle-aged man with a regional Chinese accent. “I’m pretty sure that was just a wax dummy; what a waste of time.”

This subtle change in attitudes over the past decade represents a deeper shift in Chinese society that is hard to quantify but increasingly obvious. “The party’s ideological foundation is really very hollow,” says Perry Link, a professor at the University of California Riverside and one of the most well-respected western experts on China. “People join the party these days to make connections and get ahead rather than for any kind of socialist ideals.”

Probably the most important stimulus for heightened cynicism and questioning of authority has been the rise of mass internet communication. China’s online censorship regime is one of the most restrictive in the world, with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and countless other online sites and services blocked because of the party’s fear that these could be used to organise political opposition. But an explosion of government-controlled domestic alternatives, in particular the Twitter-like “Weibo” microblogging sites, has still allowed people to partly circumvent party control of public discourse in a way that has never been possible before.

As the Chinese economy slows and anger grows at a host of problems stemming from a lack of political inclusion, it is this loss of control over thoughts, ideas and messages that the party really worries about.

“Seven things that cannot be spoken of”

Shen Zhihua is a professor at East China Normal University who specialises in the Soviet Union and is the son of People’s Liberation Army officers who served alongside Mao in the revolution. He spent two years in prison in the early 1980s after he was falsely accused of spying for the CIA. In September 2009, Shen was among a small group of trusted scholars summoned by former Chinese president Jiang Zemin to discuss the fall of the Soviet Union. “Gorbachev betrayed the revolution,” Jiang told the group as he asked them to identify the specific elements that led to the Soviet collapse.

Jiang’s view is the accepted orthodoxy among China’s leaders including president Xi Jinping, according to Shen. In a speech to party members soon after he was made head of the party and military late last year, Xi said that the Soviet empire had crumbled “because nobody was man enough to stand up and resist”.

“I cannot over-emphasise enough the fact that the CCP [Chinese Communist party] ­leadership continues to live under the Soviet shadow – they are hyper-conscious of the reforms Gorbachev undertook and absolutely refuse to go down that path,” says Shambaugh from George Washington University.

Xi’s display of machismo fits with the more assertive stance he has taken on the international stage as China continues to grow into its role as the world’s “second superpower”. But as the new administration flexes its muscles abroad, most prominently in simmering territorial disputes with neighbours to the east, south and west, it paradoxically appears ever more anxious and uncertain at home.

“China has a lot more power militarily, diplomatically and economically than it did in the past and it can tell countries like the UK and US to back off in a way it couldn’t before,” says Prof Link. “But for all this new external power they seem a lot more fragile at home, a lot more concerned about how long they can stay on top of this bubbling cauldron.”

Since his ascension, Xi has presided over a series of harsh crackdowns on dissidents, free speech, ethnic separatists and civil society and has shown absolutely no sign that he is the covert political reformer that some had hoped. “Document Number Nine”, a secret memo that was distributed to cadres in April and leaked through overseas Chinese media, shows how worried the new leadership is about perceived threats to party rule. “Western hostile forces and domestic dissidents are constantly infiltrating the ideological sphere,” the document says. “In order to preserve the party’s grip on power, attention should be paid to the ­mistaken ways of thinking, positions and actions.”

According to the document, the party is engaged in a “fierce” struggle involving seven grave threats that are now referred to in Chinese academic circles as the “seven things that cannot be spoken of”. First on the list is “western constitutional ­democracy” followed by other taboos such as advocating human rights, an independent judiciary, media independence and criticism of the party’s past.

“Many people are extremely disappointed by [Xi’s] words and his actions,” says Shen Zhihua. “But there are some who defend him and say once he has consolidated his power and stabilised the political situation then he will push through reforms.” By this logic, Xi’s authoritarian lurch is more tactical than strategic, a way of rallying the party faithful for the tough reform agenda ahead.

“The more pessimistic, and frankly more realistic, interpretation is that Xi has no fresh ideas so he just quotes Mao and tries to hold on tight to power,” says one reformist “princeling” son of a former senior Chinese leader, who knows Xi well but asked not to be named for fear of political repercussions. “If that is the case, then China has no hope and eventually the anger in society will explode into a popular uprising.”

No more miracles?

In the three decades since Deng Xiaoping launched market-­oriented reform and began opening China to the world, the ­country’s economy has grown by an average of about 10 per cent a year. This spectacular performance has lifted hundreds of ­millions of people out of poverty and led some to argue that China’s “market Leninism” has defied the theory that societies democratise as they get richer. But according to Liu Yu, an ­associate professor of political science at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and Chen Dingding from the University of Macau, ­writing in The Washington Quarterly last year, “those who argue for Chinese exceptionalism overlook the fact that it is too early to tell whether China has proved or disproved modernisation theory.”

China’s per capita GDP was about $9,200 in purchasing power terms in 2012 but, according to Liu and Chen, this has not yet reached the level where countries with similar cultural and ­historical backgrounds began transitioning to democracy. In 1988, democratising South Korea and Taiwan had per capita purchasing power GDP of $12,221 and $14,584 respectively (in 2010 dollar terms), according to Liu and Chen. The levels for the Soviet Union and Hungary in 1989, as they began their political transitions, were $16,976 and $11,257 respectively (2010 dollars).

These numbers suggest continued rapid economic growth in China will put it on the cusp of its own political transformation within just a couple of years. By this logic, the party’s main source of legitimacy since abandoning Maoism – its ability to provide rapid growth and rising living standards – is the very thing that will eventually lead to its loss of absolute political control.

But there are now strong signs that China’s investment-heavy, export-oriented, state-dominated economic model is running out of steam and that growth could slow more sharply than Beijing expects. China’s nominal year-on-year GDP growth rate has slowed from 17 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011 to about 8 per cent in the second quarter of this year and last year’s growth was the slowest in 13 years. Most economists expect the pace to moderate further over the next few years.

By most measures, Communist China now has one of the most unequal societies on earth, with most of the wealth concentrated in the hands of a small, politically connected elite. If the current slowdown were to morph into an economic crisis or trigger widespread unemployment, most analysts believe the government would quickly face some sort of popular uprising. “In the past two centuries, the last 30 years has been the only extended period without war, famine or mass persecution, a period in which everyone’s lives have been getting better and better,” says Mao Yushi, the 84-year-old economist regarded as the godfather of modern Chinese macroeconomics. “The legitimacy of the regime comes mainly from the success of economic reform but the big problem is that expectations are now very high.”

The old economist was purged repeatedly during the Maoist era. He spent 20 years on and off doing hard labour in the country­side and enduring beatings and humiliation. After his political rehabilitation he went on, in 1993, to found the Unirule Institute, an ­independent economic think-tank, and he remains highly influential among reformers within the party and government.

Mao predicts China will face an “unavoidable” financial crisis in the next one to three years thanks to a huge build-up of bad debt and an enormous property bubble but he thinks this could in turn push the country toward democracy. “I think a financial crisis could actually be good for China as it would force the government to implement economic and ­political reforms,” Mao says. “That is the best-case scenario but the worst case would be a violent uprising followed by a long period of unrest and ­economic decline, like we see in Egypt.”

The negative example of Egypt is constantly invoked these days by both Chinese and western political analysts. Like the former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Communist party has been highly successful at squashing any organisational force in society before it can take root.

“The current Chinese system will definitely collapse at some point – it could be months, years or decades but when it collapses everyone will say of course it was bound to happen,” says Prof Link. “The question that really worries me is what will come next. The party has wiped out any group it doesn’t control or which doesn’t see the world like it does and there is nothing to take its place.”

The Olympic curse

It is surely just a cute coincidence of history that no authoritarian regime except Mexico’s has lasted more than a decade after hosting a modern Olympic games – think Berlin in 1936, Moscow in 1980, Sarajevo in 1984 and Seoul in 1988. Five years from now the Chinese Communist party, which saw the 2008 Beijing games as its “coming out party” on the world stage, may not only have defied this Olympic curse but also surpassed the life cycle of the Soviet Union and helped debunk democratisation theory.

But even the party’s most ardent defenders concede that China’s leaders cannot rule indefinitely without addressing the demands for political inclusion from a growing middle class that cares more about clean air, clean water, clean government and safe food than GDP growth rates.

