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Sapna Anu B. George

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Suuny Joseph _ The Cinematographer-Cinema is LOVE 24 times per second
Friday, February 28, 2003  4:26:00 AM

by Sapna Anu B. George

[Seminar paper presented at the International Seminar on Film and Philosophy, organized by Department of Philosophy, Calicut University, Kerala.]

Expression of their love for others.It was about 20 yIn this unique gathering of lovers of cinema and lovers of knowledge, first of all, I would like to play a message from one of the greatest writers of all time: Lev Tolstoy[Playing of Lev Tolstoy's voice.]"We cannot live like this!Cannot live like this!Cannot! Cannot!Farewell...With love for you,Tolstoy"At some point of time in our own lives, we artists and philosophers always realizes this and begin on a journey seeking truth and salvation. We see that most of the humanity is suffering materially and spiritually. We ask many questions on our very existence in this world. We propose many answers. And hopefully we guide others to a higher awareness, which will help others to see the reality of 'matter' and 'spirit' a little bit more clearly. We are the magicians who are capable of transmitting the spirituality of the 'now' and 'eternity'. That makes us utterly responsible too. For every true artist and philosopher their creation becomes the ultimate ears ago, that, I came across the following statement by the great French filmmaker, Francois Truffat: “Tomorrow’s Cinema will be an act founded on LOVE."That was before I joined as a student at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. This one line had such a tremendous impact on me. I was curious, not only because I was trying to experience cinema in those directions, but also believed that as a filmmaker, my films would be my ultimate expression of my love for my fellow beings. It is more than 25 years now, that I am trying to become a filmmaker. All that I have learned from these 25 years, as a film student and as a practicing cinematographer, experiencing cinema from the point of view of a teenager to a middle aged man, makes me say to you with absolute conviction that "Cinema is Love 24 times per second."Born and brought up as a Christian, in my teenage days I wanted to become a priest in our Parish. It was so natural that the first filmmaker who would influence me at that time will be Ingmar Bergman. I too was angry with God, terrified by the frequent quarrels of my parents' etc. Before joining the FTII Bergman became the essence of Cinema for me. As an ardent philosophical vagabond, during my first year at the institute it was Krsyztof Zanussi [with whom I had the opportunity to participate in his new film, "Life As A Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease"] and Federico Fellini [whose 8 1/2, which taught me a lot about cinema and life, I still remember the wonder of childhood depicted in this film - "Asa Nisi Masa"], who became my bosom friends. That does not mean that I abandoned my companionship with Bergman. It was all becoming more wonderful! Lots of questions and lots of answers! Viva Cinema…Meanwhile during my second year I learned more about Indian philosophy, read Vedas and Upanishads, came face to face with Buddhism and Zen, read Haiku Poems and together with these happenings discovered another great Master of cinema - Andrei Tarkovsky. He became my mentor and inspiration. It will be unfair from my part if I don't mention the following masters who have definitely influenced me on my philosophical quest - Antonioni, Bresson, Bunuel and Chaplin. These great souls fine-tuned my interest in cinema and philosophy. And I believe that both cinema and philosophy, are a 'way of life' filled with a true love for life.Why should we make films? Why should philosophers go on enlightening us about our reality and existence? Are they any useful to the survival of Homo sapiens? What is the role of artists and philosophers in our society?Andrei Tarkovsky tells us: " I see it my duty to stimulate reflection on what is essentially human and eternal in each individual soul, and which all too often a person will pass by, even though the fate lies in his hands. He is too often busy chasing after phantoms and bowing down to idols. In the end everything can be reduced to the one simple element which is all a person can count upon in his existence: the capacity to love. That element can grow within the soul to become the supreme factor, which determines the meaning of a person's life. My function is to make whoever sees my films aware of his need to love and to give his love, and aware that beauty is summoning him."There is still hope. Yes, I trust Fyodor Dostoyevsky when he tells me that: “Beauty will save the world." Again Tarkovsky clearly express his faith in the salvation of humanity:"In Stalker I make some sort of complete statement: namely that human love alone is - miraculously - proof against the blunt assertion that there is no hope for the world. This is our common and incontrovertibly positive possession. Although we no longer quite know how to love." Why do we spend so many precious hours of our lives watching films? What is it about cinema that it should occupy a place