Archive for October, 2011

A temple with a thousand faces

Posted in log on October 18, 2011 by isidor

There is one picture that hides many secrets from me. It wasn’t shot by me, and I wasn’t even there; when I got there, I was a few hours late. Or perhaps, a lifetime late.

I believe this same picture still haunts the girl who shot it, though in a completely different manner, for reasons I will not state.

I cannot say that I loved her. I cannot, even though I wanted to; my actions, my inconclusiveness and one dreadful, horrible, revealing mistake tell a different story, which had turned me into somebody who could not morally bring himself to pursue her. And rightly so, for she deserved much more.

Yet, the night of the photo, I found myself pursuing her, not metaphorically. She had gone out with somebody, and an error in communication on her part had made it appear to us as if something had gone wrong.
For the friends with me, that photo perhaps means an evening spent in anxiety. But I cannot say for sure.
And so, while the others asked around the hostel, I rushed out searching, and ran, ran, ran, whilst the Tokyo summer heat drenched me in sweat.

The truth was, I was not worried, not in the common sense. When, at the end of it all, she phoned and I came back to the hostel, they told me I had looked really anxious. I told them they were wrong and they laughed it off. They had misunderstood really, for I really had known all along, deep inside me, that she wasn’t in danger.

Before this happened, while I was still running, the picture had unfolded inside my mind.

A lovely story of them walking, laughing merrily as the gentle breeze from the Sumida river sifted through their hair. And then holding hands in front of the Sensou temple, and perhaps timidly entering a love hotel, looking into each others eyes, everything so full of love. All of this in my dreary, dirty, useless imagination. So much that I knew I wouldn’t have found her, and I didn’t want to either. She was having the time of her life, she was happy, how could I?
Yet, I could only keep running, and asking around, as if part of my mind wanted to keep up the pretence that she had been kidnapped by a lowly hostel-dwelling maniac.
To this day, I don’t really know what went on exactly that evening, and never will, neither it does matter, except that she went out with said person; at the time curiosity, instead of jealousy, was eating me alive, for reasons I do not yet fully understand. I know I am a spectator in life, and probably things will not change. I know that it was a night she won’t forget, and that’s that.

After a bit of running I was notified, by phone, that after all she wasn’t in danger. I stopped to catch my breath. I was inside the temple, right next to where the photo had been taken, some time before.
I still ran, this time back to the hostel. They were crossing the bridge. I ran past.

And the day after that, we took a plane back home, a bubble burst. I remember crying, and her holding my hand. Pathetic and silly, could be, but it was one of those time when I felt something.

The memory is faded now. It does not pain, nor affect me as much anymore, and I don’t think I want to forget it. It says a lot about who I am, a person who doesn’t know how to, where to, when to, why to pursue. Me and her are still friends; I am really glad it is so. It has been enough time for me to elaborate, without wanting to go back, and change things.

But still.. how can you create so big a void in so little time?

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Chega de Saudade

Posted in film on October 12, 2011 by isidor

Chega de Saudade, a 2007 Brazilian movie by director Laís Bodanzky was perhaps the most surprising I’ve seen lately. Strangely enough, its strongest point is being about old people, and in a (more or less) romantic context. I cannot remember any other film going so much into detail, visually and narratively, about the detriments of old age, and then findng a way to overcome them through music and poetry.

Dying men showing off their scars as survival trophies.

It doesn’t try hard to be realistic, yet it couldn’t be more down to earth and manage to capture a world; an invisible one that defies most story telling devices. It is both scrutinizing and sentimental, yet not gloppy.

Not without a tinge of jealousy..

If that weren’t enough, the movie doesn’t focus on a single, or a few character, but spreads its attention out to a whole cast of Brazilian former movie stars, effectively translating the ballroom environment into a complex enseble of interactions, with a mastery similar to Forman’s Loves of a Blonde or Black Peter.

.. or somewhat sarcastic horror.

“crawling on the planet’s face, tiny insects called the human race, lost in time, and lost in space – and meaning”

Posted in ramble on October 9, 2011 by isidor

Slow times and fast times alternate as part of one’s life. Slow times are what scare me most, as I realize I am afraid of the times we live in.
With a clouded mind I stare at a world that keeps growing without knowning where it is going; comfortably rich individuals dispersing themselves in a sea of trash that keeps growing, followed by the millions paupers trying to jump onto the same boat, unaware that it’s a sinking one.

Economic growth is becoming a nightmare, as much as the mentality that is being created; what is more, we have never been this conscious of our surroundings, yet utterly unable to divert our route, while trailing everybody else with us.

Information and awareness grow steadily, unmatched by a corresponding reaction. The greatest illusion is that of “green” growth, or of being able to continue our activities, unaltered and uncut, in a sustainable fashion. Not only it is wishful thinking and entirely too slow to take place, but a refusal of individual responsibility over what is happening, shifting it wholly somewhere else, in a place high up where we have no immediate influence. The biggest concern is perhaps not the speed at which we consume resources against the adoption of green technology, but the speed at which world population grows to include a new generation of fresh consumerists; the old one is merely beginning to realize its mistakes! What is the kind of face you will make when telling those deforesting the Amazon region to stop, because we have consumed all of our own forests already?

There is the environmental matter, over which much has been said, rightly so; and then there is a teleological one. How can we accept to be another piece of the puzzle (or brick in the wall) when we know it is to build a new Tower of Babel, no end in sight? There is an incredible amount of unscientific talk, that views humanity on a separate level from the animal kingdom, entirely on the account that we do not act according to instincts. Can we say that we are defying our neverending growth fetish, when we are all blindly rushing towards it? Perhaps we have a will as single persons, but as a whole, we act as a single, overreaching, blind creature. Starting as children we are taught that accumulation is life, zero growth is death; We have put so much into this concept that the idea of consistency and stability are missing entirely. Always wanting more without a limit is simply a filler for the meaning of our lives, which we only notice to be missing in the worst of times.
And I’m really no different. I’m still to afraid to commit myself to a life outside this vicious circle, to destroy the comfortable cradle that has been built around me, knowing that I won’t be making a difference. The same identical reason is stopping all the others.

Perhaps what I have written is stale, obvious, reiterated ad nauseam and hypocritical. Not any good to convince anybody; the real reason it is here, is in its being a reminder to myself. A reminder that I cannot act as if nothing is going on, and will soon need to make my move. For how insignificant..