After three decades of stellar economic expansion, China’s growth model is starting to run out of steam and if it were to face an abrupt slowdown the party would lose its most convincing source of legitimacy. If the new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, were to seize the initiative and launch meaningful political reforms then China might follow the example of Taiwan and South Korea in the late 1980s and 1990s and orchestrate a peaceful transition to a more pluralistic and democratic system.

On the verdant campus of the Central Party School, some professors are already studying how such a feat could be achieved. But so far Xi has shown no inclination to do anything except tighten the party’s grip on power and punish those who question perpetual one-party rule.

Many people inside and outside the party worry that by trying to suppress growing popular discontent using the same old tools of repression, the new administration may wake up one day to find the masses in the streets. “Xi Jinping and this administration provide the last chance for China to implement a social transformation [to a more liberal political system] that comes from within the party and within the system,” says Shen Zhihua. “Without these reforms there will certainly be a social explosion.”

2013年9月20日星期五

寄语西藏武警政委唐晓:山水画家眼中要有人


                                                高原牧情
                                                                     庐山幽居


2013年9月16日,唐晓被任命为武警西藏总队政委,有评论说是为了强化反恐和抗暴。从唐晓的经历看,他并没有直接参与重大的维稳或抗暴活动的经验,这位镇暴部队的政工干部,却长期以山水画家闻名,早在九零年代担任广东武警总队政治部主任时,唐晓大校就加入了广东省美术家协会和中国美术家协会,2009年调任江西武警政委后,唐晓将军更成为江西美协名誉主席,今年五月,江西省美术馆还为他和其他三人举办了国画精品联展。唐晓以画山水、花鸟见长,作品多次参加中国军队和武警系统的美展,并多次获奖。中国的《大书画》艺术家平台网站对其作品收藏潜力的评语是“值得收藏,真品难求”。

想必赴拉萨就任的唐晓,很快也会挂上西藏美协名誉主席的头衔,在西藏刮起一股中国国画风。 中国画界对唐晓及其作品有诸多评论和解读,其中不乏如“在唐晓的笔下,万物有灵”这类褒奖之词,就此希望画家唐晓统领中共在西藏的镇压机器武警西藏总队之后,多做灵性之举,爱惜西藏的山水,保护好西藏的人民,作为山水画家,眼中不仅要有山水,更要有人。

以下画评文字透露出一些关于唐晓的矛盾信息:他的官方简历称出生于1958年,重庆人。但中国美术报称他是1959年11月生人,山西太原人。几篇评论文章都透露出,他最初在四川工作,后赴北京,再调任广东武警 。

附三篇中国大陆官媒对唐晓的画评文章

之一:中国美术报   2013.7.7

唐晓艺术作品简介

唐晓,男,1959年11月生,山西太原人,1978年12月参加工作,硕士学位。中国美术家协会会员、江西省美术家协会名誉主席,现任武警江西省总队政治委员(少将),第十二届全国人大代表。

擅长国画人物画,兼善花鸟、山水画。其作品多次入选全国、全军及武警部队等重大美术展览,并屡次获奖;个人艺术成就被辑入《中国美术家词典》、《中国名人词典》等重要辞典,多幅作品入编十余部国家级专业画集;并多次在省美协、中国美术馆举办个人画展;作品被军内外多家艺术场馆及艺术爱好者收藏,具有较高的艺术价值与艺术成就。

作为江西省美协名誉主席,唐晓时刻心系着中国传统文化艺术的传承与发展。他不仅是一位富有绘画天赋的艺术家,更可贵的是,他始终保持着对社会、对文化、对艺术的强烈关注,在更好地践行艺术家社会责任的同时,不断致力于推动江西本土艺术的蓬勃发展。

唐晓是一个军人,一位具有较高艺术造诣、德艺双馨的将军书画家。他出生于美丽山城重庆,从小与秀美山川为伴,儿时就萌发了书画的灵慧与活力,开始在“山川浑厚、草木华滋”般艺术境界中的执著探索。

 1978年投身军营,军人的使命使他碾转服役在祖国的四川、北京、广东、江西,同时也开阔了这位艺术行者的视野和思路,他虑怀向学,遍访名家,在“师造化、得心源、纳万境”中逐渐自成一格,追求一种“目不见绢素,手不知笔墨”的自由状态,有了“山川由心造,法度去法规”的个性特色。从他的山水画中,我们可以看到既有小桥流水的灵动,又有大漠戈壁的苍雄,既有江南水乡的秀美,也有北方山河的壮阔,展现了他个性化的主体意识,又呈现了一个画家不断创新,不懈追求的精神与足迹。

 2009年调任江西工作,被推举为江西省美协名誉主席,在新的责任面前,他理解的担当就是要不断致力于美术创作与研究,探索秀美江西丰富的文化内涵,努力推动全省及国家美术事业的创新发展,不懈地贡献出他的力量。道代代传,法代代破,由中国传统文化派生出来的笔墨艺术,它的未来也永远不会穷尽。







之二:解放军画报  2013年6月

蕴含正能量的艺术-----解读唐晓和他中国画作品                                       作者:钱海源

            笃信“艺术来源于生活”的画家唐晓出生于重庆,深受巴渝文化滋养与熏陶。他13岁开始学画,青年时代从戎习武,先后任职辗转于四川、北京、广东和江西。唐晓喜欢亲近大自然的万物生灵,其深厚的生活积累,是他能不断创作出优秀山水和花鸟画作品的艺术灵感和源泉。

       唐晓的山水画作品,写景用笔用墨讲究,巧妙地做到了墨分五色,笔墨的干湿浓淡,服从于抒写胸中逸气,体现了个人的心智和胸怀。在唐晓的《庐山之恋》的佳作中,云雾蒸腾的高山峻岭,行驶于江面的水舟,亭榭藏于缘茵葱茏的山林间,画面洋溢着空灵飘逸,如梦幻朦胧的美感。墨色干湿润泽,且层次分明,行笔缜密,皴擦与渲染并用,艺术风格清新,生动再现了江南山水的空灵秀润与清新淡远的独特魅力。

       唐晓的写意花鸟画以写意为主,其笔墨风采,足以体现画家的人格魅力和精神气质。唐晓的大写意花鸟画,有徐渭、八大山人和齐白石的笔墨气势与精神,随性率真苍劲老辣。总之,在唐晓的笔下,万物有灵,无论是山水、草木还是花鸟,都是作为画家热爱自然万物,传情达意的载体,表达画家真诚和丰富的情感。

       观赏唐晓的山水画,给我留下深刻印象的有二:其一,唐晓对中国古代优秀传统山水画技法和精髓要素把握得体到位。我们从唐晓山水画作中对山、石、树、以及对水、云、气和烟岚的描绘笔墨技法中,可以看到他对中国传统山水画技法的掌握非常娴熟。其二,唐晓以哲学思辨的心智,思古而不泥古不化。精于哲思的唐晓,非常注意在山水画创作的艺术实践中,灵活地用中国画传统笔墨,描绘他所热爱,所熟悉,所亲近的,有新时代精神的祖国大好河山和自然美景。与古代山水画不同的是,唐晓的山水画没有古代画家的那种孤独和寂寞感,而具有鲜活的时代生活气息,能给人一种积极向上之感。


之三:广州新快报
解读唐晓画作——他的山水画没有孤独感,具有积极鲜活的生活气息
日期:[2013-06-27]  版次:[B12]   版名:[文化新闻]

笃信“艺术来源于生活”的画家唐晓出生于重庆,深受巴渝文化滋养与熏陶。他13岁开始学画,青年时代从戎习武,先后任职辗转于四川、北京、广东和江西。唐晓喜欢亲近大自然的万物生灵,深厚的生活积累,是他能不断创作出优秀山水和花鸟画作品的艺术灵感和源泉。

唐晓的山水画作品,写景用笔用墨讲究,巧妙地做到了墨分五色,笔墨的干湿浓淡,服从于抒写胸中逸气,体现了个人的心智和胸怀。在唐晓的《庐山之恋》佳作中,云雾蒸腾的高山峻岭,行驶于江面的水舟,亭榭藏于绿茵葱茏的山林间,画面洋溢着空灵飘逸,如梦幻朦胧的美感。墨色干湿润泽,且层次分明,行笔缜密,皴擦与渲染并用,艺术风格清新,生动再现了江南山水的空灵秀润与清新淡远的独特魅力。