of such prominence in our lives? And why do we even need movies? It is as though we are trying to fill a gap in our lives - a void, emptiness within ourselves. So to understand the need for the humans for films, we have to see the boarder picture of how film correlates to life and life to film. To find this higher perspective, it is helpful to look towards other arts, as well as philosophy.Federico Fellini tells us:"According to me, La Strada seeks to realize the experience which a philosopher, Emmanuel Mounier, has rightly said is the most important and the most basic in seeking to open up any social prospect: the joint experience between man and man. I mean that in order to learn the richness and the possibilities inherent in social life, today, when so much is said about socialism, what is more important than anything is for a man to learn to be, quite simply, with another. I think this is what every society must learn, and that if we do not solve this humble but necessary problem, we may tomorrow find ourselves facing a society, externally well organized, outwardly perfect and faultless, but in which private relationships, relationship between man and man, are empty, indifferent, isolated, impenetrable.Our trouble, as modern men, is loneliness, and this begins in the very depths of our being. No public celebration or political symphony can hope to be rid of it. Only between man and man, I think, this solitude be broken, only through individual people can a kind of message be passed, making them understand - almost discover - the profound link between one person and the next."Today - more than at any other time in history - all streams of art seem to excel at depicting life in the void. All great artistic creations are confronting the painful questions of the reality of human existence - both material and spiritual. Spinoza tried to answer these questions three centuries ago:1. Why does anything exist?2. How is the world composed?3. What are we in the scheme of things?4. Are we free?5. How should we live?And even today these are the same very questions both the filmmaker and the philosopher trying to confront and answer. Our modern inability to answer these questions accounts for our modern reluctance to confront them, which in turn accounts for our deep disorientation and disillusionment. "What is fashionably known as the 'postmodern condition' is really the condition of people who, having given up on their fundamental anxieties, find it easier to conceal them. Such people no longer know what to hope for or how.""In any case it is perfectly clear that the goal of all art - unless of course it is aimed at the 'consumer', like a saleable commodity - is to explain to the artist himself and to those around him what man lives for, what is the meaning of his existence. To explain to people the reason for their appearance on this planet; or if not to explain, at least to pose the question………And so art, like science, is a means of assimilating the world, an instrument for knowing it in the course of man's journey towards what is called 'absolute truth'…Art is born and takes hold where ever there is a timeless and insatiable longing for the spiritual, for the ideal: that longing which draws people to art."- [Andrei Tarkovsky]Cinema with its ability to explore and document the human experience - both spiritual and material - is the ideal medium for this kind of introspection into the depths of our being. However, in practice, film has become the least responsive, the most atrophied of artistic media. There is a notable failure on the part of major developed countries like the United States, Great Britain and Germany to offer directors dedicated to pursuing the rarely treaded path of intense questioning and seeking on a spiritual level in their films. Certainly, there are many talented directors around the world, who have made and continue to make many fine films. But there are very few directors, who have realized that the medium of film has a much greater potential than what has been accomplished thus far. Even one of the inventors of motion pictures, Thomas A. Edison [1847-1931], when he saw what level cinema had almost immediately sunk to, wrote:"I had some glowing dreams about what cinema could bemade to do and ought to do in teaching the world thingsIt needed to know…"And yet, there are some directors, who have recognized cinema's true potential to probe, examine, and question deeply who we are what we have become. The greatest of these is the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky [1932-1986], who used cinema as a personal tool to seriously seek a way out of the terrible darkness of mankind's present day existence. In his book, Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky writes about the artist's "spiritual mission" which the true artist must fulfill according to the spiritual intent of the gift he has been given. He refers to the "frenzied search" of the great writers Tolstoy, Gogol and Dostoyevsky as being prompted by the awareness of this intent. "An artist who doesn't try to seek out absolute truth…can only be a time-server." [Andrei Tarkovsky]Federico Fellini adds:"Perhaps my spiritual world is, in fact, this instinctive wish to do good to those know only evil, to make