Filantropica and Business in Bucharest

Five cent tour for Patsaks:

Youtube link and my take on the award-winning Romanian film, Filantropica (2002), directed and written by Nae Caranfil. If you ever thought to do any kind of business or investment in Romania, watch this movie three times.

On the radar, G7 leaders, bankers and statesmen try to find the right words for their concerns about a global recession. Problems in the U.S. property market do not just hit home; the impact is global.

Perhaps, a reason for some to think about making their investments in a low cost labor market such as Romania.

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Filantropica

Directed and written by Nae Caranfil, Filantropica is a Romanian film about a burned-out high school teacher and unsuccessfully aspiring writer, Ovidiu. Ovidiu makes a deal with the devil and loses his soul. But losing to the devil may not be the worst thing that could happen to you. In the end, Ovidiu’s soul is sold, but he gets a girl, a house, and a new start as a writer.

If you ever thought to do business or investment in Romania (or with Romanians), watch this movie three times.

If you can begin to understand the Romanian soul, keeping your soul is less preferable in Bucharest: Ovidiu returning to live with his parents in their dingy apartment would be a tragedy. Returning to a lonely bedroom, unfulfilled as a teacher, and crushed by a general poverty of lifestyle- these are things they know too well.

Selling Out

In the last Serbian movie (red colored gray truck) that I wrote about, a loser and a tramp are transformed into persons – persons in which we recognize a dignity and beauty that define what it means to be human. In Filantropica, Ovidiu is a decent joe with some unrealistic but beautiful aspirations. He makes some mistakes and, in trying to deal with the consequences, he loses his dignity as a person, free will and the power to defy an unlucky fate given to us by the stars.

Here’s a youtube clip from the last scene of the movie with the devil:

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Note: No english subtitles in that clip.

Fabulous life styles

Filantropica challenges our misunderstanding of humanity and reminds us of what we are really about. This is genius. In fact, the devil (Pavel Puiut played by a great Romanian actor, Gheorghe Dinica) is not the devil. Nor is he represented as the devil. He’s just another decent Bucharest Joe that figured things out some years before.

I’m unsure whether or not Filantropica upsets me because… I have played my part as devil (on my own behalf) and too many times… or I have sold my own soul long ago to my lesser ambitions.

I have lived better than our anti-hero Ovidiu: I have made love to beautiful women in their twenties when I was their senior by more than a few years. I owned Porsches, dined at the finest restaurants, drank cases and cases of wine much older than myself, traveled in style, and crushed those who annoyed me at the wrong moment- when the opportunity was there. And like Ovidiu, I often did these things with the noble-most intentions. I even made the same mistakes as Ovidiu. Perhaps, bigger and more passionately.

Man in the mirror

For me, a look at the man in the mirror is unsettling. I don’t enjoy the image of that monster that I have so easily become. My truer self is further from me than ever before. On other hand, I get things done. Turn things into gold.

So what is it that I want more than anything else? To be myself or to fulfill an endless appetite for things which delight only briefly and eventually must always disappoint? And, you?

Perhaps, the problem does not represent extreme poles as in my case. But, in fact, I know you all, and you too are far from your true selves.

Below is a link to a youtube clip of the Michael Jackson’s performance of “Man in the Mirror” at the 1988 Grammy Awards:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zpTQCQEFhg

Here’s some of the lyrics (lifted from seeklyrics.com):

I’m Gonna Make A Change,
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good,
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My
Favourite Winter Coat
This Wind Is Blowin’ My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street,
With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See
Their Needs
A Summer’s Disregard,
A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man’s Soul
They Follow Each Other On
The Wind Ya’ Know
‘Cause They Got Nowhere
To Go
That’s Why I Want You To
Know

I’m Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change
(Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change)
(Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na,
Na Nah)

Shirt or Soul?

Is it better for you to lose your shirt or soul?

Suddenly, Romania is more interesting to American companies. Stateside, the economic situation is looking down as they say. Meanwhile, the apparent low cost labor market is obviously attractive. Too bad, Western Europeans got clear on this about three years ago. Anyway, its ok to come here now that Europeans have stopped laughing at the falling of the American Dollar.

Note: low cost labor market = you can pay people less than back home because they are used to a poverty lifestyle anyway.

Kicking our ass with the Euro and enjoying that long-awaited revenge has come at a high price. The latest G7 statement means that everyone begins to hope that things work out for the US. They know they can’t avoid the hit after we take the hit.

G7 doesn’t know enough

Regarding the poor performance of the US property market, official losses are reported to be over $100 billion across world banks (not World Bank). Let’s be frank, the problem is many times more challenging than anyone will admit officially. At the moment, G7 doesn’t really know how deep the shit is.

They are putting pressure on the banks to tell them the real deal. The brains will have to have a clearer picture before they start coordinating a fine-tuning of the global economy. The ECB (European Central Bank) now realizes that it put the US at risk (and potentially the world) with its strong drive to raise the Euro’s value far above the Dollar.

As Sergeant Shultz of the Hogan’s Heroes sitcom would say, “I know nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

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Stan Faryna
February 10, 2008
Sofia, Bulgaria

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FEED UPON other popular posts by Stan Faryna:

>> Outsourcing
>> Great Websites
>> IAB Europe
>> Online Strategy
>> Open Source

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Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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