美术师、评论家钱海源在谈到唐晓山水画印象时说:其一,唐晓对中国古代优秀传统山水画技法和精髓要素把握得体到位,从唐晓山水画作中对山、石、树以及对水、云、气和烟岚的描绘笔墨技法中,可以看到他对中国传统山水画技法的掌握非常娴熟。其二,唐晓以哲学思辨的心智,思古而不泥古不化。精于哲思的唐晓,非常注意在山水画创作的艺术实践中,灵活地用中国画传统笔墨,描绘他所热爱,所熟悉,所亲近的自然美景。

在唐晓的笔下,万物有灵,无论是山水、草木还是花鸟,都是传情达意的载体。与古代山水画不同的是,唐晓的山水画没有孤独和寂寞感,而具有鲜活的时代生活气息,给人一种积极向上之感。

2013年9月19日星期四

黑色的力量


这个世界存在两个蒙特利尔。

一个是华人的蒙特利尔,那里不见天日霉气十足、形象猥琐,没有生命色彩。黄色的食人魔把所经之处弄成一幅鬼魅的模样,传出的故事仿佛都来自地狱,无一不带有鬼哭狼嚎的味道。其间作恶小鬼暂且不提,仅谈一谈近几个月发生的两起大事:由一帮老华人模仿其它地方弄起来、后由新华人接手的国际龙舟赛,风雨飘摇十多年后终因拖欠场租多年宣告破产,偃旗息鼓了事,今年开始,正式由魁北克洋人操办这一纯东方味的水上嘉年华;同样潦倒的还有华人文化宫,难产多年经魁北克多级政府大力经援面世后,几年里数度濒临夭折,踉跄走到今天账目不清、债台高筑、官司缠身的绝境,已无人愿意出手支撑它一把, 可怜这凝聚了所谓华人文化精髓的华人文化宫,被众华人百般猥亵糟蹋之后,再被这猥琐的人群唾弃。

在同一个地方还存在着另一个蒙特利尔:它如同沐浴朝阳的青年,生机勃发,肌肤间处处透出生命力,十足是个心想事成的地方。用心观察此类例子比比皆是,不信的话去阅读一下太阳马戏团的历史。

且不谈主流人群,一起去看看另一个移民群体,一个经常被很多中国人以病态的眼光瞧不起的黑人群体,看看蒙特利尔的黑人做了些什么傲人的事情。

1979年生于海地首都太子港的 Fabienne Colas,21岁时当选海地小姐,几年前移民加拿大蒙特利尔后,生命力勃发,几年间仅在蒙特利尔就一手创立了五个与黑人有关的节日,且一个赛一个地兴旺:蒙特利尔国际黑人电影节(2005)(Festival International du Film Black de Montréal)、疯狂海地(2007)(Festival Haïti en Folie à Montréal)、黑人幽默节(2009)(Festival Ririri )、国际舞蹈节(2009)(Festival Dansomania)和 黑人历史月(2012)(Événement Fondu au Noir)。

现在她又进军加拿大第一大城市多伦多,创立了多伦多国际黑人电影节(2013),2009年,她还把魁北克的艺术奇葩电影艺术带回海地,搞了一个 海地魁北克电影节(Festival du Film Québécois en Haïti)。

除此之外,她还设立了以自己的名字命名的基金会 Fabienne Colas,经营着一家影视制作公司 Zaza Production。

2013年9月18日,是第九届蒙特利尔国际黑人电影节开幕的日子,这一次,Fabienne Colas 从35个国家引来了100部电影,请好莱坞 67岁的黑人大明星丹尼·格洛弗 (Danny Lebern Glover)为十二天的电影节揭幕,他诗情画意的新作《追逐莎士比亚》不仅是开幕电影,也是加拿大首映。

主演过100多部影视作品的丹尼·格洛弗不仅是好莱坞巨星,也是十分具有影响力的社会活动家。 他是伊拉克战争的反对者,2011年以联合国儿童基金会亲善大使的身份出访古巴,他长期以来参与和支持工会运动,2010年,他在马里兰州的一次支持工会罢工的活动中,因逾越警戒线被捕,他还是已故的委内瑞拉总统查韦斯的朋友加兄弟,把查韦斯誉为他主演过的曼德拉似的伟大人物。

昨晚,在世界各大媒体和加拿大主流媒体的聚焦下,第九届蒙特利尔国际黑人电影节授予丹尼·格洛弗“人道精神奖”(Humanitarian Award)。

丹尼·格洛弗在9月18日被People With Money列为世界排名头号的高报酬演员,从2012年8月到2013年8月,他赚足了9600万美金。《电影时代》网站还有一个把丹尼·格洛弗与成龙的票房进行比较的网页:(http://www.the-movie-times.com/thrsdir/ActorVS.cgi?jchan+dglover)。

其实票房之外,他们之间更需要比较的,是各自对当今世界和所处社会进步的努力及作用。在社会不公面前,丹尼·格洛弗表现了巨大的人格力量,不惜被捕也要支持弱者,而几个月前还在多伦多装着不知道艾未未是谁的成龙面对社会极度不公、贫富矛盾激化的中国,露出了世故滑头、在权贵面前尽力躲闪的模样。

伴随蒙特利尔国际黑人电影节的,是 Fabienne Colas 和 丹尼·格洛弗带来的黑色力量,他们不仅告知世间有两个蒙特利尔,也让人明白世间存在着两种完全不同的族群。









2013年9月17日星期二

昨日佛教徒,今日冷枪手

昨天在美国首都华盛顿海军工厂持枪袭击致12人死亡的埃伦·阿莱克希斯(Aaron Alexis),不仅是一名退役的海军士兵,还曾是一名温和的佛教徒。

据在他家乡德克萨斯州的福特沃思镇开泰餐的Kristi Suthamtewakul 回忆,埃伦·阿莱克希斯当兵前曾在餐馆做跑堂和送外卖,那时他自学了泰语,并在一家泰庙里用泰语唱经,他的脖子上常挂着一尊金色的护身佛像。

但谁会知道,他日后会在佛像下面的口袋里,藏了一支用于屠杀的手枪,又有谁会料到他会在34岁时因工资纠纷而大开杀戒,酿下轰动世界的惨剧。




2013年9月15日星期日

中国龙在喜马拉雅山麓的尼泊尔筑巢

中国将在尼泊尔的博克拉建立领事馆,引起印度高度警觉,印度快报称中国将利用它来支持巴基斯坦的恐怖组织,并打压在那里的四个藏人难民接待站。

中国称博克拉是中国游客来尼的热门城市,离奇特旺和蓝毗尼等其他旅游地点也比较近。


China's mission Pokhara sets alarm bells ringing

By Devirupa Mitra - NEW DELHI

Published: 15th Sep 2013 08:11:55 AM

Nepal is India’s national security bull in the China shop. China has asked permission from Nepal to set up a consulate in critically situated Pokhara, alarming New Delhi. The dragon has been slowly making the Himalayan kingdom its lair, and its presence in southern Nepal has serious strategic implications for India. The Pokhara consulate is ostensibly reciprocal to a proposed Nepali consulate in Guangzhou.


The proposal worries Indian security agencies. In recent months, the Pokhara region has been an important theatre of Indian counter-terrorism operations, scoring significant successes such as the arrest of terrorist bomb-maker Abdul Karim Tunda and Indian Mujahidden co-founder Yasin Bhatkal. Agencies feel that Chinese consolidation would provide protective cover for Pakistani terror groups targeting India.

China has also escalated its presence in the region. Confucius institutes, the official vehicles to promote Chinese language and culture are scattered all around Nepal. At all district headquarters, there are friendship societies and associations, which are manned by local businessmen with trade links to China. Meanwhile, India has also proposed new consulates in the Madhesh region in Nepalganj and Biratganj, but Nepal’s delicate current political situation has kept them on hold for the time being.

China’s primary concern in Nepal is to monitor suppress activities of Tibetan refugees. Pokhara is a major transit hub for Tibetans to reach India; four Tibetan refugee camps are located around the city. China is vying with India at the PR level, too. After initially nurturing close ties with the Nepalese monarchy and home ministry, Nepali politicians of all hues are invited to Beijing, much like invitations to New Delhi in recent years.

However, diplomatic sources say China is careful to calibrate its public statements, aware of Indian discomfort at their growing presence. Indian observers also believe that China is increasing its tentacles in Nepal to mainly counter the United States, which is active in the region. Recently, the US military and Nepalese army chartered an understanding on disaster response, which would increase the presence of US army personnel and aid officials in the country—a sore point in Beijing, nervous about US military personnel with their heavy-lifting equipment, operating close to their restive province.