them catch glimpse of hope, of the chance of a better life, and to find in everyone, even the worst intentioned, a core of goodness and love.In developing these profoundly human and common themes, I often find myself faced with suffering and misfortunes which go far beyond what is bearable. It is then that intuition comes into being, as well as faith in the values that transcend our nature. In such cases, the great sea and the distant sky which I like to show in my films are no longer enough: beyond sea and sky, through terrible suffering, perhaps, or the relief of tears, God can be glimpsed - his love and his grace, not so much as a matter of theological faith, but as a profound need of the spirit."The fact is that, in its spiritual mission, cinema has fallen short of the success witnessed in literature, music and philosophy. There are however, a few directors besides Tarkovsky, who have responded in their own unique way to the high calling of spiritual cinema: Sergei Paradjanov, Robert Bresson and Ingmar Bergman. Among other directors, who still contributed in this regard are Luis Bunnel, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Bresson, Alexander Dovzhenko, Jacques Tati, Charlie Chaplin, Akira Kurasawa and Kenji Mizoguchi, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi. Despite their differences in culture and philosophy, all these directors have in common the basic need to defy superficiality and spiritual slumber and to seek out the deeper Truth behind their existence."Nothing is so important to man as his existence; nothingso much to be feared as eternity. And therefore it is quite unnatural that there should be men indifferent to the lossof their being and to the danger of an eternity of misery.They think quite otherwise of everything else; they fear thesmallest things, they anticipate them, they suffer from them; and the same man who passes so many days and nights in rageand despair over the loss of a place or for some imaginaryslight on his honor, that same man knows without anxiety or emotion that he will lose everything at his death. It is amonstrous to see this strange sensibility about small things, existing side by side in the same heart at the same time."[Blaise Pascal 1623-1662] «Let us briefly look into some of the films, which expresses this Love, which seeks this Truth: 1. ANDREI RUBLEV [Russia/ Andrei Tarkovsky] For me the greatest film ever made. Re-discovery of the Spiritual in oneself. After seeing this film I regained my lost faith in humanity and cinema. Raises cinema to the realm of Music and Literature. The monk, Rublyov, looked at the world with unprotected child like eyes, and preached love, goodness and non-resistance to evil. And though he found himself witnessing the brutal and devastating forms of violence, which hold sway in the world and led him to bitter disillusionment, he came back in the end to that same truth, rediscovered for himself, about the value of human goodness, of open hearted love which does not count the cost, the one real gift which people can give each other.2.KOYAANISQATSI [USA/Godfrey Reggio]Outstanding for conveying humanity's headlong accelerated rush towards self-destruction, along with the sense of an impending radical change. Another great work.3. STALKER [Russia/Andrei Tarkovsky]A truly great film which offers a portrait of a genuine seeker and depicts life as a dangerous, yet necessary quest for Truth. Stalker, eccentric and on occasion hysterical, is also incorruptible, and states unequivocally his own spiritual commitment in the face of a world in which opportunism grows like a malignant tumor.4. AU HASARD BALTHAZAR [France/Robert Bresson]Told from the point of view of a donkey, whose life turns into a continuous strain of suffering as a result of not only cruel acts by bad people, but just as much as a result of ordinary, selfish acts by good people. One of the most profound and stirring films ever made.5. COLOR OF POMEGRANATES [Armenia/Sergei Paradjanov]This unqualified masterpiece speaks in the purely intuitive language of the soul. A work of pure transcendent beauty unlike any other. Cannot be described, must be seen.6. THE MAGIC FLUTE [Sweden/Ingmar Bergman]Sublime music of Mozart sets the stage for recapturing the long-lost ideals of love, manly virtues, childlike wonder and the quest for wisdom. A great Victory for Bergman over his own personal demons.7. RED BALLOON [France/Albert Lamorisse]One-of-a-kind film that, without a word, communicates the beauty and the preciousness of our inner-self and awakens with us the longing to regain the purity of the childhood.8. GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST.MATHEW [Italy/Paolo Passolini]Succeeds in conveying the significance and the tragedy of Christ's life in a candid, poetic, yet completely spontaneous and natural way - without the slightest hint of religious dogma.9. SHADOWS OF OUR FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS [Ukraine/Sergei Paradjanov]Revolutionary in the most profound sense! Beauty and pulsation of life in every shot testify to and celebrate the great power the human spirit's individual perception and expression.10. MIRROR [Russia/Andrei Tarkovsky]Stunningly reveals the inner spiritual world of the main character without