Culture


02.03.2005.

WE ARE FORBIDDEN TO CHIME OUR BELLS

Exactly when monks of Zociste Monastery in Kosovo and Metohija thought that they would peacefully spend winter following partial reconstruction of the shrine destructed by the Albanians, a new trouble got to them. Ljiljana Sindjelic Nikolic talked with Bishop Petar of this monastery.

At first it will appear strange, but if the historic circumstances and events in Kosovo and Metohija are known, it can be rightfully stated that history repeats itself. Monastery Zociste belongs to the oldest ones in Kosovo and Metohija, having been established between 14th and 14the century. The frescoes from the time of construction were preserved on the walls while the remains of St Kozma and St Damjan, respected by the Serbs as well as the Albanian Muslims were kept as rare treasure. Albanian terrorists destroyed this monastery, like many others, and after much commotion and requests, monks were allowed to commence the reconstruction. According to father Petar, last fall, 6 rooms were done, with chapel for religious services, then dining room, a kitchen and monks’ premises. "It is strange that Austrian soldiers, who guard the monastery, interfered with the work at its very beginning," says Father Petar. Precisely, it seemed to them that monks had made more rooms than needed and they requested to remove the roof from the constructed buildings. When a monk asked why they should do it, the soldiers said that it bothered the Albanians and set this as a condition to monks, otherwise, they would not get electricity and water. Father Petar says that as soon as monks just did what was requested, the new trouble came along.

We mentioned that monastery was completely destructed, and along with it, its tower with bells, which are very important for Orthodox religious services, were broken and scattered. Monks obtained a new bell, mounted it and happily chimed marking the time for prayer and meeting with God. However, Austrian soldiers again thought of new rules and forbade them to chime. What for? They said that it was security issue and that the sound of bells could be interpreted as provocation for the Albanians. Thus, monks had to stop chiming, and father Petar says jokingly that they were allowed to strike the wooden panel with wooden object.

At the time when this region was under the Ottoman Empire, the Turks also forbade the sound of bells from the Orthodox churches. Bells were thrown away, broken or carried away as war trophies, and a soldier who brought many pieces of an Orthodox bell would be soon promoted.

Zociste Monastery is a shrine for the Albanians as well. Father Petar says that they come daily from various parts of the region, as they have been doing it for generations, to pray to St Kozma and St Damjan, believing in the healing after those prayers. However, father Petar says, many are surprised, as they do not know that the monastery was destroyed and that the remains of the saints are no longer here. But, they come by and ask for prayers hoping that the monastery will be completely rebuilt and the remains of the saints returned. Father Petar told us that several Albanians who took part in destruction of the monastery are currently at the psychiatric hospital, but father Petar says that they had gone mad before they destructed monastery as had they not, they would have never done something like this.

The project for the monastery reconstruction is completed and the reconstruction is expected, but, unfortunately, we should say that there were many monasteries and churches in the area around Zociste however, today one cannot see even their ruins. Parking lots and buildings were built on some of those sites. Precious Christian heritage of the European culture and civilization has been destroyed, but it is rightfully expected that what has been left be protected for future generations regardless of their religion and nationality.


02.03.2005.

BEAUTIFUL AND INTERESTING LANDMARKS – MT GOC

Winter holidays for primary and high school pupils are over. Many of them have spent those holidays in the mountains, sledging, skiing and enjoying time with their friends. One of the mountains visited this year is Goc, in the vicinity of Vrnjacka Banja. This mountain is a so-called base of the Belgrade Faculty of Forestry, and accommodation capacities are also convenient for youngsters who come over the school year to attend re-creative lessons. That is why Goc is called the children’s mountain, but it is also meant for sports and excursions. It is said to be a place, which gladly welcomes each visitor both in winter and in summer. This is also the impression of the author of the BEAUTIFUL AND INTERESTING LANDMARKS OF SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO – Jelena Gligoric.

There is much snow on Mt Goc and obviously, it will remain there for a long time, especially in shaddy places and thick woods. The sun scarcely passes thick treetops of fir and beech almost leaning on each other. One does not have to be a botanist to notice that nature has been generous to this mountain. In the middle of last century, the Serbian Government allocated a part of the mountain complex to the Faculty of Forestry as an educational and experimental property. By the diversity of flora, it is among the richest mountains of the region, as it contains 45% of all flora species found in the Balkans. And this is not all: out of 630 species of plants, one third are medical herbs. Favourable climate and ecological conditions are convenient to fir, which survive 350 years, and 250-year-old beech trees grow to 50 meters in height. Tourists who like walking emphasize that they do not mind deep snow in the wood clearings.

If the past century was characterized by wars over oil, scientists assess that this one will be characterized by the fight for drinkable water. These facts are not related to Goc, as the area of several thousand of hectares and 600 and even 1000 meters in altitude, contains over 250 drinkable water springs. There, water is drunk at the very spring, something foreigners understand with difficulty. Certain springs are made up as memorials with arranged paths, benches and barbecue corners, meant for rest and preparation of local mushrooms or clear water trout. In summer, Goc hosts sportsmen at high altitude preparations, and hunters from all over the world – for hunting trophies. Since recently, doctors have started recommending this mountain as an ideal place for the recovery of cardio-vascular patients and others having problems with so-called modern diseases, which testifies to the need to develop health tourism. As a souvenir from Goc, visitors take a pinecone, which is a particular giant of magestic beauty, as is the tree at the entrance of the educational base of the faculty of Forestry. It has been strutting, spreading its branches for centuries, and presents the visitors with its cones as a welcome sign. As keepsakes or an invitation to return.


01.03.2005.