Sources said the concerns of the central intelligence agencies about the spreading presence of China in Pokhara and its surrounding environs, close to the Indo-Nepal border, have been transmitted to the higher echelons of the government, including the prime minister’s office.
It will be difficult for Nepal to fob off Beijing for too long once a new government is in place after Constituent Assembly elections take place in November —especially since Nepal already has two consulates in Hong Kong and Lhasa.

A Chinese engineering firm had won the tender for an international airport in Pokhara last year. But, despite having a deadline for completing an agreement by August this year, it seems to have run into rough weather over increasing cost revisions.

习近平去中亚找石油,加拿大怎么办?



中国国家主席习近平访问中亚四国并连连签下能源买单,令世人发现中国正试图把旧时的丝绸之路变成明日的能源之路,在动荡的中东地区之外,中国正在相邻的国家寻找着更深层次能源供应,加拿大媒体惋惜在加拿大犹豫不决时,中国已深入中亚腹地。加拿大人的反应并不仅仅流于言论,产油大省阿尔伯塔省省长艾莉森雷德福正率团对中国进行为期两周的访问,99在北京举行的“中国-加拿大投资政策”高层论坛上,加拿大驻中国大使赵朴更表示在原住民的法律诉讼被驳回之后,一年前签署的以能源为主导的加中双边投资保护协定即将生效。

在刚刚结束的习近平对中亚四国的能源之旅中,中国以50亿美元购买哈萨克斯坦卡沙干油田8.33%的股份,中国还贷款30亿美元用于卡沙干油田的二期开发,中石油承建的世界第二大单体气田、土库曼斯坦“复兴”气田一期工程也已竣工投产。中国还将投资14亿美元将土库曼斯坦至中国的天然气管道延伸至吉尔吉斯坦。

在向中国出售能源的国际竞争中,中亚国家正成为加拿大的对手。在《中国能源政策(2012)》白皮书中,中国把哈萨克斯坦列为海外原油供应的重点来源地,也对有望成为国际重要能源输出国的加拿大重点着墨。在未来的中国能源战略中,中东是关键,非洲是热点,加拿大是潜在新伙伴。而习近平今次访问中亚四国,让加拿大感受到了危机。

从石油储量上看,加拿大油砂资源丰富,仅阿尔伯塔省已探明的油砂和重油储量就达1.7万亿桶,位居世界第三,该省石油日产量达160万桶,而习近平刚刚到访的哈萨克斯坦卡沙干大油田到2015年初的日产量也只有37万桶。但正如2012年《中国能源政策》白皮书中所指,加拿大要成为中国重要的能源供应源还存在诸多风险,首当其冲就是运输问题,2012年的前十个月,经海运直接从加拿大进口的原油仅占中国总进口量的0.24%

此次雷德福省长的中国之行,重点是要吸引中国投资,而这与联邦限制政策相抵触。加拿大《米其林》月刊撰文分析,雷德福省长可能会在愤怒的情绪中准备其行程,因为加拿大联邦政府的新政策似乎更希望中国国有企业呆在中国境内。在去年中海油收购尼克森案时,渥太华特别强调本案获批准属特例,并出台了关于外国国有企业收购的限制规定,内容包括资产超过10亿加元的民营企业和资产超过3.3亿加元的国有企业收购案须经联邦政府审批,以确保交易能够给加拿大带来“净收益”。外国国有企业收购加拿大油砂企业更被明示只有在“特例情况”下才会给予批准,并规定外国投资者将不得持有加拿大油砂企业的多数股权。虽然阿尔伯塔省希望联邦政府能明确这一限制政策的操作细节,但一直未能如愿。

面对缺乏透明度的联邦政策,雷德福希望中国企业倾听她的声音,她对《卡尔加里先驱报》表示:“如果联邦此刻还不澄清,我们就按自己的日程表来吸引外资。”在911大连达沃斯论坛上,雷德福省长强调“密切关注中国对外投资的动向,非常高兴吸引中国的投资”。

《米其林》月刊预测雷德福的高调会很快使联邦政府的模糊政策受到考验。果不其然,中国第四大石油勘探企业陕西延长国际石油在94就宣布以2.32亿加元收购总部位于阿尔伯塔的能源企业(Novus Energy Inc.)全部已发行股份,有分析认为这一收购案预示着中国国企重新回到加拿大能源领域。

八月底,加拿大能源专家斯蒂凡艾瓦特(Stephen Ewart)在《卡尔加里先驱报》发表专栏文章,认为一年前开始升温的关于中国控制加拿大油砂的言论,使哈珀政府采取限制措施并影响了中国在加拿大的投资,现在看来对中国共产党企图篡夺加拿大自然资源主权的担忧可能是被夸大了。

2013年9月14日星期六

智利的碎片



今年九一一前后,在加拿大的智利流亡者举办了《智利---1973至2013》纪录片展映活动。第一代流亡者 Marilu Mallet、Patricio Henriquez、Leopoldo Gutierez 和出生在加拿大的流亡者后代 Eduardo Menz 带来了各自的影片。

Marilu Mallet 的父亲是阿连德时期的教育部长,当她从流亡地蒙特利尔回到阔别三十年的故乡,走访故旧时,对军事独裁后女性在争取民主的努力中所作所为产生了兴趣,她在52分钟的纪录片《孤独的舞者》(la cueca sola)里,记录了五位智利妇女,包括儿时的伙伴,阿连德总统的女儿伊莎贝拉和她在Alliance Francaise 的法语教师Monica。通过她们的讲述及现场镜头,寻找历史真相。

1977年生于加拿大并在康克迪亚大学学习电影制作的Eduardo Menz,2005年拍摄了12分钟的短片《皮诺切特的女人们》(las mujeres de Pinochet),把在1986年7月2日因街头抗议而被军队纵火焚烧的女大学生Carmen Gloria Quintana Arancibia 的讲述声由小到大不停地播放,配上的画面,却是皮诺切特接见一角逐世界小姐的智利女子的画面。值得一提的是,这位全身烧伤面积达62%的不幸女子,也是在蒙特利尔居住和接受治疗,2011年开始她在蒙特利尔大学修读心理学博士。

1973年流亡蒙特利尔的 Patricio Henriquez 具有广阔的国际视野,1980年,他以处女作《阿拉法特和巴勒斯坦》(Yasser Arafat et les Palestiniens)开始进入时政纪录片领域,后与人合作创立影视制作公司 Macumba International,1998年拍摄《阿连德的背水一战》(The Last Stand of Salvador Allende),这部影片为他赢得了国际间12个奖项。1999年,他又拍摄的《独裁者的影像》( Images of a dictatorship)获得多伦多纪录片电影节政治类大奖。

《阿连德的背水一战》在53分钟的时间里,采访了阿连德总统的妻女、智囊、卫士和司机等,还原了1973年9月11日政变当日从清晨到午后的部分关键历史细节,如7:55分阿连德发表电台讲话,8:03分,他站在总统府大厦一个小阳台上向公众讲话,这是他最后一次公开露面,皮诺切特指挥的军队因攻不下总统府而调遣飞机轰炸,勒令总统府内人员1点前撤出,阿连德与女儿诀别,阿连德在沙发上自杀,以及军队进入总统府后,用毛毯裹尸把阿连德抬上汽车的场景。此片的珍贵在于,它还原历史的方式,当事人讲述只起穿插作用,大量的还是使用历史画面。

《独裁者的影像》则以皮诺切特82岁生日庆典仪式的电视画面为主线,以记录皮诺切特17年独裁恶行的影像为填充,给独裁者一个独特的生日纪念。片中有些镜头令人难忘,如一群抗议中的妇女,用铁链把自己锁在街边栏杆上,令警察无法驱赶她们,弱女子如此行事,表明了是要用铁的意志对抗独裁。

Leopoldo Gutierez 在2010年拍摄 的《他不曾是士兵》(le soldat qu'il n'etait pas)采访了一群政变时的军人,这些六七十岁的受访者,在政变时正值年少,是镇压民众的军队中的一分子。他们面对镜头,回忆起四十年前自己的胆怯、矛盾和痛苦,一名士兵在事件平息后回到父母家中,街坊老远就喊:“皮诺切特回来了!”,令他浑身不自在。片中还令人震惊地揭露了智利军中存在的对新兵(conscrit)的虐待,如赤身裸体做苦役和被饿饭禁食等。