him ever appearing on the screen. Instead: his memories. Thoughts, wishes and strivings are shown woven into the fabric of world history, space and time. An incredibly deep film. The hero of Mirror was a weak, selfish man incapable of loving even those dearest to him for their sake alone, looking for nothing in return - he is only justified by the torment of soul which assails him towards the end of his days as he realizes that he has no means of repaying the debts he owes to life.11. MOTHER AND SON [Russia/Aleksander Sokurov]An overwhelming experience that places the viewer at the very end of the world, where all that is wrong and false with humanity {including this oppressive mother-and-son relationship} is ripening and decaying right before our eyes. What better way to end the century.12. A MAN ESCAPED [France/Robert Bresson]Bresson succeeds brilliantly in yet another "impossible" film to make. He documents here the naturalness with which help is given from Above to a man, who in complete simplicity defies the hopelessness of his situation. Based on a true story and on his own experiencing as a prisoner-of-war in WWII. Unbelievable!13. WINTER LIGHT [Sweden/Ingmar Bergman]Arguably the most riveting, insightful and honest documentation ever of the crisis of faith. Special mention to Sven Nykvist for one of the great achievements in the history of cinematography. Bergman at his very best. 14. MILKY WAY [France/Luis Bunuel]A masterpiece from one of the most individual directors in the history of cinema. A blistering questioning of authentic religious dogma and attitudes of piety, rigidity and fanaticism - all tied together superbly through scene after unrepeatable scene.15. THE TALE OF TALES [Russia/Yuri Norstein]Through its philosophical depths, its visionary language and its use of sound and music, it raises animation to the level of the very best art cinema. Norstein is a consummate artist, who insists on painting every frame himself. The result is the totally unique evocation of his spiritual world that could only have been rendered through animation - no other cinematic form would have sufficed. Voted the greatest animation film of all time.16. A SIMPLE DEATH [Russia/Aleksander Kaidanovsky]A stunning graduate film by the talented actor-turned-director, who played the title role in Tarkovsky's "Stalker". Kaidanovsky, in a captivating poetic language, brings to vivid life Tolstoy's existential short story THE DEATH OF IVAN ILYICH. Dealing with the approaching death of a materialist, the film begins and ends with the repeated questions:"Who are you?""What are you?" 17. THE SHORT FILMS OF ARTAVAZD PELESHIAN [Armenia/Artavazd Peleshian]Close-to-perfection filmmaking. Nobody has come closer to consistently achieving the transcendent synthesis of music, image and human spirituality; in other words, the world as "viewed from above"There are many more filmmakers and films like:RAN [Kurasawa]HAMLET [Grigori Kozinstev]WOMAN OF THE DUNES [Hiroshi Teshigahara]COME AND SEE [Elem Klimov]CITY LIGHTS [Charles Chaplin]8 1/2 [Federico Fellini]THREE COLOR BLUE/RED/WHITE [Kieslowsky]TOKYO STORY [Ozu]ILLUMINATION [Zanussi]LA NOTTE [Antonioni]NIGHT AND FOG [Resnais]VIRDIANA [Bunuel]KANAL [Wajda]Etc.One of the last things Tarkovsky said on his deathbed [as reported by his wife] was: "It is time for a new direction." This is reminiscent of Lev Tolstoy's last words: "To seek, always to seek…" With this kind of attitude one advances rapidly both here and in the beyond. What drives the seeking spirit onward in its quest for Truth is an unquenchable longing described so well in the following quote by Pavel Florensky [1882-1943], a Russian philosopher, who died in a Stalinist labor camp."I do not know whether there is Truth or not. But I instinctively feel that I cannot be without it. And I know that if it is, then it is everything for me: reason, and good, and strength, and life and happiness. Perhaps It is not; but I love it - love is more than everything that exists. I already count it as existing, and I love it - though perhaps non-existent - with all my soul and all my thinking and dreaming. I renounce everything for it - even my questions and my doubts."It is indeed sad, when even the best artists do not look seriously beyond the most superficial of spiritual surfaces, and when a ten ton weight has to literally drop from the sky onto someone's head before even they will consider the existence of deeper spiritual possibilities in their life. It is as if a wall has formed, invisible to most of humanity, but which demonstrates its presence by continually denying the right-of-way to seekers, artists and philosophers. And yet it is this very wall, which simply will not go away, the wall that keeps us trapped in the void, the wall that stands as a symbol for man's separation from his very own spirit.At the same time, the audience too must be called to account for the failure of cinema to achieve its full potential. By not placing any higher demands or expectations on its artists, writers, philosophers, composers or filmmakers, humanity shares in their burden. And by not perceiving the need of their spirits to awaken in order to confront the serious questions of existence, mankind has sold itself short, way short. The relationship