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Showing posts from May, 2006

Traveling in Time's Labyrinth

Octavio Paz was a traveler. He knew quite a bit about mankind's solitary voyage in time's labyrinth and the many struggles to defy it. Legends, rituals, myths and sometimes even history are contrivances devised to counter the onslaught.

His impressions as an urbanite traveling across cities that endure afflictions of memory have a deeper and personal resonance with a displaced reader like me. The poem "Last Dawn" says more than the few words it ever needed to take shape, with its interludes of broken images from the elements of nature and an imaginary alter life into the loveless entanglement of urban living. It draws a starkly surreal but evocative and intimate visual. The personal rituals and myths in cities germinate and perish momentarily leaving the quest for another day:

Last Dawn

Your hair lost in the forest
your feet touching mine.
Asleep you are bigger than the night
but your dream fits within this room.

How much we are who are so little!
Outside a taxi passes
with i…

Art of Cinema: Beyond plotlines

Near the end of his writings on the cinema, *Gilles Deleuze almost regresses from his intellectual rigor over the new cinema of time, and mourns the passing of the silent cinema. He saw that, with the emergence of the talkie, we lost a kind of naturalness . . . the secret and beauty of the silent image, which presented us with the natural being of man in history or society.1
Towards the end of his book Our Films, Their Films Satyajit Ray dedicates an entire chapter to share a few thoughts with his reader on Silent Films and dynamics of film art. He remembers how powerful was the single scene of Chaplin eating a Shoe for Thanksgiving dinner in his film, The Gold Rush (1925). Deprived of human voice, Chaplin brought out the visual and aural rendition of classic comedy out of a rank absurd situation with Big Mac in ensemble.

Another instance of metaphorical indulgence in the power of silent film was Luis Bunuel's That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) which was adapted from Pierre Louys …