令人回味的是,Leopoldo Gutierez 在片尾采访了两位曾是军人的亲戚,他们矢口否认他在采访中所获的细节,并称赞皮诺切特的军事政变和独裁挽救了国家,因为当时智利正处深重的政治、经济、社会和意识形态危机之中。

魔鬼藏在细节之中,历史的真相也一样。真相原本是一个简单、完整的图案。岁月使它破裂,人类智慧中的恶因素和谎言更使它变得扑朔迷离,真假难辨。

在皮诺切特军事政变40年后的今天,流亡的智利人试图通过各类纪录片还原40年前的真相,于是就有了一系列极具个人风格的记录,这些被抢救出来的历史影像,就是智利的碎片。

前些年在纽约,我曾采访过中国纪录片导演胡杰,他当时带着记录文革第一个被打死的女校长卞仲耘的纪录片《我虽死去》来参加纽约大学的中国电影双年展,记得我当时的报道题为《中国纪录片有着电影没有的真实》。海外的中国艺术家何时能像胡杰和智利流亡艺术家一样,为腥风血雨从未间断的中国当代史做记录, 弄出些中国碎片来。

2013年9月13日星期五

普京在《纽约时报》给习近平捎话


9月11日,俄罗斯总统普京在美国《纽约时报》评论版发表文章,题为《俄罗斯恳求谨慎》(A Plea for Caution From Russia--- What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria)

普京在《纽约时报》撰文这个举动本身,就不同寻常。首先这肯定了该报在国际政治生活中的分量;二则表明了普京的自信,普京不仅是柔道高手,既能驾飞机灭火又能深海潜水的高级特工,他还是攻心高手,别的不用说,中国共产党的首领习近平就被他深深的吸引;三是说明了普京的开放态度,他愿意把自己摆到一个普通作者的位置上,去与美国的读者交流,纽约时报网站上不到48小时内就有4082条读者跟贴,就说明了其效果。

在其举动的含义之外,文章内容也值得琢磨。 普京放低身段与美国读者见面,内容上却是棉中带刺,他警告像美国这样“有影响力的国家”如果“不理会联合国”的话,联合国就有可能“步国际联盟的后尘”,发生崩溃。他还用美国人最熟悉的恐怖主义说事,预言对叙利亚的“袭击将令暴力增加,催生新一波恐怖主义”。

作为民选总统,普京在文中显示出了打民主牌的底气, 他认定叙利亚“内战并非为争取民主”,“在叙利亚,极少人拥抱民主,但却有大量盖达武装分子与各式各样的极端分子与政府对抗。与反对派并肩作战的Al Nusra Front与Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,是美国国务院认定的恐怖组织。外国向反对派供应武器,把这场内部冲突推向全球最血腥的其中一场冲突”。

最后,普京的矛头直指美国本身,指责“对别国内部冲突作军事干预已成為美国的常态”,并呼吁美国“回到文明外交和政治和解的轨道上”。他还驳斥奥巴马所说的“美国政策让美国与众不同、出类拔萃”,认为“不管出于什么动机,鼓励国民自视为与众不同的群体都是极危险的做法”。

普京在文章给北京写了一句意味深长的话,作为普京的粉丝,习近平应该认真学习,这句话就是“ 世界上的国家有大有小,有富有穷,有的拥有悠久的民主传统,有的还在摸索通往民主的道路”。

习近平是否走民主之路,关系到他是否有资格做普京的粉丝。

联想到前一段时间,北京有言论以歪曲俄国的民主化进程来恐吓中国人对民主的追求,引发了俄国人对北京的轻蔑,俄国人说“指别人裤子没拉拉链的,忘了自己没穿裤子。”

所以说,普京的文章,既是写给美国人的,也是给北京的,写给普粉习近平的。

附普京文章全文:《俄罗斯恳求谨慎》(A Plea for Caution From Russia--- What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria)(纽约时报原文链接http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/12/opinion/putin-plea-for-caution-from-russia-on-syria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

(中文译文转自明报,小标题为明报所加)

最近围绕叙利亚所发生的事,促使我直接与美国人民与政治领袖对话。在这样一个彼此交流不足的时刻,这样做很重要。

我们的关系经历了不同阶段。冷战期间,我们站在对立面。但我们也曾是盟友,一起打败了纳粹。联合国随后成立以防止那样的惨剧再次发生。

  勿让联国步国际联盟后尘

联合国的创建者知道,各国必须在取得共识的情况下作出关于战争与和平的决定,美国也认同,安理会常任理事国的否决权受《联合国宪章》保护。这种非凡做法支撑了数十年来国际关系的稳定。

没人希望联合国步国际联盟的后尘,后者之所以崩溃,是因為缺乏真正的影响力。若具影响力的国家不理会联合国,未经安理会授权便采取军事行动,这种情况有可能再发生。

在很多国家与主要政治和宗教领袖强烈反对下,美国仍计划攻击叙利亚,但袭击将造成更多无辜受害者及令局势升温,并可能令冲突蔓延至叙利亚境外。袭击将令暴力增加,催生新一波恐怖主义。它还破坏旨在解决伊朗核问题及以巴冲突的多边努力,令中东和北非更不稳定,并可能使整套国际法和国际秩序失去平衡。

  叙国内战非为争取民主

叙利亚所出现的并非是一场争取民主的战争,而是一个多宗教国家的政府与反对派之间的武装冲突。在叙利亚,极少人拥抱民主,但却有大量盖达武装分子与各式各样的极端分子与政府对抗。与反对派并肩作战的Al Nusra Front与Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,是美国国务院认定的恐怖组织。外国向反对派供应武器,把这场内部冲突推向全球最血腥的其中一场冲突。

那里既有来自阿拉伯国家的雇佣兵在作战,也有来自西方国家乃至俄罗斯的数百计武装分子,这是我们极担忧的问题。他们会不会带从叙利亚获得的经验回到我们的国家呢?别忘了在利比亚作战的极端分子后来转战马里。这是对我们所有人的威胁。

俄罗斯从一开始就提倡通过和平对话,让叙利亚人自己為未来制定妥协方案。我们并非在保护叙利亚政府,而是保护国际法。我们需要利用联合国安理会,并相信在这个復杂动的世界里,维护法律和秩序是少数可防止国际关系陷入混乱的途径之一。法律始终是法律,不管喜不喜欢,我们都必须遵守。现有国际法只容许在自卫或得到安理会授权时使用武力,否则将构成侵略。

没人怀疑叙利亚发生了毒气袭击,但我们有充分理由相信,使用毒气的不是叙利亚军队,而是反对派,他们藉此煽动庇护他们的强大外国势力插手干预,这些庇护者将站在激进分子那一边。有消息称武装分子准备以以色列为新的攻击对象,我们不能掉以轻心。

  美诉诸蛮力标榜「非友即敌」

对别国内部冲突作军事干预已成為美国的常态,这令人担忧。这符合美国的长期利益吗?我很怀疑。全球数百万计人日益觉得美国不是民主的榜样,而是只会诉诸蛮力,打「非友即敌」的口号拉帮结派。

然而,武力已经证明是无效和无意义的。阿富汗举步维艰,没有人知道多国部队撤走后会发生什麼事;利比亚陷入部族割据;伊拉克的内战还在持续,每天有数十人丧生。美国有很多人把伊拉克和叙利亚相提并论,他们问政府,为什么要重复最近犯下的错误。

不管攻击目标多精准,武器多精良,都无法避免平民伤亡,包括本应是攻击行动保护对象的老人和孩子。这将令人发问若无法指望国际法,那就只能找别的途径来确保自己的安全。于是愈来愈多的国家尝试获得大规模杀伤力武器。这是符合逻辑的︰你手上有原子弹,就没有人敢动你。结果我们只能空谈加强阻止武器扩散,但在现实中这个目标却被侵蚀。

我们必须停止发表武力威吓言论,回到文明外交和政治和解的轨道上。

过去几天出现避免军事行动的新机遇。叙利亚愿意把化武交给国际社会管理并销毁,美国、俄罗斯与国际社会全体成员必须善用这一机会。从奥巴马总统的一系列陈述来看,美国视此为军事行动的替代选择。