of artist to audience and audience to artist forms a great cycle of unlimited potential. But an audience, which is unwilling to hold up its part of this cycle, has only itself to blame when the art, films, music and literature society produces is filled with spiritual apathy, trendiness and shortsightedness.Let us now hear the audience. Here are some profound letters viewers have sent to Tarkovsky. More than any filmmaker or critic it speaks to us directly about the role of cinema for people and about the author-viewer cycle.A woman from Gorky wrote to Tarkovsky, after seeing Mirror:"You know, in that dark cinema, looking at a piece of canvas lit up by your talent, I felt for the first time in my life that I was not alone…" A worker in a Leningrad factory wrote after seeing Mirror:"My reason for writing is Mirror, a film I can't even talk about because I am living it.It is a great virtue to be able to listen and understand…That is after all, a first principle of human relationships: the capacity to understand and forgive people their unintentional faults, their natural failures. If two people have been able to experience the same thing even once, they will be able to understand each other. Even if one lived in the era of the mammoth and the other in the age of electricity. And God grant that people may understand and experience only common, humane impulses - they're own and those of others."A working woman from Novosibirsk wrote:Everything that torments me, everything I don't have and that I long for, that makes me indignant, or sick, or suffocates me, everything that gives me a feeling of light and warmth, and by which I live, and everything that destroys me - it is all there in your film, I see it as if in a mirror. For the first time ever a film has become something real for me and that is why I go to see it, I want to get right inside it, so that I can be really be alive.A young girl wrote to her mother:"How many words does a person know? How many does he use in his everyday vocabulary? One hundred, two, three? We wrap our feelings up in words, try to express in words sorrow and joy and any sort of emotion, the very things that can't in fact be expressed. Romeo uttered beautiful words to Juliet, vivid, expressive words, but they surely didn't say even half of what made his heart feel as if it was ready to jump out of his chest, and stopped him breathing, and made Juliet forget everything except her love?There is another kind of language, another form of communication: by means of feeling, and images. That is the contact that stops people being separated from other that brings down barriers. Will, feeling, emotion - these remove obstacles form between people who otherwise stand on opposite side of a mirror, on opposite sides of a door…The frames of the screen move out, and the world which used to be partitioned off comes into us, becomes something real.."¨¨¨"IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?"[From by Gregory and Maria Pearse]As the world declines, the wall [that keeps us trapped in the void] grows ever more dense and defiant. This is quite effectively depicted in the film version of Pink Floyd's THE WALL. The scene where the main character is banging his fists against the terrible, unbreakable wall is particularly powerful. In it we can see a wall, which all of humanity must now confront, a wall which takes its form the "bricks" of all the pursuits that mankind considered important in life and which were, in reality, obstacles to the attainment of true life, the life of the spirit. The question posed at that moment in the film is: "Is there anybody out there?" This question in itself indicates the terrifying distortion that has taken place in the way the "outer" persona of the human being has developed. But later in the film when this question is turned around "Is there anybody in there?" then it is phrased more to the point [that is, from the point of view of the spirit], and then our inability to connect with the most important part of ourselves becomes gravely apparent. Like the main character in the film, we come to face to face with our own inner deadness. We then become the puppets for the Void of Darkness, doing its will without even realizing it. The main character experiences this horrible transformation of his being into a tool of the darkness, when he turns into a Fascist dictator, who issues the same decrees of hatred and prejudice that were the law of the land in Nazi Germany.And who today is still trying to breach this painful wall to their spirits? The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer [1788-1860] believed that “the pain essential to life can not be thrown off." But is not pain an awakening and animating force, prompting us to question, to confront and to seek? Where are the artists, who should be like the poet-knights of the middle ages, seeking the way through that wall so that others can look to them as an example and do the same for themselves? These days, artists mostly prefer to wallow in the darkness of the void either for the sake of pseudo-profundity or because they are simply too lazy to exert themselves to find a way out. And, after all, what is the point of being in the void [and the intense pain and suffering therein], if