"That Romania has been chosen as a guest of honor at the Turin Book Fair is a sign of its new position in the global cultural landscape and represents great hope for the future". This is how Norman Manea, a famous writer born in Suceava who now lives in the United States, expressed himself as one of the many prestigious names of the XXV edition of the just ended Exhibition, and certainly the presence of this country wanted to communicate something important.
First foreign minority in the city with around 80.000 representatives, and beyond 135.000 in Piedmont, in this spring Romania is absolute protagonist of the Turin cultural panorama: the week before the opening of the show, in fact, the Cinema Massimo dedicated an entire festival to it centered on all the new names in contemporary cinema. "ROMANIA-ITALY: the contemporary Romanian film in Turin", hosting representative films for contemporary Romanian cinema, from Aurora by Cristi Puiu to East of Bucharest by Corneliu Porumboiu, from California Dreamin 'by Cristian Nemescu to Tuesday, After Christmas by Radu Muntean and many others, gave us an idea of the spectacular revival of cinema in this country after the stagnation of the 90 years (the theater is certainly not less, and we hope there will soon be opportunities to appreciate it).
At the Salone del Libro, on the other hand, there is clear evidence of how Romania has enriched itself with lively publishing houses and cultural magazines and important institutions such as the Enescu Festival and the same Romanian Cultural Institute, which in collaboration with other bodies has coordinated all planned activities. All spokespersons of a new cultural season, which has been able to recover quite quickly after a censorship lasting decades under a despotic system that kept every single word under control, with - typical of every dictatorship - ideological pressures and exemplary punishments for its artists in case "it was needed".
The past, which still makes its weight felt as inevitable as it is in the ambivalent feelings of hatred and love, nostalgia and revenge of the Romanian people: from this past new voices, new themes and new impulses were born. The intensification of contacts with the outside world, at first almost non-existent or in any case very limited and controlled, the freedom to express oneself finally available to those who have something to say, the general change in social and economic conditions, and the new generation of artists is an incredibly eloquent mirror. At the show we got to know translators, editors, professors, literary critics, Italianists and well 23 writers, from Norman Manea to Ana Blandiana, from Dan Lungu to Mircea Cartarescu, from Rasvan Popescu to Gabriela Adamesteanu to Doina Rusti, to name but a few . A vast program of cultural events coordinated by theRomanian Cultural Institute of Bucharest, through the National Book Center and the Romanian Institute of Culture and Humanistic Research in Venice, a completely innovative and interactive national Stand to make public and specialists the protagonists of the discovery of a country of which we still know very little, if it is true that -as Oana Patraucean rightly points out, a cultural mediator recalling that "The Turinese consider us all carers and masons, or alternatively poorly educated delinquents" - the idea of Romania is still closely linked to a series of well-established prejudices.
The picture that emerges from these intense days is completely different, and drives us to deepen our knowledge of a land that we see rich in culture and important names, gurus in their land, often still unknown to most here in Italy. And proud of the opportunity to be able to make oneself known - finally - in a context different from that of the "little educated non-EU citizen" (when most people have a degree instead, and Romania has been part of the EU for five years) , the Turin community wants to reverse these negative prejudices once and for all. «There is emotion and anger. We are far beyond the stereotypes with which you represent us. We will demonstrate this by letting you know our art in these days, "commented Ioana Antoniu, a Romanian language professor in various schools in Turin, expressing with her words a feeling common to all the residents of our city:" simply "integration, union between preservation of one's roots, diffusion of a culture often unknown to Italians and adaptation to the host society. Moreover, as the president of the Romanian Cultural Institute, Horan-Roman Patapievici, points out, the intent is not to export the culture of the country, but rather to put it in contact with other cultures ("starting with Italy, he adds, with which we have a deep sentimental bond for our belonging to Latinity ")." We feel we are Italian citizens, but we do not want to forget our history. We are a piece of the European Community, the eastern end of Latinity », explains Lucian Rosu, Orthodox parish priest of the Church of Santa Croce, in piazza Carlina, who in his twenty years in Turin saw his community grow exponentially of faithful. Turin, moreover, today is the Italian city that has the largest presence of Romanians: "This sign of cultural openness is important", continues Rosu, and in fact Romania's participation as a guest country at the Salone del Libro aims precisely to mark an important moment in the promotion of Romanian culture in Italy.
Roberto Merlo, lecturer and researcher of Romanian Literature at the University of Turin, underlines in fact the efforts that are being made in recent years to invest in Romanian culture and its image outside national borders, even though it is known as often-despite, it is it is obvious that the community is not very involved in the activities that should arouse the most interest: it explains precisely how «often the cultural initiatives promoted by Romania and by the many associations, which are also of a high level, fail to reach a large audience of immigrants who dedicate their life to work and have little time for anything else. »The rich and interesting program of the Salone, however, managed to involve everyone, certainly the Romanian public but also the Turin public in general. The presences, in fact, this year have far exceeded those of the previous editions, and we hope that these five intense days of debates, readings, round tables and numerous activities have at least sown authentic curiosity and free from preconceived ideas about a country to us ever closer. Between Latin roots and oriental religiosity, the gaze of Romania is now more than ever turned to the west, with talents of great mastery who deserve to be listened to and followed, if a hundred years ago as today a thought of the great musician George Enescu is still present today. : "If the government and the politics of Romania reach the level of our artistic life, we could consider ourselves one of the happiest countries in the world"