Actually, I love the People’s Palace, or as you call it now, “Parliament Palace”. It’s outrageously big and ostentatious, but it’s great fun to have an event there. I spent three of the most memorable evenings of my life at OvidiuRo’s Halloween Charity Balls. It was wonderful to see a place designed by a megalomaniac being used to raise awareness and money to help the poorest children, many of whom were Roma, to get a decent education.
But my favorite place has to be my mom’s cottage on a hill surrounded by vineyards near Buzau. I love the Romanian countryside and the people (and animals) that I’ve met there. It’s a glimpse into how our ancestors must have lived for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
That’s too hard for me to speak to. Everywhere I go the world seems to be changing so fast right now. My mother likes to say that Bucharest is “Europe with an edge”. I don’t think it has as much edge as it did when I first visited in 2002. But it has much better coffee.
When I travel, I usually bring a large briefcase full of books that I hope to read, but which usually remain unopened. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to successfully shift to e-books. This trip, the most important thing I’m bringing is my oldest daughter, Maya, who is 19 and passionate about film and her “Grandma Leslie”. So this has the makings of a great trip. Luggage doesn’t make the man.
I’m not sure what I thought then, but Romania has changed my mother. I don’t know if it’s Romania itself, her amazing partnership with Maria Gheorghiu, or the more classic tale of how when we focus on helping others, we actually help ourselves. In any case, she has changed for the better in many ways. Maybe that’s because helping to get disadvantaged children into school fulfilled her need to be useful in the world.
Romania is producing some of the most exciting works of cinema happening today. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is one of the most riveting movies made anywhere in the world in my lifetime, not just my favorite Romanian movie. I had never heard of Cristian Mungiu when my mother insisted I go see ‘4,3,2’ with her when she was visiting NY 10 years ago. I was blown away.
I think what I meant was that the William Claxton photos of Chet Baker were a symbol of the 1950’s cool aesthetic. It symbolized a kind of beatnik detachment that was anti-authority, sexy and appealing. It also is almost always a posture — and doesn’t represent the truth at all. On the inside, I think that Chet Baker struggled with the same insecurities that we all do.
My mother is completely uncool, always has been, always will be. You can’t be both cool and fervent at the same time.
Certainly, some people are born with a tendency for depression and struggle with it all of their lives, while others just skip through a rainy day. Depression-prone people often use alcohol and illegal drugs in an effort to self-medicate. When asked by a journalist what the secret of happiness was, Tennessee Williams said, “Insensitivity.” Navigating the ups and downs of life definitely takes a toll on highly sensitive, artistic people like Chet Baker.
There have been several events that changed my life. Dead Poet’s Society, my children being born, the dissolution of my first marriage… We always want life to be steady and secure. It rarely is. And unfortunately, when it IS steady and secure, we tend to get bored.
The Criterion Collection just released the Before Trilogy as one entity. Those three movies, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, taken together as one cohesive piece of cinema, is something I’m embarrassingly proud of. From beginning to end, dialogue to finished film, it was a deeply collaborative effort of Rick Linklater, Julie Delpy and myself. And I think it really rings true to life.
Interview by Diana Mesesan, email@example.com
(photo source: Dreamstime)