  国家贫富不均但人人平等

对于奥巴马总统愿意和俄罗斯继续就叙利亚问题对话,我表示欢迎。我们必须联手保住这个希望,重回协商之路。若我们能避免对叙利亚动武,将有助于改善处理国际事务的氛围,加强彼此的互信。我们将共享成果,为彼此在其他关键问题合作打开大门。

我与奥巴马总统无论工作还是人关系的信任都在增进,我对此感到欣慰。我仔细研读了他在周二(12日)发表的全国讲话。我无法认同他提出的「美国与众不同」说法。他声称美国的政策「让美国与众不同、出类拔萃」。不管出于什么动机,鼓励国民自视为与众不同的群体都是极危险的做法。世界上的国家有大有小,有富有穷,有的拥有悠久的民主传统,有的还在摸索通往民主的道路。我们都是不同的,但当我们祈求神灵赐福时,我们不能忘记上帝造人,生而平等。

2013年9月12日星期四

克里斯汀·穆基

罗马尼亚共产党倒台后, 一批反映共产党统治和后社会主义时期的现实主义风格电影问世,为观察极权统治结束前后的寻常百姓生活提供了珍贵的样本。这些被世界影坛瞩目的作品和导演,构成了罗马尼亚电影业的新浪潮主义运动,人称《后十二月》电影运动。有意思的是,这个运动中的青年导演几乎都是在嘎纳电影节获得肯定,并由此扬名世界,此文中的克里斯汀·穆基就是例证。

齐奥塞斯库被处决的时候,68年出生的克里斯汀·穆基(Cristian Mungiu)还是一个大学生,学习的是英语文学专业。毕业后任职教师和记者,大概是心里有太多东西需要叙述,后来他选择了电影,入读布加勒斯特电影大学。

他最初的三部长故事片都是讲述齐奥塞斯库时期罗马尼亚人压抑的生活状态,他叙事风格简练,风格写实,感情内敛到几乎不动声色,事情再残酷也不过多着墨,尽管是在21世纪拍片,但色彩犹如黑白片一般,黯淡古旧。

大概就是这种风格打动了嘎纳电影节,他在2002年拍的第一部故事片《幸福在西方》(Occident)就获法国人青睐而入选,07年第二部故事片《4月3周又2天》(4 luni, 3 săptămâni și 2 zile)获得电影节最高大奖金棕榈奖,英国卫报称他为“令人惊讶的获奖者”,他也是罗马尼亚有史以来首位问鼎嘎纳电影节最高奖的导演。不过,这部反映1987年女大学生偷偷堕胎的故事片,就曾引起法国和意大利保守人士的抗议。这部电影被《纽约时报》评为2007和2008年世界电影排行榜之首,被加拿大《环球邮报》评为07年电影排行第二。

2012年,他的第四部故事片《在山那边》(După dealuri)获得嘎纳电影节最佳编剧和最佳女演员奖,该片还曾角逐奥斯卡最佳外语片。

2013年,他正在拍摄的故事片是《6.9 on Richter》。

2013年4月,他成为第66届嘎纳电影节评委。

穆基心目中的导演是两位美国人:两度获得奥斯卡最佳导演奖的捷克裔美国人米洛斯·福曼 (Miloš Forman)和06年去世的曾六度角逐奥斯卡最佳导演而未能成功的勞勃·阿特曼(Robert Altman)。他心目中的电影是诸如《偷自行车的人》这样的现实主义作品。

他姐姐 Alina Mungiu-Pippidi 是罗马尼亚著名的政治学家、记者和作家。

附一:罗马尼亚新浪潮代表人物及作品

2005 年克里斯提•普优的无医可靠 The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)获得戛纳电影节“一种关注”单元大奖,2006年波蓝波宇的布加勒斯特东12点8分 A fost sau n-a fost? (2006)获金摄影机奖,卡塔林•米苏雷斯库的爱在世界崩溃时 Cum mi-am petrecut sfarsitul lumii (2006)获“一种关注”单元最佳女演员奖。2007 年克里斯蒂安•内梅斯库的加州梦 California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (2007)获“一种关注”单元大奖,克里斯汀·穆基的四月三周两天 4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile (2007)则在如林强手中拿下戛纳备受瞩目的 60 周年金棕榈大奖。

拉杜•穆提恩无主孤军 Hîrtia va fi albastrã (2006)、《波吉》、圣诞节后的星期二 Marţi, după Crăciun (2010)、拉杜•休德《世界上最快乐的女孩》、马里安•克里桑威震天 Megatron (2008)、《早晨》、博格丹•穆斯塔塔游泳的好日子 O zi buna de plaja (2008)

附二:介绍罗马尼亚《后十二月》电影运动,选自 彭怡平的《4月3週又2天的政治隐喻与女体之间》一文:

自二○○一年起,在国际间频频获奖的罗马尼亚电影,即出自三十多岁的编导世代,他们在罗马尼亚共党统治者希奥塞古(Nicolae Ceausescu,1965~1989)倒台的第二天,便发起了日后震撼世界影坛的「后十二月」(Post-Décembre)运动。

这个运动的成员聚集了当今罗马尼亚影坛最重要的导演如克里斯提‧布依乌(Christ Puiu),科内里乌‧波鲁布依乌(Corneliu Porumboiu),以及甫获坎城影展金棕櫚奖导演克里斯汀‧穆基(Cristian Mungiu);他们分别以【但丁‧拉扎雷斯古之死】(La Mort de Dante Lazarescu,2006)、2006年坎城影展「金摄影机奖」【12点零八分,布加勒斯特以东】(12h08,à l’Est de Bucarest,2007)与【西方】(L’Occident,2002),在世界影坛展露头角;而在这些作品的背后,还有一点不能不提的就是这些影片的幕后功臣,它们皆由同一位製片丹尼尔‧布尔拉克(Daniel Burlac)资助。

年仅三十九岁的罗马尼亚导演克里斯汀‧穆基,身兼【4月3週又2天】(4 Luni, 3 Saptamini Si 2 Zile,2006)的编导,在这部电影作品裡,他以女大学女的堕胎故事為主轴,娓娓道来希奥塞古(Nicolae Ceausescu,1965~1989)统治末期的社会面貌;经歷了长达二十四年的专制统治以后,罗马尼亚老百姓生活在物资极度的短絀,官僚主义猖獗,人与人之间的关係奠基於权利与欲望的基础之上。

克里斯汀‧穆基以言简意賅的电影语法、阴沉单调的色彩、令人窒息的密闭空间,营造出一个犹如卡夫卡梦魘般的罗马尼亚政治寓言,让观者不寒而慄!



附三:美国最权威的电影杂志网站(http://www.cineaste.com)就《4月3周又2天》对克里斯汀·穆基的采访。

Not Just an Abortion Film: An Interview with Cristian Mungiu
by Richard Porton

While most of Eastern Europe's postwar Communist countries were ruled by bland, if frequently corrupt, figureheads, Romania proved a spectacularly ghoulish exception. Soon after becoming head of the party in 1965, Nicolae Ceausescu took additional, aggressively nationalist measures to distance his regime from the Soviet Union (he was christened "President" in a bogus election in 1974) while adhering to a hardline Stalinist economic model—and encouraging an elaborate cult of personality—that might have made Stalin himself envious. One of his most notorious fiats—Decree 770 issued in 1966—outlawed abortion and proceeded to reward mothers of multiple children with medals and lavish praise for their efforts to build a populous socialist bulwark. Unlike campaigns against abortion in the West, Ceausescu's imposition of mandatory motherhood (at least for women under forty-five) had nothing to do with religious or moral doctrines. It was instead aligned to what the Romanian author Norman Manea terms "the state ownership of human beings"—the obliteration of the private realm enforced by an intractable bureaucracy.

Cristian Mungiu's second feature, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival), breathes life into historical abstractions by delineating the ethical options available to citizens of a police state by fusing a startlingly naturalistic style with the nail-biting tension usually associated with thrillers. Set in a dismal, unnamed provincial city, Mungiu's film demonstrates that, even under totalitarianism, individuals need not be automatons and can defy the iron rule of the state through small, but not insignificant, actions. The banal travails of everyday life in a repressive regime inspire heroic gestures: In one of the most unbalanced friendships in cinematic history, the classically pretty, but astonishingly passive, polytechnic student Gabita (Laura Vasiliu), receives a clandestine abortion with the help of her grittier, more resourceful roommate, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca). Not only do this mismatched pair live in fear of the years in prison that await them if the Romanian security apparatus discovers their crime. They must also endure the horrors of dealing with the odious Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), a back-alley abortionist who forces Otilia and Gabita to assuage his wrath with sexual favors.

