Freedom through Arts
Dream Big and #BEFREE
The Festival of Arts, initiated 4 years ago by the FNF, united this year nine performances from Moldova, Romania, Austria and Germany.
#BEFREE FEST is a concept that started 4 years ago, with a discussion on the corruption problems through the show presented by the Satiricus Theatre in Chisinau – “Made in Moldova”. It continued as the idea of approaching the most urgent and even painful problems the contemporary society has got through arts. Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Romania and Moldova was the one that believed in this concept since the very beginning! This year we have had an international festival of contemporary arts already, which represented an important event for Chisinau, not only due to the free entrance, which was a generous way of inviting people to the festival, but also for the plays that could be found in the program. The festival took place for a week, from the 28th of October until the 3rd of November, and hundreds of people had the chance to attend more than 9 shows and movies that were united under the motto “the power of freedom”.
The first evening was special due to the guests that came from Berlin, Germany. The Total Brutal Company and Nir de Volff brought to us the show “Come as you are #2”. The most important is that they did not come to answer, but to ask significant questions about the identity some should accept and adapt to the environment in order to be accepted. Each of us can be forced by the consequences to mutilate themselves in order to be safe, but is this a free world where we need to do this in order to live, and would that be a happy life?
The second evening of the festival came as an answer to the first, where Trigon Band made a wonderful musical demonstration of how important is freedom, in order to stay creative and also, what can a brain be capable of, when it is left to. The music that comes from the folklore of the Balkans was transformed into jazz rhythms with a lot of instruments and interesting harmonies.
For the third evening, the audience had the chance to attend two shows that worked as a mirror one for another. The first one, presented by the Totem Free Theatre, was a play based on some short fragments from Pushkin’s stories and translations. They illustrate some characters that pretend their directness to be freedom. The way they think is limited to some basic ideas or necessities and the fact that they are stuck in a plug and free to do anything does not save any of them neither help them to evolve.
On the other side we have another show, based on the production „12 angry men”, directed by Slava Sambriș, who confronts the laws with the truth. Having doubts regarding your own opinions can also be an advantage for the whole society, as a human being should always remember that he is convicted of error. In this case, being free is having an open mind and never let stereotypes deprive anyone of their rights and truth.
For the fourth day of the festival, the public was given the power to decide the destinies of the characters they were watching on the stage. The director of the show “Puzzle”, Ianoș Petrașcu, came with an interesting idea that made that performance of physical theatre become similar to a video game. This experiment was supposed to show the influence of the society on someone’s life and on the decisions that people make. The pressure that each of us feels while taking a decision is the inner conflict between what are we expected to do and what would we truly like to choose. A very acute problem this century is supposed to find a solution for.
Those two movies people could attend on the 1st of November, the 5th day of the festival, were somehow related to the same idea of an environment that is too powerful to let the individual be independent. Alina Grigore directed the movie “Blue moon” which is transferring to the audience the toxic atmosphere of Irina’s family, the main character. So we could learn about the price of freedom through its restriction. The same feeling of prohibition, but on a bigger scale could be followed in the story about the deported people from Moldova to Siberia in 1949. “Siberia in the bones”, directed by Leontina Vatamanu restores some hided and painful memories about the people that were accused of just being alive. Such a terrific political system is unacceptable, it should have been sentenced, and should never be tolerated again, because it violates any of the human rights and builds an awful future for too many generations ahead.
Speaking of generations, the 6th day of the festival offered to the public a show that cannot be easily forgotten. “The House”, after a play of M. Gorki, directed by Dumitru Acriș, is acting like a time bomb. The tension invades the whole theatre and by the end of the play, each of the people who spent two hours on that stage (because the public becomes a part of this house) feels a release that his or her life is not even nearly that bad, or decides to never tolerate such a situation for them. Both of the conclusions are good and right. This show speaks about a problem we are afraid to discuss – the parents that, by having their own traumas, make their kids emotional and social invalids. Such a psychological jail is much more dangerous than a physical one.
The last day of this festival full of diversity presented to us the Body Architects Company, from Viene, Austria with the show “Life below water”. Nevertheless we can see even an ecological problem that pops up here, the most significant for the festival was the element related to the process of adaptation. The capacity to adapt is not always the same with the flexibility, that’s why these two concepts were represented in a very interesting manner. The performers brought some new ways of moving their bodies, and this was quite challenging for the people in the audience to let their mind wander and listen to the emotions and feelings that were much more quickly in deciphering the message of the show.
This year, all those wonderful 7 evenings became possible thanks to a lot of friends and partners who contributed and helped with the organization, bringing foreign shows and movies and taking care of the public, to have the best experience. They are many and worth mentioning - Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in collaboration with Goethe-Zentrum Chisinau and Goethe-Institut Bukarest; "Mihai Eminescu" Romanian Cultural Institute; National Cultural Institutes of the European Union (EUNIC); Swiss Cooperation Office / Representation of the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in the Republic of Moldova; Austrian Embassy in Chisinau; UNHCR-Moldova; Laboratory of Initiatives for Development (LID Moldova); OWH Studio; Mileștii Mici Winery.
The festival was intensively promoted as well on different online platforms and media shows, which was a good chance for the audience to meet the participants and organizers through interviews and coverages.
The whole festival was a huge challenge for all, the organizers and the public, and actually this was the most valuable thing about this week – to open your mind and heart to new visions, new ideas, new ways of thinking and new people that may be different, but whose distinctive identity comes to complete the concept of a planet that treasures its complexity and sees beauty not only in those things that are similar, but even more in those that are the opposite.