one is no longer inspired to seek a way out of it.Indeed, today's artists seem to even revel in the hopelessness within the void. Using Nietzsche as their unsung hero, they rebelliously, joyously surrender themselves to the dark currents of total self-destruction. This is particularly evident in the "gloom and doom" apocalyptic side of the rock in the sub-genres of industrial, gothic and heavy metal music, out of which have sprung bands like Nine Inch Nails, Nick Cave and the Bad seeds, Metallica, Soundgarden [to name just a few of the better known groups.] Their song titles speak for themselves:The art of self-destructionBrokenThe beauty of being numbThe downward spiralHelp me I am in hellHappiness in slaverySomething I can never haveHead like a holeDown in itHurtHeresyEraserYour funeral…my trialWell of miseryA box for Black PaulFade to blackBlackenedHarvester of sorrowMy friend of miseryTo live is to dieCreeping deathThrough the NeverThe UnforgivenLet me drownBlack hole SunThese artists use innovative, even poetic devices to extend the conventional rock medium into an incredibly intense free-for-all of total despair, unrepented hatred and bitterness, confrontational fury and, at times, real questioning and longing for "something more than this" - a powerful form for the expression of the spiritual void within themselves. Their themes of Death, lovelessness, impending world doom, intense personal suffering and the giving into their weakness seem to document a monumental final showdown for the life-or-death struggle of their [and all our] spirits."IS THERE ANYBODY IN THERE?"Now we can begin to perceive "life" and "death" not in their old, traditional meanings, but as viewed from a new, higher Perspective: death = the sleep of the spirit within us, and life = the awakening of the spirit within us, for when one's spirit is asleep, one is simply existing in a void, and life ceases to have true meaning and direction. What, then constitutes the sleep of the spirit and what constitutes it's awakening? Here, once again, conventional definitions are too narrow to be any use to us. We must try to approach these questions objectively [and not rush in with ready-made opinions], for our own lives hang in the balance on this very point.It is, obviously, too superficial to assume outward "liveliness" [including aggression] can qualify as evidence of the life of the spirit. It is a question of the intensity of our inner being; and this intensity may or may not manifest in an outwardly "lively" form. Thus, a housewife may possess a richer and more intense inner life than a rock star thrashing about on stage. To exclude this possibility is to forgo all objectivity at the very start of our TruthQuest.Another frequent point of confusion is the belief [almost taken for granted these days] that indulgence of all sorts [in life as well in art] testify the strength of the spirit. The simple fact is, however, that a truly strong and free spirit possesses only high and noble qualities [individually expressed] - all other traits being the accumulation of various distortions, which, sooner or later, will have to be put straight, if one wishes to return to true life.And, finally, we must realize that personal harmony and balance can never be achieved by striking a compromise with darkness. The "dark side" in us is not complementary to the "light side", but is the best evidence of the weakness and suppression of our spirit. A spirit that is beginning to awaken will not be able to tolerate even one shade of darkness within and will not rest until a way is found to achieve that ultimate victory: a victory over oneself, over one's own dark tendencies. In this light, the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Plotinus [AD 205-270] ring out even more powerfully today than when they were first written:"A terrible, final struggle awaits all souls."¨¨¨"We are now living in a kind of dark tunnel of suffering, unable to communicate with one another, but I already feel I can see a gleam in the distance, a sense of new freedom: we must try to believe in this possibility of salvation"[Federico Fellini]" The task of philosophy is to tear itself loose from life during life, if only in part. And even as man comes into the world wailing, or awakes with a cry from a torturing fever dream, so too the transition from life to death must clearly be accompanied by a senseless, desperate effort whose proper expression will also be a senseless, desperate cry or a wild sob. I think that many philosophers have known such an 'awakening' and have tried to tell of it."