A Bulgarian Movie With Japanese Subtitles
In the memory of Onat Kutlar, the founder of Turkish Cinémathèque
who used to claim: A genuine movie lover relishes the cinematography
independent of the language of the dubbing or subtitles.
Anything tastes more delicious when you skip some dull classes.
Both are enjoying their plain pilaf and yogurt;
The eatery is out of black pepper and chicken soup.
The topic of the day: the Ottoman Empire
And its shadow theater, Karagöz.
Young man: an oppressive tool to ridicule ethnic minorities.
Young woman: a liberating medium to express diverse ethnicities.

Before long they take their seats,
In the half-dark auditorium on the next block
Putting on their glasses as serious connoisseurs.
A Bulgarian movie with Japanese subtitles.

The elderly volunteer, an emeritus professor
From Eastern European Literature and Languages,
In the first row all by himself,
Translates softly to a poorly tuned microphone:
Young Hero: Individual irrelevant, the Party the only thing important.
Young Heroine: Without romantic love, even the Proletariat insignificant!

Something wrong with me, they think separately,
Terribly wanting to be somewhere else.
They would not admit in the heart of their hearts though
That social realism is – maybe not kitsch, but – extremely boring.

At the end, as the oriental letters cover
The face of the partisan dying in the arms of his lover,
The professor whispers to the poorly tuned microphone:
They cannot resist any more: they are now kissing.

They do not laugh.
They too are now kissing.