Ana Simon. Unusual Encounters

ana simon. unusual encounters Reputed scholar, writer, director and translator Ana Simon left Romania more than 50 years ago and settled in Geneva

Reputed scholar, writer, director and translator Ana Simon left Romania more than 50 years ago and settled in Geneva, Switzerland, after a doctoral scholarship in Spain. She was born in Caras Severin county, south-western Romania. Few things are known about her in her native country though, but a first step in changing this state of affairs was taken by Alina Mazilu, Vasile Bogdan and Cornel Ungureanu who wrote a book entitled Ana Simon. Unusual Encounters. The book appeared at the Diacritic Publishing House and was launched in late September in Timisoara, western Romania. 

We caught up with Alina Mazilu, one of the authors who also coordinated the book launch: 

"From my point of view the book is a beginning because few things are known about Ana Simon in Romania and that's a pity. I wouldn't say it's unfair because Ana didn't want to promote herself very much. Few things are known and I believe that has to change and people should know more about her. And that's why we wrote the book; it's a book about and with Ana... It consists of interviews and manages to reveal Ana Simon's complex personality. She is the most generous human being I have ever met. We wanted our book not to reveal everything from the beginning but keep the suspense and allow readers to discover Ana Simon's universe for themselves."

Ana Simon is the wife of Swiss actor Francois Simon and the daughter-in-law of Michel Simon, one of Europe's best actors. Ana is the author of numerous films and poetry volumes and has translated works by Mircea Eliade, Marin Sorescu and Miguel de Unamuno. The book is evoking these authors and contains several of her poems translated by Marin Sorescu and Jean Grosu. 

Here is Alina Mazilu again:

"There are several photos in the book, including one with Mario Vargas Llosa in Lima, long before his shot to fame. It also has letters from Ana's very good friend Ion Negoitescu and a letter from Emil Cioran. There is also a portrait drawn by the famous German graphic artist Margarethe Krieger, another good friend of Ana's. Right on the book cover there is a great portrait by Chilean painter Jose Venturelli, a close friend to Pablo Neruda. Various photos with her great love, Francois Simon, as well as with Ion Vianu."

"Ana's entire work, literary reviews, film presentations and interviews, poems and translations are borne of admiration", writes Alina Mazilu in her book. Ana herself admitted that admiration was what enabled her to create. Let's listen to an interview she gave to Radio Romania International on the occasion of the book launch in Timisoara:

"Everything I did came out of great admiration. Maybe it was my background that also counted, as I specialized in world and comparative literature and was always interested in the world of artists. Artists come from somewhere and reveal what they can from their world. And I did exactly that, revealing as much as I could out of this admiration in a film."

The book also comprises the cover of a volume about Michel Simon and Francois Simon, father and son, which Ana coordinated. Alina Mazilu:

"It's a small part from the complex works Ana has done in order to recover and strengthen the image of the two actors, Michel and Francois, father and son. Actually, upon the death of Francois, Ana devoted herself almost entirely to the project focusing on their image. She dedicated books, poems and reviews to them and she made great efforts so that people would recognise the value of Francois Simon, because he was a great French-speaking actor and founder of the Theatre de Carouge, which is still functional in Geneva today... Ana went to great lengths to keep his image alive."

A traveller around the world, spending her time mostly in Geneva, Paris and Barcelona, Ana Simon returns home, in Romania's Banat region, in the west, on a regular basis. What is home for her?

 "Home... is just what home was for Camus. My country was my mother and this meant home. I haven't had a home ever since. I had temporary homes, because, being married to Francois, he was involved in making films and we were together all the time. We travelled a lot and we returned from time to time to rest. Home was where we were together, and, since I've lost my parents, there's no home any more. Camus used to say that his country was his mother. And then he no longer had a country. I have always had a home, because language is important, because I am linked to Romania through my education, and if something happened to it, I would defend it. I always start criticising others before I criticise Romania. It's the country of my birth, the place of my spiritual education. I cannot be French or Swiss."

Ana Simon. Unusual Encounters is a book that urges you to find out more about Ana Simon's life. A life like a dream. Here is Alina Mazilu:

"Each of the three authors had totally unusual encounters with Ana Simon. Each of them related to her from the perspective of their first encounter. Their encounter had surrealistic elements, I'd say. And each of them described the encounter in their own manner and style. I didn't want the book to be dry and hard to read. I wanted it to be read like a well-written novel. And I hope I succeeded in my attempt."
Publicat: 2018-10-27 11:00:00
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