[Lev Shestov, in Job's Balances]¨¨¨Striving for beauty and an ideal, questing for an absolute truth, focusing on the spirituality of our being does not mean that we shut out our immediate reality and questions related to it. In fact the heightening of our awareness leads us to the very here and now of our existence. I am empowered with a new vision, a new hearing, a new touch with which I take part in this very fight of our existence and realization, of our neighbors and also of the unseen humanity. Within this transcended spirituality, my making of the film as well as the completed image becomes an act of love, becomes an ultimate faith in our salvation. Then our creations become a unifying force in this disintegrating world. Our films become a "Mirror of Love".In this regard Federico Fellini says very clearly to us:"All I can say is this: I am a man like so many others, living through my own experience, a man who looks at things around him humbly, respectfully, with naïve curiosity, and above all with love. This love produces the tenderness and pity, which I feel towards everyone I meet. I am not a pessimist and I don't want to be one, but my preference is for those who suffer most, who are the victims of evil, injustice and deceit.I don't feel I can condemn anyone, but I should like to help everyone with my intuitive ideas and with my own experience. The people in my films are all born from these human contacts, from the voices I hear and collect within me and outside me, from a profound need to reply, without betraying their hopes.When in my films, the lyrical quality of my inspiration - which is always an act of love - allows me to smile at the weeping face, to stretch out a hand to someone about to slip down and be lost, and to show the way to someone who has always mistaken his, and when I manage to strip the falsehood from life's adventures, I feel, I haven't betrayed anyone, and that I have done myself good, rather than other people."And Andrei Tarkovsky supports:"When I speak of the aspiration towards the beautiful, of the ideal, I am not for a moment suggesting that art should shun the 'dirt' of the world. On the contrary! The artistic image is always a metonym, where one thing is substituted for another, the smaller for the greater. To tell of what is living, the artist uses something dead; to speak of the infinite, he shows the finite. Substitution…the infinite can not be made into matter, but it is possible to create an illusion of the infinite: the IMAGE."Cinema is Love 24 times per second.[Affirmation from Andrei Tarkovsky.]"Art affirms all that is best in man - hope, faith, love, beauty, prayer… What he dreams of and what he hopes for… When someone who doesn't know how to swim is thrown into the water, instinct tells his body what movements will save him. The artist too is driven by a kind of instinct, and his work furthers man's search for what is eternal, transcendent, and divine - often in spite of the sinfulness of the poet himself.What is art? Is it good or evil? From God or from the devil? From man's strength or from his weakness? Could it be a pledge of fellowship, an image of social harmony? Might that be its function? Like a declaration of love: the consciousness of our dependence on each other. A confession. An unconscious act that none the less reflects the true meaning of life - love and sacrifice.Why, as we look back, do we see the path of human history punctuated by cataclysms and disasters? What really happened to those civilizations? Why did they run out of breath, lack the will to live, lose their moral strength? Surely one can not believe that it all happened simply from material shortages. Such a suggestion seems to me grotesque. Moreover I am convinced that we now find ourselves on the point of destroying another civilization entirely as a result of failing to take account of the spiritual side of the historical process. We don't want to admit to ourselves that many of the misfortunes besetting humanity are the result of our having become unforgivably, culpably, hopelessly materialistic. Seeing ourselves as the protagonist's of science, and in order to make our scientific objectivity the more convincing, we have split the one, indivisible human process down the middle, there by revealing a solitary, but clearly visible, spring, which we declare to be the prime cause of everything, and use it not only to explain the mistakes of the past but also to draw up our blueprint of the future. Or perhaps the fall of those civilizations means that history is waiting patiently for man to make the right choice, after which history will be no longer driven into an impasse and forced to cancel out one unsuccessful attempt after another in the hope that the next one may work. There is something in the widely held view that no lessons are learnt from history and that mankind takes no notice of what history has done. Certainly each successive catastrophe is evidence that the civilization in question was misconceived; and when man is forced to start all over again, it can only be because up till then he has had his aim something other than spiritual perfection.In a sense art is an image of the completed process, of the culmination; an imitation of the possession of absolute truth [albeit only in the form of an image] obviating the long - perhaps, indeed, endless - path of history.There are moments when one longs to rest, to hand it all over, to give it up, along with oneself, to some total worldview - like the Veda, for instance. The East was closer to the truth than the West; but western civilization devoured the East with its materialist demands on life.Compare Eastern and Western music. The west is forever shouting, 'This is me! Look at me! Listen to me suffering, loving! How unhappy I am! How happy! I! Mine! Me!' In the eastern tradition they never utter a word about themselves. The person is totally absorbed into God, Nature, Time; finding himself in