Thursday, February 22, 2007
This is a story about a grown up, and the silver screen: how he became a grown up at the expense of the silver screen. While he was younger (a college student, let us say), he could not bear life unless he was covering himself regularly (twice/three times per week) with the silver screen: i hope the term still signifies nicely in english, cinema. He had also developped an early dislike towards american cinema and the easy, shallow tears the movies with children and family drama (illnesses, tragical accidents, divorces, separations, departing UFOs) were bringing him. He still uses them of course in days of depression, crying his guts out on the adverse luck of Meryl Streep or something, even Barbra Streisand, no problem at that stage.
To the contrary, he loved european, japanese, australian, n.zeal. and korean (why not?) cinema. He was marking the promising titles/stories and was expecting them to appear and be screened in Thessaloniki or Athens. It was an addiction, a regular and important segment of his monthly allowance. The addiction was not just about the films, but also about the special condition of watching them in a theater, with other people around, watching their figures in the shifting light of the hall, listening to their laughter, feeling their sobbing and trying to escape at the end with them, avoiding looking at each other's eyes. A thin line between private and public.
Now, geography appeared meanwhile: the years on Amorgos- no cinema on the magical island, but it was like living in a movie, with the skies and the sea as a screen, and the constant wind as the projector. The years in Amman made things even more difficult- american movies, always american best sellers, and the annual European Film Festival as a regular occasion for ethnic communities and an arty flock to appear; a social event mostly rather than personal. DVDs are not the same. Cinema is not made for TV, or it should not.
What has been left? Breaks and vacations. Again trying to catch up with some, few samples of what has appeared in filmography. It is not easy, because every time he realizes that the ones that he would really like to watch, have been shown already or will be shown in the coming month (while there will be no break). So he rushes to second rank choices, and the first time he is about to fall asleep in the semidarkness of the theater, because even cinema needs its training, a physical condition of consciousness.
This time, I would like to mention that beautiful film by Guillermo Del Toro (Mexican I think), Pan's Labyrinth I watched, which deals with the Spanish Civil War, and the phychological retreat in legends and fairy tales. The scenery for both reality and fantasy is impressive. He admits that he was influenced by Edward Lear, the one who drew the scetches for the first edition of Lewis's "Alice in Wonderland". It is a garden for visual arts, with symbolisms and imposing images, like the ones a child imagines while listening to a fairy tale narrated by a loving adult. The moment that Ophelia dies, her elaborate fantasy takes her to salvation and relief.
Here we are with coincidences: after 5 years, I saw at the break, while trying to smoke half a cigarette and buy some pop-corn, Ioanna, my closest in Jordan at that time. Half a cigarette and an attempt to catch up with so many events, especially hers. On the way out, we recomfirmed our mobile numbers, to be forgotten perhaps somewhere between here and there, in our Labyrinth. Of course, I was carrying my keys with me, Pelagia and Voula, protecting me like a precise map.