The singular brilliance of 4 Months does not reside, however, in its bare bones narrative but in the wealth of accumulated detail harnessed to illuminate Gabita and Otilia's ever-increasing desperation and anxiety. Shot in real time and featuring exquisitely choreographed long takes, Oleg Mutu's consistently inventive cinematography isolates key moments that pinpoint the protagonists' psychological malaise and social unease. At the film's outset, a shot of Gabita and Otilia's dormitory room reveals a fishbowl with only a paltry amount of water—an image that beautifully encapsulates the young women's sense of being inexorably trapped. Ominously flickering lights in the hotel where the abortion is performed plunge viewers into a veritable twilight zone while the hand-held tracking shots that accompany Otilia, as she traverses the bleak streets of her university town in search of help for her remarkably ungrateful friend, create a heavy fog of suspense that is never lifted. Mungiu's naturalism is uncanny for its ability to intimately acquaint viewers with his protagonists' plight while maintaining a cautious distance. The narcissistic Gabita and the indefatigable Otilia (a brilliant performance by Anamaria Marinca), are captured on film with an impassivity that resembles the stare of a peculiarly empathetic surveillance camera.

4 Months is also noteworthy for insights into the seemingly paradoxical phenomenon of class tensions under state socialism. Sharp disparities between the smugness of the professional class (often referred to as the "intelligentsia" in Eastern Europe, a category that traditionally included professionals such as doctors as well as writers and academics) surface in the depiction of a squirm-inducing birthday party thrown for the mother of Otilia's boyfriend. Beside herself with anxiety at a time when she fears that Gabita's life might be in peril, Otilia must endure the snobbish remarks of party guests who patronize her as coming from "simple folk" and make snide comments about her family background. With a nod to a famous sociological study by the Hungarian sociologists George Konrad and Ivan Szelenyi, it's arguable that professionals under Communism deployed a pseudoegalitarian mindset in order to achieve "class power." Mungiu's film invokes this paradox without a smidgen of didacticism. An implied analysis of socialist elites is evident in the subtle details of the film's mordantly farcical birthday party: as most of the population suffers, a privileged few sip champagne and eat crème brûlée.

Cineaste interviewed Mungiu shortly before the U.S. premiere of 4 Months at the New York Film Festival. He was eager to talk about such diverse topics as the relationship of his film to battles over abortion rights in the West, the hype lavished on the so-called "Romanian New Wave," and the psychic damage wrought by Ceausescu's cruel dictatorship.

Cineaste: You've announced that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is part of a cycle entitled "Tales from The Golden Age." Although this title is obviously ironic, could you elaborate on its significance? How do you envision the cycle as a whole?

Cristian Mungiu: I don't know if it's obvious to everyone, but the title comes from a reference to "the golden age of Romania," the last nine years of Ceausescu's regime. This is very ironic for Romanians since it was a period of shortages and hardship. The project, "Tales from the Golden Age," evolved from my initial idea to film shorter stories. I initially wrote about six stories that would each last about thirty minutes inspired by urban legends of the period. I wanted to make a subjective, personal history of the late Communist era in Romania—the way in which real people suffered small misfortunes under a big dictatorship. The tone was rather light and, as soon as it was finished (and we had even started to preproduce it), young people who read the script observed, "This is very funny; it must have been very funny to live during those times." This wasn't my intention and I thought I had a responsibility to avoid this response. Since I never wanted to abandon the project, I decided to make a film with a very different tone. I knew that I wanted a harsher view of this period—and this is how I came up with the current film. But the cycle will continue with two more films that will focus on other aspects of Romanian society during this era. Since the rest of the project is so episodic, I've decided to make it an omnibus film. Various young Romanian directors will direct subsequent episodes.

Cineaste: Did the chronicle of the abortion in the current film come out of research?

Mungiu: No, it came from a desire to tell a story that had relevance for this period and great emotional intensity— and was also pertinent for my entire generation. I was born in 1968 and I'm part of a generation of Romanians who are now on earth because abortion was illegal at the time. I thought this was a subject that speaks to the plight of a lot of my contemporaries. It was a personal story that I was familiar with. After I met again with the girl who had told me stories about this era, I realized that it had the potential of becoming a film.

Cineaste: So a woman who had grown up during the end of the Ceausescu regime recounted the story to you?

Mungiu:Yes, I based it on a real story but only fictionalized the biographies and added some of the context. I tried to research some details to make sure I wasn't doing something nonsensical. But the basic story always remained the same.

Cineaste: Did the narrative equation always emphasize the passivity of the young woman needing the abortion contrasted with the energetic resourcefulness of her friend and helper?

Mungiu: This wasn't particularly apparent at the beginning of the process; it was something that evolved while I was writing the script. At the beginning I thought I was making a film about two girls. But I eventually discovered that I had only one main character. Because of this, I made some changes and essentially left out all the scenes involving one of the characters since I realized that the protagonist who understands what's going on during this day should be the focus. I thought this was better for the story.

Cineaste: In some respects, the opposition of these characters is a metaphor for opposing options in a totalitarian society: remaining passive vs. the choice to resist.

Mungiu: It demonstrates that, although you might resist without solving anything, at least you had a reaction. It was important for me to show that some people were much more aware than others of what was going on at this time. Most people, though, just act from day to day and don't think about the consequences. I thought it was important to make this film to emphasize that there are still people today in Romania who act without thinking about the consequences. After being forced to have children during the Ceausescu years, there were about a million abortions in Romania after it was made legal—as if people didn't realize that there was another kind of contraception.

Cineaste: You've spoken about the decision to filter most of the narrative through Otilia's perspective. But it also seems important to emphasize how the camera maintains a distance from her narrative and seems to evoke the presence of state surveillance that was obviously a factor at that time.

Mungiu: If you watch the film carefully, you'll notice that, when she walks, for example, we only see her from the back. But I wasn't trying to make this sort of commentary conspicuous. When I was directing actors, I didn't tell them that certain gestures were symbolic or signified something specific. I was trying to keep the actors conscious of their roles but hoped that, when the film was finished, people would understand some aspects of Romanian society from the way the film was made. I hope the film invites discussion of this diffuse sort of oppression, the fear of always being watched and controlled. But I didn't want to make it too explicit.

Cineaste: And, in a similarly subtle way, you emphasize how class distinctions persisted under Communism.

Mungiu: Yes, to my surprise, a Bulgarian told me that he thought this was the best film he'd seen about social classes under Communism; the film speaks about the wide range of options available to those on top. One of my purposes with this film was to demonstrate that, although we were young and thought we weren't affected by propaganda, we were victims of the educational system. This sometimes came out during arguments; when we were angry our arguments sometimes reflected this propaganda. I think this comes out when Otilia is arguing with her boyfriend; she can't speak about her friend's abortion so the other conflicts become apparent. This is very strange since we usually never talked about these matters among ourselves. When this couple becomes aware of their parents' status, it's something that's come out of the propaganda and the educational system. People have heard that intellectuals are very important, even if they're not quite sure why.

Cineaste: It's reminiscent of what Milovan Djilas once wrote about the Yugoslavian "new class."

Mungiu: And this was eventually the class promoting capitalism in the post-Communist era. The former Communists became the engine of the new economy.

Cineaste: Of course, there were some peculiar aspects of Romanian Communism since it was the only Eastern bloc country to ban abortion. The Soviet Union promoted abortions.

Mungiu: And the Soviet Union promoted sex as a way of relieving social pressures. It was completely different in Romania. Even in Poland, despite the influence of the Catholic Church, the policy was different. This was something specifically Romanian. It's difficult to find a good explanation. But, according to my research, the causes stem from Ceausescu's motivations from 1966 on that were partially economic and partially propagandistic.

Cineaste: And tied to Ceausescu's cult of personality?

Mungiu: It was a way of saying that we have to boost the economy: to complete our plans in economics and agriculture we therefore have to increase the population. Important nations are big nations. We need to build the new man, the new socialist man. Because of this reasoning, abortion was forbidden for much of the population. It was only permitted for women over forty-five. You'd get a medal for producing ten children.

Cineaste: This probably explains why Ceausescu's regime was considered as much fascist as Communist.