everything; discovering everything in himself. Think of Taoist music…China six hundred years before Christ… But in that case, why did such a superb idea not triumph, why did it collapse? Why did the civilization that grew up on such a foundation not come down to us in the form of a historic process brought to its consummation? They must have come into conflict with the materialistic world that surrounded them. Just as the personality comes into conflict with society, that civilization clashed with another. It perished not only for that reason, but also because of its confrontation with the materialist world of 'progress' and technology. But that civilization was the final point of true knowledge, salt of the salt of the earth. And according to the logic of Eastern thought, conflict of any kind is essentially sinful.We all live in the world as we imagine it, as we create it. And so, instead of enjoying its benefits, we are the victims of its defects.Finally, I would enjoin the reader - confiding in him utterly - to believe that the one thing that mankind has ever created in a spirit of self-surrender is the artistic image. Perhaps the meaning of all human activity lies in artistic consciousness, in the pointless and selfless creative act? Perhaps our capacity to create is evidence that we ourselves were created in the image and likeness of God?" ···"So God created man in his own image…"[Genesis 1-27]Mythology VS ImagologyAs a cinematographer I believe in the power of IMAGES.I am also concerned about how an image is used in a particular context. The knowledge about our world today is transmitted more with images and as 'image makers' working in CINEMA; we can not escape from the socio-political and philosophical questions, on the use of images. Until now 'mythology' had a great role in the evolution of culture and societies. In the new millennium it will be "Imagology' which is going to be decisive in the evolution of a new MAN.All through my student days and even now, I stand in awe of the power of the moving images. I am always surprised about that ability of the human eye, i.e.; the' persistence of vision'. When did this ability originate in human physiology? Does this ability in any other way help the evolution of human species? Why this trait did not disappear from the species? "Persistence of Vision" must have been present even in the cave men! These are some questions I am constantly asking myself.In the distant past, the predominant sense organ for knowing our reality was the 'EYE' and vision itself was an integral part of the endeavor. What the eye saw could be described, catalogued, and even subjected to mathematical analysis. Plato's [350 BC] awe of the eye and vision was stated thus: "Vision, in my view, is the cause of greatest benefit to us, inasmuch as none of the accounts now given concerning the Universe would ever have been given if men had not seen the stars or the sun or the heaven. But as it is, the vision of day and night and of months and circling years has created the art of number and has given us not only the notion of Time but also the a means of research into the nature of the Universe."Let me conclude:Cinema taught me that I am a universal human being.Cinema taught me that there are no countries, only one world.Cinema taught me that in this world of ours most of us have no freedom.Cinema taught me that we all share the same feelings and emotions.Cinema taught me that we all have the same hearts and minds.CINEMA IS LOVE 24 TIMES PER SECOND.•••I am greatly indebted to Jean Luc Godard who in the first place said:"CINMEMA IS TRUTH 24 TIMES PER SECOND"[In his latest film he also conclude that Cinema is Love]•••I am also grateful to Gregory and Maria of www.cinemaseekers.comFor allowing me to use material from their site.•••[P.s. In my own defense, I am tempted to take refuge in two great philosophers of humanity, regarding the need for a dialogue. First, our own Sri Narayana Guru and second Spinoza who lived far away from us, in Holland, yet both guiding us in time, to one understanding.Narayana Guru placed a notice in front of the venue of Aluva Conference of World religions: “Not to argue and not to win, but to know and to inform."Spinoza wrote to a friend: “So far as in me lies, I value, above all other things out of my control, the joining hands of friendship with men who are lovers of truth. I believe that nothing in the world, of things outside our own control, brings more peace than the possibility of affectionate intercourse with such men; it is just as impossible that the love we bear them can be disturbed … as that truth once perceived should not be assented to."]List of sources:1. Sculpting in Time, by Andrei Tarkovsky, The Bodley Head, London.2. Fellini on Fellini, translated by Isabel Quigley, Da Capo Press, New York.3. Kieslowski on Kieslowski, edited by Danusia Stok, Faber and Faber, London.4. Jean-Luc Godard, by Richard Roud, Thames and Hudson, London.5. Film - Space, Time, Light and Sound, by Lincoln F. Johnson, Holt, Rienhart and Winston, Inc., New York6. 360 Film Classics, Sight and Sound, London.7. A Natural History of Vision, by Nicholas J Wade, A Bradford Book, Cambridge, London.8., Gregory and Maria Pearse----

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