Film Club: An Adventure in Space and Time
Tanisha Agarwal (batch of 2019)
I have been sitting snug in the land of the written word but is it time to trespass? I journey forth into a new land and see my dimensions realised, the site of my imaginings transposed from musty pages to the wall-screen. But for now, they are moving pictures, words in frames flitting past- a kinetoscope of sights and sounds spinning, spinning….there is something yet to be done, a giving to sanction the taking, an agency to move that has to be surrendered if the wheel is to turn and the carrot scored. Keep in mind, it is not the land I trespass but my own watchful self, standing guard.
Can it be done?
So I am putting together this patchwork memorabilia for you and surrender again, this time my request for a share of your agency: without it things will exist as you see them- and oh, wouldn’t that be such a dull world to live in!
I mentioned an adventure and I’ll deliver on that, so here goes (just keep an open mind and open heart, you’ll be set to go!). Our journey begins at the rashomon of death and decay. Questions are asked, about truth, memory, our human faculties and their liberties: you wonder which pill would you take- blue or red, dream or reality? Is there really Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind?
Or is life, as Bergman greets us head on: ‘Do some people have a greater talent for living than others? Or do some people never live, just exist?….I acquire memories and experiences but inside all that I have not even been born.’ His world is just not just one of words but eyes and faces in inescapable focus, raw emotions in the spotlight. It’s thoroughly but beautifully unsettling as is the cruising of crests and troughs; while Erice’s is a honeycomb world, mellow and silent like clear water with its sequestered current racing past.
Oh, but it’s not all crises. The light of day shines too, soft and strong on slow petals while the light of night unleashes a fragrance of turmoil. That is what the Scent of Green Papaya is, a buoy to hold us afloat, even Paterson with his life of prose and poetry, the ultimate case for stoicism; and so we drift with the infinite pleasure of our eyes closed in a moment of rest. And it doesn’t always have to make sense because it can be a saga of Fitzcarraldo’s eccentric passions finding their place in the world or, a movie in a movie about a book in a book!
Perhaps we are better off without these ripples and tidal waves in our lives, you say. To ask is to open the floodgates. But then, to ask is to forgo a life of complacence. To ask is to open your eyes. And through these foggy glasses we see a censored reality: the despair, bitterness and even the joy blinding, biting away at chunks of our vision, always. But this much we can see, so can we work with it?
There are good days and unnerving days, days when a tale of old translates into your life or when whispers of a story from a land far away turn out to be your own song. There are days of questions, days of unrest, days of answers and days of tests and of course, the days just bursting with pain and joy. My life is about making sense of life: I have been looking, and keep looking still. Sometimes you know the answers but not the questions. Sometimes, answers evade you like a memory called upon in the time of need. The pieces have to be put together and it’s all there, waiting, if you know where to look because it’s almost never just handed over. It is as Death answered Antonius Block in the Seventh Seal when the latter asked, ‘Do you know nothing?’-
‘I am unknowing’.