CATHRINE DENEUVE - A GUEST OF FEST

‘When we make a film we do not know what its future will be. That is why I like to promote films abroad. This film poses the question can first love also be the last?’, stated famous French actress and a great diva of European cinema, Catherine Deneuve opening the 33rd Belgrade International Film Festival - FEST 2005, which will include about 80 films from over 30 countries. More by Slavka Sunajko.

Andre Techine's film ‘Les temps qui changent’, with Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu in the lead roles officially opened the 33rd FEST at the completely filed cinema of the Sava Center, one of the biggest in the Balkans. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and its screening in Belgrade represents it second in showing in Europe. Speaking about Andre Techine, the famous French director, Catherine Deneuve underlined their long-lasting friendship.

‘For me Techine is not just a director but also a good friend. Our friendship has lasted for a very long time. I have made several films together and I like working with him. Everything changes in life, including us as people. All these changes make up our life what it is. This is a kind of evolution. I believe that I have changed much throughout the years.’ Regarding acting she believes that it is equally important to have inspiration and to know the craft. However, I still believe that we should always search for something new, and not to adhere to strictly to acting norms. ‘This does require great concentration, great effort and is not always easy’, stated the French actress.

‘It is very important for festivals to exist, and they need not always be competitive. Films need to be seen by as many people as possible especially those that do not reach normal film distribution.’ During the interview, Deneuve specially focused on famous director Luis Bunuel with whom she made one of her most famous films ‘La belle du jour’. ‘The producers chose me for this film. I was not afraid of Bunuel. I think that he does not attach so much importance to the role of the actor. During filming, he barely spoke at all to me so I had no I idea what he though of my acting and how I played certain scenes. He did not wish me to see the recorded footage during filming. However, everything ended well and three years later he hired me for his new film ‘Tristana’, which is incidentally my favorite film’, Deneuve stated.

She is not well acquainted with films from Serbia and Montenegro, but said that she really admired Emir Kusturica. ‘I have seen some of his films and enjoyed them. He is a director, which has an unusual life energy, strength and sensibility. It is difficult to find him as he does not have any specific time when he makes films. I have the impression that for him time does not exist. I would like to act in one of his films as this would be a completely new experience for me. I know that he is focusing on singing now, and that there is very little chance for to make a film. I have also attended a concert by his band and enjoyed it immensely’, stated Catherine Deneuve, singling out her enthusiasm for Emir Kusturica, the laureate of several prestigious awards from Cannes, Venice, Berlin and other famous international festivals.


28.02.2005.

CULTURAL PANORAMA

The sixth International Festival of Archaeological Film has begun in the National Museum in Belgrade. It is to this, very popular event that we dedicate to this week’s CULTURAL PANORAMA, prepared by Olivera Milovanovic.

The International Festival of Archeological Film in Belgrade was established after the example of the renowned festival that is held in Rovereto, Italy. Therefore, organizers of the Italian festival participated, in cooperation with the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrade, in the organization and film selection for the festival in the National Museum, over the first couple of years. However, since 2003, this national museum institution has continued to organize the festival on its own, making its own film selection.

This year, 24 film creations from nine countries are included in the festival, which is chronologically and topic-wise very varying. Like previous years, the highest number of films comes from France, Italy and Germany, and for the first time the Belgrade audience will be able to se two films from Spanish and Turkish production, as well as one from the USA. Although all the films are inspired by the same topic, archaeology, the Belgrade Festival is an opportunity to get acquainted with different approaches to representing the world cultural heritage. Through scientific-educational films, reports, computer animation or reconstruction, the deepest past of the hominidae evolution will be shown, as well as always interesting research of old Egypt and the latest discoveries of Novgorod letters from the medieval time. When local archaeological films are at issue, it is interesting that one of them will be dedicated, this year too, to underwater archaeological research of the remainings of a bridge in the vicinity of Roman town of Sirmium, nowadays Sremska Mitrovica, in southwestern Vojvodina. Another film shows the research of Margum, one of big antique cities in the region of the province of Upper Mesia.

Due to great interest of younger audience for the International Festival of Archaeological Film, the organizers have arranged special projections for grade and high schools, at separate time.


25.02.2005.

THE FEST IS BEGINNING

The famous French actress and world diva Catherine Deneuve has opened tonight, in the big hall of the Sava Center, the 33rd Belgrade Film Festival – FEST 2005. The feature by Slavka Sunajko.

FEST 2005 was opened by the film of renowned French director Andre Techine, entitled "Times are changing", starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu. This lyrical, yet bit restrained and magnificently played film had its world premier at the recently finished 55th Berlin Film Festival, where it attracted a lot of attention from audience and critics. During the next week, the Belgrade audience will have the opportunity to enjoy in more than 80 interesting creations that have already been approved in big world festivals. Included are films by Pedro Almodovar, Theo Angelopoulos, Abbas Kiarostami, Mike Leigh, Karen Shakhnazarov, Oliver Stone, Takashi Shimizu, Michael Winterbottom and other world-renowned directors, whose works have been given the greatest film awards. This year, Belgrade will also be a host to great number of foreign guests, so the audience and the media representatives will be able to associate with well-known persons from the world of cinema during this biggest film festival in the Balkans.

Unlike previous years, film fans will also see premieres of some of the best creations of local authors, and there will also be a program entitled "the Slavic package", featuring films from Russia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia.

One of the Europe’s leading film makers, Greek director Theo Angelopoulos will visit the Festival with its film "Trilogy 1: the field of tears", which will be shown at the closing ceremony of the 33rd Belgrade Film Festival – FEST 2005, on March 6.


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