It usually happens unexpectedly
You’d just like this all of a sudden see
The river…and the trees, and the girl
And the way she’s smiling…
It seems you’ve seen it all a thousand times
But this time you’re dumbfounded
How unimaginably beautiful is this girl
And these trees…this river
And the way she’s smiling…
This usually means
That you’ve been overtaken by love
–my translation of lines from a Russian-Soviet 1975 movie “One Hundred Days After Childhood” — to me the best coming-of-age movie ever made. I first watched it as a teenager, and now thirty+ years later I’m as moved by it as back then. Maybe more.
This movie’s a painting. A poem. A waltz.
It’s on Youtube with English subtitles.
Here’s my attempt at translating the epigram:
Could to create like Dante Beatrice seek,
Would Laura’s ardent verses cause a riot?
A woman, I taught women how to speak…
But, Lord, how could I ever keep them quiet!
The Russian original:
Могла ли Биче словно Дант творить,
Или Лаура жар любви восславить?
Я научила женщин говорить…
Но, Боже, как их замолчать заставить!
Charmingly clumsy Russian lyrics by a French student of Russian. Mesmerizing music by a French composer. Performed in Russian with a heavy accent by a French band. Animation created by different artists from different cities and countries.
A delightfully imperfect surrealistic mix.
In a nut shell, whenever the singer-storyteller’s down in the dumps or in dire straits, he hears these tender owls calling him from behind “Uyui” and feels his heart lighten.
“I first read Chekhov in Russian, as a student, both short stories and the plays, but the effort to focus so hard on the original Russian, and my lack of experience in life, had left me, as a student, with a somewhat blurred vision of Chekhov himself. I rediscovered him much later, with the ease (and laziness) of reading in my own language, this time through translation. And it was a great gift: at last, through her work*, I could see clearly who Chekhov is as a writer, and why he is incomparable. It’s not really something you can explain; you read the translation, and you know.”
*The speaker refers to translations created by Constance Garnett.
“While working, I hold my creation in my fingers. Even one’s heartbeat disturbs such minute work, so particularly delicate work has to be done between heartbeats,”
— Vladimir Aniskin, microminiaturist from Russia, creator of (quite possibly) the world’s tiniest book.
“…he (Rodchenko) rejected the complacency of what he termed the “belly-button perspective” of traditional images, be they paintings or photographs. Around 1925, influenced by the Bauhaus photographer Moholy-Nagy, Rodchenko began shooting photographs from odd and unorthodox angles in order to disrupt the viewer’s expectations and force a new perception of reality.”
— from Jamey Gambrell’s essay on the early twentieth-century Russain avant-garde photographers and film-makers
A good read, great pictures.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
The implication’s usually — a poor cover doesn’t mean a bad book.
But a good cover’s powerful. Every good book deserves one.
“Translators are the post-horses of enlightenment.” – A.S. Pushkin