Month: March 2009

Bergman on Persona

A sort of truth-crisis that made me feel suddenly that I had to take a stand. What is truth and when does one tells the truth? It became so difficult that I thought the only form of truth is silence. And in the end, going a step further, I discovered that it, too, was a kind of mask. The need is to find a step beyond.

– Bergman on Persona


My Turkish Library – Orhan Pamuk

I regret that I have not been able to shake off the enlightenment utilitarian idea that books exist to prepare us for life. Perhaps this is because a writer’s life in Turkey is proof that they are. But it also has something to do with the fact that in those days Turkey lacked the sort of large library where you could easily locate any book you wanted. In Borges’s imaginary library, every book takes on a mystical aspect, and the library itself offers intimations of a poetic and metaphysical infinity, echoing the complexity of the world outside; behind this dream are real libraries with more books than can ever be counted or read. Borges was the director of one such library in Buenos Aires. But when I was young there was no comparable library in Istanbul or all of Turkey. As for books in foreign languages, not a single public library had these. If I wanted to learn everything that there was to be learned, and become a wise person and so escape the constraints of the national literature—imposed by the literary cliques and literary diplomacy, and enforced by stifling prohibitions—I was going to have to build my own great library.


Now the summer has passed

Now the summer has passed.
It might never have been.
It is warm in the sun,
But it isn’t enough.

All that might’ve occurred
Like a five-fingered leaf
Fluttered into my hands,
But it isn’t enough.

Neither evil nor good
Has yet vanished in vain,
It all burned and was light,
But it isn’t enough.

Life has been as a shield,
And has offered protection.
I have been most fortunate,
But it isn’t enough.

The leaves were not burned.
The boughs were not broken,
The day clear as glass,
But it isn’t enough.

– Arseny Tarkovsky

Good news for Bolano lovers

Two new novels by the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño have reportedly been found in Spain among papers he left behind after his death….[…]..It follows the discovery of another novel, entitled The Third Reich, which was shown to publishers at the Frankfurt book fair in October.
Publication of the books would add to the number of works by Bolaño due to appear over the next few years; the English translations of three novels and four collections of stories are already scheduled for the end of 2011.


Remorse For Any Death

Free of memory and of hope,
limitless, abstract, almost future,
the dead man is not a dead man: he is death.
Like the God of the mystics,
of Whom anything that could be said must be denied,
the dead one, alien everywhere,
is but the ruin and absence of the world.
We rob him of everything,
we leave him not so much as a color or syllable:
here, the courtyard which his eyes no longer see,
there, the sidewalk where his hope lay in wait.
Even what we are thinking,
he could be thinking;

we have divvied up like thieves
the booty of nights and days.

— Jorge Luis Borges

Hiroshima My Love

Whenever one talks about Alain Resnais, his exploration of subjective memory of past events takes thiroshima_mon_amourhe centre stage. I haven’t seen any of his movies except for Hiroshima My love. It’s not only subjective memory of the past but also subjectivity as a whole which concerns him, coupled with fragile nature of time n memory engraved in existential dilemmas.

The opening sequence shows an extreme closeup of a pair of naked torsos of two lovers embracing each other, with a glint of snowy ash  n sweat on them. As the scene progresses images of the aftermath of Hiroshima bombing are shown. A female voiceover emerges talking about Hiroshima as the images appear on screen. The voiceovers n the images give the opening sequence a poetic rhythm. As she talks about the images, which could be her memories also, the male (or the lover) repeatedly says that she “saw nothing of Hiroshima”. The poetic narrative is cut short as the camera moves to show the faces of the lovers.

The lady is in Hiroshima for a movie on ‘Peace’ and the young man was an Architect from there. Their rendezvous extends as the young man requests her to stay or at least meet again before she leaves tomorrow. Then they meet again at her work place after her work is over. Images of Hiroshima and its aftermath visit again as a procession pass though. She experiences few uneasy moments during that procession. Now after that they sit at a restaurant, drinking, where she starts telling him about her past, her first love in the city of Nevers in Paris. Earlier the young man had complained her of him not know much about her also. Their relationship till now had been fleeting yet bordering on something serious. Now the main intent of the movie comes forward.

