On the Sunday of St. Thomas I spoke for the last time with mister professor. Lately, I could make little of his words, his condition deteriorated quickly, but the message was clear, short and effective as a cold steel cut, as clear and synthetic as he used to write, to speak, to give feedback in class or advice to a younger screenwriter. I stammered and improvised awkwardly – I didn’t have his experience in writing or in pain…
I was his student, assistant and, dare I say it, friend. He told me things he did not share with others, he was very discreet, modest and accustomed to living the great suffering of life alone. He carried his own cross without complaining, accompanied it only with pipe, tobacco, coffee, a huge number of books and movies and, more recently, the classical music he listened to on YouTube – you wouldn’t say about Cara – as his friend and colleague, George Littera, the other great leader of the writing school about and for cinema, used to call him – that he will adapt so well to the new media.
He read a lot and amazed me every time with the clarity of judgment, kept until the last days. He was aware of everything that was important and for me everything I learned from him was first hand, as during my student days. We were two philologists separated by half a century – but through him I realized that the School of Literature had not been a form without roots… The discussions about Roman Jakobson and Genette, about Pasolini and Godard were for me a feast in a McDonaldized world.
I remember him at the editing table in room 208A at Matei Voievod and I see him every time in the thick gray wool sweater and with a pipe in his hand – the figure illuminated by the stop-sequence frame at which he stopped to analyze, with the special effect of the blue smoke rising on the walls of the institution where today there is no smoking.
He guided many generations and even if he was not always understood, if he sometimes seemed hermetic, or did not have an audience at his academic height, he was loved. Proof are the dozens of students who crossed the threshold of his internal exile, some of them, such as Anca Florescu and Mihaela Michailov until the last days. Pandemic days, strange days, days of the dawn of a new world of which Dumitru Carabăț can’t be a part of. Today, I wrote to Steven Maras, in Sydney, “Dear Steven, Dumitru is no longer with us.” They longed to know each other, read and respect each other, Steven had accepted my request to review the English version of Carabăț’s Poetics and was fascinated by a voice he had never heard before, beyond the Wall.
Prof. univ. dr. Honoris Causa Dumitru Carabăț, founder of the Romanian school of screenwriting, author of fundamental books on the theory of adaptation (From Word to Image) and screenplay (Towards a Poetics of Screenplay), one of the most important teachers in the Romanian film school, left us on the evening of May 13th. Former students, UNATC faculty and administrators, film school teachers and friends mourn the disappearance of a Man who, discreetly, marked our existence. The Film Screenwriting Department, the professors from the screenwriting department, all trained by Professor Carabăț, are today alone and lacking a fundamental landmark.
Rest in peace, mister professor…
Lucian Georgescu | CINEPUB | may 2020
Cinepub is in mourning, which is why the premiere announced for today will no longer take place. We will soon return with a selection from Dumitru Carabăț’s filmography, through the goodwill and support of CNC and the National Film Archive, as a last and insignificant homage to Cara.