Vadym Jendreyko: The Woman with the 5 Elephants

Skrevet den 06-11-2020 18:34:36 af Tue Steen Müller

It’s from start till end beautiful. It is seldom that form and content go so well together. Because the director succeeds to catch the charisma of Swetlana Geier, the translator of Dostoyevsky (and many other big Russian authors) from Russian into German. Her life story, born in Ukraine 1923, living in Freiburg in Germany from the mid 40’es until her death in 2010. Her travel to Ukraine with her granddaughter. And first of all her approach to translation and the works of Dostoyevsky. To language, read this quote from the film:

"My teacher always said: ‘Nose up in the air when you translate.’ That is to say, one doesn’t translate from left to right, following the text, but only after one has made the sentence one’s own. It first has to be internalised, taken to heart. I read a book so often that my eyes ’gouge holes’ in pages. I basically know it by heart. Then the day comes when I suddenly hear the melody of the text."

The scenes on the first floor of the house, she lives in, are magnificent. She sits with Hannelore Hagen on each side of the table at a window that opens to a view of a tree outside. Hannelore Hagen types what Swetlana Geier dictates. And later comes in – to sit in the chair of Geier - Jürgen Klodt, who knows about language, the musicality of German language. He comes up with suggestions for change to the old lady on the other side of the table, who uses her pencil to make marks in the manuscript that Hannelore Hagen has typed. It’s wonderful. Old-fashioned. Conversations. "You could also use conjunctive!". It has a calmness of poetic dimensions. The director pays respect to the profession – and her life. We get to know the tragic death of her son, and she speaks so touching about how she was there at his coffin. Her face, her eyes, her way of conveying fascination, you can imagine how good a teacher she must have been. Strength. Wisdom.

No more from me, the film is a must, and it is easy to get hold of it. Click the website (with excellent articles) below to see how to get hold of it.

Germany/Switzerland, 2009, 92 mins.

Tilføjet i kategorierne: DVD, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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