In 2007 three Slovenian citizens, a performance artist, a theater director and an artist joined the ruling Conservative Party: The SDS. Later that year they all changed their names to Janez Jansa which “co-incidentally” was the name of the the leader of SDS and the right leaning Prime Minister of Slovenia. They all three went about their lives as Janez Jansa, collectively gaining quite a bit of media and public attention in Slovenia and eventually world-wide.
Being artists, the three newly minted Janez’ pondered the meaning of their deliberate appellation re-designation, and eventually were inspired to co-create a very interesting movie staring: Janez Jansa, Janez Jansa, Janez Jansa and Janez Jansa. This movie is an in-depth and compelling exploration of the old adage: “what’s in a name?” Dozens of people, many sharing the same name and virtually nothing else, are interviewed about how they believe their names have affected their lives since birth. You will be surprised to find out what the filmmakers learn about names and what they have to do with the named.
I had the good fortune to see this movie while I was presenting my book Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society at The Influencers Festival in Barcelona last November. I also met Janez Jansa! (the performance artist, not the Prime Minister..)
I was compelled to ponder my name and how it was almost a separate entity, while being perhaps the most obvious expression of who I am to the world at large. Admittedly, being named John Law (a pejorative meaning police in the central states) at birth and growing up primarily in the Mid-West insured many “A Boy Named Sue” moments in my young life. Even so, watching this movie will get you thinking about just what YOUR name has meant to you and your development, opportunities and accomplishments over the course of your life. I highly recommend seeing it.
Screening of My Name is Janez Jansa at:
more screenings: http://www.mynameisjanezjansa.com/?page_id=156