PR, Films and Fantasies

Romania, the land of cccchoice…

Posted on: February 24, 2010

Either you get torn to pieces by a fluffy werewolf, get bitten by a nasty vampire or you get mocked and cheated by mysterious, two hundred year old gypsies who know all the secrets of the underworld (should I also mention the terrifying dragons we keep in our backyards – see Harry Potter).

I just came back from the Anthony Hopkins’ newest blockbuster, the Wolfman. For the ones who don’t know, there are some stereotyped, nomad gypsies in the movie, (all UK based) who speak…SURPRISE: Romanian!!!! Obviously they are the only ones who know all about werewolves, ancient legends and mystic creatures, all, somehow, related to the country.

Another funny experience (from last week) was a conversation with an Englishman in a cable car in Chamonix. He was amazed by us Romanians skiing in France and said he was invited to a wedding in Transylvania this summer. He seemed so anxious to stay near Dracula’s castle and asked us about the legends. Even if he was smiling, I could tell from his voice that he was not 100% sure that we wouldn’t bite him on the ride up or that his summer in the East would turn into a dark holiday.

Now, I don’t mind it. We deserve it and we deal with it quite well… the thing that I am trying to understand is how did it all get to this?

We had a conversation on country branding last year and laid down some of Romania’s key symbols in order to try and build some sort of image of it. We reached the conclusion that the main reason we are associated with a land of mystery and unknown is our location.

Romania is a country between the East and the West, between the Occident and Orient, between the classic and the fantasy. It is therefore a land of passage, a land “on the way” from one side to the other. Many years ago, a journey between the two parts of the world was considered a great danger and many never knew whether they would ever return home or not. It also took months to cross Europe and was usually done by dreadful horse rides. Diseases, robbers, killers, all sorts of dangers were on the roads so obviously, by the time someone arrived in Transylvania, they would be tired and scared enough to fall for ancient legends. But let’s face it, Vlad Dracul, even though a “bloodsucker” was not a vampire.

I am actually amazed by the whole publicity around our country. It’s so funny to hear people wonder about how it actually is and I was even weighting the possibility of opening a business for these morbid tourists. I sometimes wonder if anybody thought of me like being a vampire : ) Maybe I’ll start putting some powder on my face and wear some fake fangs to school just to test reactions.

I consider myself lucky for coming from such a terrifying, advetureland… However, in my 21 years I have failed to come across anything unreal… and with all my vampire frenzy lately, I would be really grateful to anyone who would point a cold, pale, sharp tooth Romanian to me.


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