Merle Kröger

Izadora’s master plan (English)
Berlin, January 2016

At the margins of the film, the wild girl in the pink jacket develops into a camera-shy teenager. AND-EK GHES… – the title – contains many promises, many stories and also hers and mine.

Noami is her ‘Roma name’; Izadora is her official one. Noami and I meet in 2011 on a hot August day in the courtyard of her grand mother’s house in Fața Luncii, the district in Romania’s Craiova region that is her home. Noami with her little sister on her arm. ‘Naomi?’ I ask, ‘Like Naomi Campbell?’ ‘Noami,’ her beloved grandma corrects. The transposed letters remain. I no longer know how it actually starts; we had no common language, but somehow we arrive at the topic of India. Noami’s changes of costume during that day, on which we crouch in the shadow of the house as if in an oven while the men shoot the film Revision inside, are fastpaced. She stages her own casting show, because a path to India, to Bollywood, seems to lead through me. The glittering dresses, the moves à la Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra have become blurred images in memory. In focus is her gaze: demanding, inquiring, loving, strict. At the end of this first day, she gives me a hair clip and steals my heart.

Today I also know her version of the story. Three years after our first encounter, we suddenly face one another in Berlin: shy like strangers, palpitations, a bashful glance, curiosity. No words. The camera becomes a means of communication.

Noami shows me what she and her brothers have shot, we laugh and we try to exchange thoughts.

An eternity went by before Noami was finally permitted to go to school. I remember the day we discovered the magic of a common language: ‘The day when you came into my house...’ she begins quietly but with determination. Suddenly I feel I’m part of a master plan – one that we ‘adults’ merely carry out, but that is concocted behind this pair of eyes viewing me critically.

‘One day...’ or something like that, I promised her back then in Romania, ‘maybe you’ll travel to India. Who knows?’ AND-EK GHES… – One day... We make cautious travel plans. By the way, she wants to be called Izadora.