Made in Transilvania
Transylvanian unique wood carving buildings are included in the UNESCO World heritage list.
Romania is “waking up” from the past. Art and wood work is becoming a national signature, a special way to tell story about a society and a different way to restore collective trauma. Romanians still are finding a way to deal with their collective consciousness and collective story. Romania has become part of the European Union. In the region of Maramures people have discovered that their traditional craftsmanship has something that the modern part of Europe lacks.
“Made in Transilvania” is a film about a living paradox and a dying craft, about manmade work and the passing of time. The Brazilian anthropologist, Aparecida de Souza Schmidt-Madsen and the Romanian business student, Diana Voicu have joined forces to portray the unique craft from the region of Maramures. Here, traditional carpentry is still thriving, a craft, that is rapidly dying in the rest of Europe and America. The local craftsmen export their wood constructions as far as to U.S.A. and Canada: churches, city gates, houses. The film follows a group of carpenters, constructing a wooden church to be exported – and follow the men as the stacks of timber are loaded on a truck and driven across the border, to be rebuilt in Moncalieri, in Italy.
THE MAIN PROTAGONISTS
Toader Barsan, born in 1944. Barsans family has been working with wood for three generations, yet Barsan has taken the ancient craft to new levels. Barsan is renowned for his original sculpturing, constructing, among other things, a chain made out of a single piece of wood. To Barsan, the wood is alive, and his carvings hold many traditional symbols, like the sun that gives life, the snake head that protects, the tree of life, that symbolizes the eternal life and the link between the past, present and future, and the twisted rope, representing infinity, link between earth and sky. “God likes us being united, to work together, to help each other”, Barsan says. Like the wooden chain made out of a single piece of wood.
Mihai Bledea 44 year’s old, former chef. Mihai have had a passion for wood for all his life: “Before I worked as a chef I had the love for wood, I loved wood and slowly I started making some objects and landmarks out of wood, which stay … we can say that they will remain in the history of Maramures.” Mihai never had a teacher or a mentor – yet today he constructs large wooden buildings. The wood he works with is oak and he is glad and proud to that his work will last for centuries. “We are tradition keepers and this is the way we were born and we will die.”