She begins her story, talking about her German lover during the war and the subsequent traumatic experience after his death. The narration by her moves in a non chronological fashion, at times she confuses the young man as the German lover during the traumatic events in the cellar that her family imposed upon her part due to embarrassment and part due to her behaviour at that time. The experience as she presents to the young man is more of an analogy of our, hers or anybody’s understanding of Hiroshima or any other event. The present and past submerge, with things moving in a non chronological manner make time looses meaning. Perceptions and memori es, layer together to, produce an experience that constantly moves in time. The scene where the young Architect rejoices on the fact that he’s the first person whom she has told the Nevers tale, refrences to our own jubilatio n of coming to know and understand something in past which we may have never experienced ourselves (or may be we have), something like say Hiroshima. As things move in the night she tries to leave, but the young man keeps on following her. Interesting to observe is the distance that befalls between them even as they sit in the same place. Be it the old women separating them at the railway station or both sitting on separate tables in the restaurant (different one from the earlier restaurant) as the dawn approaches. This distancing more or less refers to the gap between ones understanding/perception of anything vis-a-vis the actual happening, or even the subjective understanding of something by two separate beings. Till the end she doesn’t agrees to stay back. The movie ends with her telling him that “Hiroshima. That’s your name.” And his reply “That’s my name. Yes. Your name is Nevers. Nevers in France.”

A good review talking about the film’s contrivbution in the French New Wave and the impact on cinema coming after that.

A Lie

At the dawn of 24th century the world had gone very advanced. Advanced to the level that science fiction as genre had ceased to exist. It all started a century back with the success of Richbard Downking’s Neural geneprop project. It paved the way for successfully transmitting information via genes to the next generation. Simply put, now a child could be born with all the information in the world. There were few apprehensions about how a new born will respond to that sort of information which were proved true as the correlation between the mental and the physical quotient went haywire. Also this achievement meant the end of childhood and growing up. It was Dawnking who again came to the rescue of the world and swept the popular vote in favour of saving the childhood. The Neural Geneprop project went to a new level wherein a mechanism was devised so that the information was decrypted from genes as per a set pattern as the age progressed. The rate and pattern of decryption was such that it always satisfied any curious question even before it took form in the child’s mind.

The world by then had reached the pinnacle of technological advancement in almost all respects. There was no scope for further improvement in anything. Owing to the high levels of advancements, things seldom changed.
As a natural outcome of this people had stopped communicating as there was no need to know anything. Everything followed set patterns, known to everyone. Just the mention of a few features of a person’s life and you could tell almost anything about his past, present or future.

One day there came a man in a city, of almost mute and disinterested people, called Indostralia. Some say he didn’t come from anywhere but was there all the time, it was just that he wore a uniform which used to give away his profession, which was enough to know everything about him. So nobody bothered knowing him.

Then one day he started something which was then to change everything about the world around. He started calling people randomly, giving them false names and false information. Everything he talked about was a lie, a fantasy, a figment of his imagination, miles away from the actual reality. Initially most of the people used to bang the phone down, but he didn’t stop. Every day there used to be few people who sort of liked the light hearted exchange, since this came as a welcome break from their monotonous existence. These people then also started calling randomly.
Slowly this phenomenon swept the whole city. People were now seen on their phones almost all the times, talking hours in and out, cooking up things. Nobody saved anybody’s number, which almost went as an unwritten law. People started changing their number every second day, which was then superseded by mobile companies providing the option of dynamic number which changed every time somebody called somebody. Understandably people didn’t do this while meeting one another as the benefit of anonymity would then be lost.

The identity of the person who started all this is still unknown. May be some people did know him in the beginning but it got lost in this whole cooking up business. Though there’s a long standing rumour which most of the people believe. It says that he was then, when it all started; the marketing trainee and now the CEO of AirYell, who single handedly revived the almost dead Mobile telephony market.