"Meeting the Pied Piper in Brasov"

Finalist
Category: Video and Film
Anne-Marie Creamer
United Kingdom
website: www.amcreamer.net

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Description: In the Transylvanian town of Brasov, where the lost children of Hamlin are said to have ended their days, British artist Anne-Marie Creamer meets a group of Székey children performing an ancient dance. Director Anne-Marie Creamer Supported by Hargita Cultural Centre, Romania.

Nearly everyone knows the story of the Pied Piper. The children, who in a state of mesmerism followed the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and were said to have disappeared into a cave within a hill just outside the town. In total one hundred thirty children were lost. The mountain near Hamelin where the children disappeared really exists and is called Poppenberg. Local legend in Transylvania has it that the children emerged near the site of the old town square town of Brasov.

In September 2005 on my way to the city of Czikzederea in Transylvania to do an artist residency, I found I had to pass an hour in the small city of Brasov between changing trains, and so I made my way to this same town square only to find it full of dancing children. Struck by the strange parallel between these dancing children and the lost children of Hamlin, who were also said to have ended their days here in a sort of fantastic terrible exile, I recorded the dance to make this film.

Brasov is actually in the heart of Hungarian Székey Land, a principality of ethic Hungarians who until the end of WW1, when the Romanians forced many out, they had lived for hundreds of years. Surrounded by Ceausescu’s communist Romania, the Székey’s found ways to remember who they were by preserving old forms of dress, song and dance, such that now Hungarians in Budapest sometimes travel there so that they bear witness to an older form of ‘Hungarian-ness’ that they themselves have long forgotten.

Both this self-conscious act of self preservation through dress, dance and song, and the fictional children of the Pied Piper, themselves forever bereft of their home, signal a kind of impossible return to an place of origin that is always a kind of fiction.

About the Artist

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