Mungiu: Yes, and it's important to explain this sort of thing. Because of the situation in Romania where childbearing was imposed on women, they weren't considering the most important aspect of abortion—the fact that it's your personal, moral choice. It's not about you or the system; it's an ethical choice that needs to be made. We never thought about this. We were just trying to get away with not getting caught by the authorities. The fact that we weren't aware of these ethical questions was the most horrible aspect of Communism.

Cineaste: The shot of the fetus (which is held for a considerable length of time) is probably the most controversial moment in the film. I assume you felt this shot was an essential component of the narrative, especially since it's an important element in Otilia's perspective on events.

Mungiu: I thought it was an important part of the story and it would have been an odd formal decision on my part as an author to avoid this shot. This was so much part of what was happening to her during this day. Since she spends the last thirty minutes of the film dealing with what she experiences in the bathroom, you can't really avoid showing the fetus. The shot is not long. People tell me that it's one minute, but it's only fourteen seconds or so—the length that was needed for her to deliver her lines. When I edited the film I realized this was part of the story and would have to remain.

Cineaste: Nevertheless, have some viewers or critics objected to this shot?

Mungiu: Well, something else is happening here. Romanians, including myself, are not familiar with the kind of imagery used by antiabortion organizations over here. I come from a country where abortion is not an issue anymore—in any sense. It's strange, but it's a very poor country experiencing many other problems. So the more economic problems you have, the less time you have to think about moral issues. You're just concerned with making a living.

Cineaste: Yes, I'm sure part of the reaction to the shot is connected to revulsion against the imagery used by antiabortion propagandists.

Mungiu: Yes, but what made me happy about the reaction to the film at festivals, and in the States, was that people realize that the film is just trying to tell a story. It's not taking sides. I hope the film will serve as a departure point for people to form their own opinions.

Cineaste: Wasn't there a controversy recently about the film being screened in French schools?

Mungiu:Yes, there was a huge protest by an association of filmmakers in France against the French minister of education's attempt to censor the film. At some point, they wanted to draw back from screening the film in French high schools. I won an award while in Cannes called "La Prix de L'Éducation nationale." My understanding was that the film wouldn't necessarily be shown in all of the schools but a documentary about the film would be shown and eventually the film itself would be screening in schools and DVDs made available. Apparently some French antiabortion organization protested. You can never tell with this film; in some countries, it is used as a tool against abortion! Finally, though, this organization gave up and it will be shown in French schools. Not only that, there's also the possibility that the same thing will be done in Romania. I think, in a way, it's even more important for young people in Romania to see the film.

Cineaste: I suppose the decision to employ "real time" in the film arose from your decision to follow the journey of one protagonist and her actions and thought processes.

Mungiu: Yes, this is also why I didn't use music, intrusive editing, or even close-ups if possible. I wanted to keep a proper distance from the subject and be honest with the story. I feel that, if you're honest but stay true to the story, the audience will also react more honestly than if I was constantly imposing my own point of view.

Cineaste: And you must have worked quite closely with your cinematographer, Oleg Mutu, to achieve this esthetic.

Mungiu: Well, we were colleagues in film school and we started working about thirteen years ago. We did more than ten films together as well as some commercials. It's easy to work with him since I've known him for such a long time. But since he isn't Romanian, and was born in Kishinev in Moldova, I had to explain to him what I wanted as far as the realism of the film was concerned. With the interiors, I wanted to use as little artificial light as possible and I wanted to shoot at night for the exteriors. Historically speaking, there were no streetlights in Romania. So he was inventive enough to carry some lights on top of the cameras so we could understand what was happening to a character when we were following her for 200 meters during a night scene. I hate films when you can see a beam of light illuminating the characters. It wasn't like this at all; he did a tremendous job.

Cineaste: And he was also the camera operator.

Mungiu: Yes, and operating the camera for this film was a very physical job, very difficult. He climbed downstairs with this girl for the long shot in the hotel. To do the shot at the end of the film, we started in the street and we walked with the whole crew up to a block of flats carrying everything including the sound equipment.

Cineaste: It seems a bit reminiscent of the Dardenne brothers' technique.


Mungiu: Yes, I will have to see their films since many people have made this comparison. But La Promesse is the only one I've seen. I wanted to invite them to a screening, but they couldn't make it. I'm very curious to see if there's a stylistic similarity.

Cineaste: It's also interesting that there are several directors in Romania working in a naturalistic style. Of course, I noticed that you remarked in Sight & Sound that you didn't think there was a unified "group" of Romanian directors. Do you dislike the category now known as the "Romanian New Wave?"

Mungiu: Well, the only thing that makes these directors a group is the fact that they all received recognition around the same time and are about the same age; there's a Romanian "wave," if you like, but not a Romanian "school." It's not as if we share an esthetic manifesto. Some of the films have similar traits. But if you watch my film next to films by Catalin Mitulescu, Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, they're all very different. I think this is one of the good things about this wave of filmmakers. They are quite diverse and don't necessarily view cinema in the same way. Some of the films share realism in common or a certain form of humor. One thing we all have in common is the fact that we are not only writer-directors, but also produce the films ourselves. So, within the limitations of our small budgets, we all have the freedom to make the films we see fit. Not one of us would ever make any comments regarding box-office potential—there is no box-office potential. There are only thirty-five movie theaters left in Romania.

Cineaste: Are the Romanian films screened in theaters? Or is the situation similar to other countries where American product dominates.

Mungiu: Even though Romanian films are screened, American movies make up eighty per cent of the market. But the situation is not good since Romanians don't go to see many films in theaters at all; they don't have theaters to see films. But now that I'm in a position to do something, I've organized a caravan to show films all over Romania. The results have been quite spectacular and I think we're proving a point. We've done our part; the films have done very well at festivals, and the people who have seen them in Romania like them. So maybe now we'll get someone to invest in exhibition.

Cineaste: Although many people now see films on DVDs, it's a much different experience seeing them theatrically.

Mungiu:Yes, just think about how this film was made. It was shot in widescreen and it has a lot of details placed in the background because I never wanted them to become the subject of the film.

Cineaste: Yes, and this film is partially about the specific duration of events. So there's a real necessity to see it from beginning to end without interruption.

Mungiu: Yes, it makes a big difference if you see the film theatrically and don't pause to get up to get a beer. But, during the last fifteen years, Romanians have gotten used to seeing films mostly on home video. But it's important to know if people want to see films in theaters because there's no point making films on film if they just want to watch DVDs.

Cineaste: In scouting locations, did you attempt to find ones such as the hotel that had the feel of Romania during the last years of Communism?

Mungiu: It wasn't easy. Even though the action of the film doesn't take place in Bucharest, it was possible for us to shoot exteriors there. I wanted to emphasize that this wasn't happening in Bucharest since abortion was a much more complicated issue in the provinces. The possibilities were much more limited. But, given my small budget, I couldn't fly to distant locations and had to shoot in Bucharest.There are two hotels in the film and I couldn't find a second appropriate hotel in Bucharest. You can find many socialist-looking buildings but not necessarily places where you're able to shoot because they have air conditioning, satellite dishes, and all of the windows have been changed. I finally found a second hotel about eighty kilometers from Bucharest. Even with the same hotel, I made a lot of changes. The room I chose for the negotiation scene didn't have the right walls but was at least quiet. There was a tram outside the first one and I only used direct sound. So I painted the walls of the room and covered one window and built a fake wall and took furniture from another room. So, even though I intervened and made changes to these "real locations," there is an aspect of filming in actual locations that helps the actors.

Cineaste: And it was helpful that you received some support from the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam Film Festival?

Mungiu: That support was not only helpful financially. It was even more helpful from a logistical viewpoint since this provided the initial confirmation that the screenplay was doable. I got very good feedback and reinforced my idea that this would be the first film in the cycle although I had written another screenplay previously. Furthermore, Rotterdam helped by having a screening before Cannes of a rough cut for sales agents and a very few critics. This was very helpful since it informed people that the film was ready for Cannes and was of interest.

Cineaste: So in conclusion, wouldn't you say that 4 Months shouldn't be reduced to being termed an "abortion film?"

Mungiu: Yes, but it can be. In countries like Italy and Poland the abortion issue was much more important than the film. It was impossible to speak about anything else. But people who actually see the film never come out with the impression that they've seen a film about abortion. I am glad that, despite all of the expectations people have about the film before actually seeing it, it's a different experience when they actually see it.

Richard Porton is currently editing an anthology on film festivals for Wallflower Press.