Discover more from Cabinet of Curiosities
Little by little, and by that I mean a time span of perhaps 20 years, some things begin to reveal themselves to me. Like a certain movie that I saw a few months ago. It was the first time I had ever seen it and I could not have grasped it unless I first had spent years and years watching hundreds of other movies prior to it. Mostly old movies that move slowly and demand attention. Or perhaps read certain demanding texts and books. This movie was much like a dream. Or a difficult book. I still don’t quite understand much of it but enough to recognize it as a masterpiece.
The movie was “Andrei Rublev” — how does one even describe it? Have you seen it? How would you describe it?
It helps to be prepared and willing to watch a long movie. That may seem like a silly requirement and still it’s the most important. The phone or laptop must be put away. You are now stepping into a cathedral. This is unlike anything you have seen. Or will ever see. You will recognize things and think to yourself: “Oh yes, I have seen this before! I know about this.” or “Was that what I think it was, there, in the background? Was that… planned?” And just as you begin to understand a little bit, everything shifts.
You’re still in a cathedral but in a different spot. Someone pulled the chair from beneath you and you have to look at things from a new perspective. You are, after all following the greatest Russian icon painter of all time, as interpreted by one of the best film makers of all time, Andrei Tarkovsky. You begin to grasp yourself as a human. I began to grasp myself as a human. Just a little bit more. The dream revealed itself just enough.
It demands that you sit there, patiently, and listen and allow your eye to wander across the screen. You hear bird sounds, you smell the smoke from fires, you feel the mud and the unforgiving rain. You smell the dirty bodies and you taste the water that is drunk in thirst. And, you notice the moments of beauty and… is it called grace?
The religious theme mixed with moments of terrible cruelty and attention to details move us, step by step, together with Andrei Rublev toward his destiny. It opens up the experience of experiencing another human’s experience - if you’re willing to sit there and be patient and take it all in. It is then, like a dream that you wish you could dream again. Terrible and beautiful all at once.
Then, another dream. An actual dream I had. The mood is as if Tarkovsky made a movie in the desert of California or Arizona. It is definitely not a masterpiece. It is just a dream. But it stayed with me, and for some reason I connect it with the mood in Andrei Rublev.
Post Memory (based on 9/20/09 dream)
All exits are now closed. I motion to him to come with me. We'll find a door and get out, I hope. I rush to the door I know is there, but it's equipped with an alarm. Big red letters alert us that a loud alarm will go off if we open it. Shit. Think, think, think. I know this area. We should be able to get out.
We sit on the ground among people similarly clueless. I find out a year has passed. I have no recollection of what's happened in the time in between. He sits on a rug with his arms tightly wrapped around his knees. I notice that I have a blanket wrapped around my waist. I look around and it's arid. Arid, dusty, and light. Sandy overgrown dirt with sagebrush and low bushes cover the uneven terrain. Is this California?
He lifts his hand up to his throat and asks me:
"What do you think it is, this weird feeling I have in my throat?"
He seems genuinely puzzled and feels around on his throat. Instead of telling him that he is experiencing an emotion, I tell him:
"Why don't we take a walk to some place where we can talk in private?"
I stand up, and struggle to hold my blanket around me while we walk.
Just as we reach the knoll near the fence, I see a pickup truck race up a hill outside our enclosure. A huge pile of dust slowly sinks back to the ground. So there are people who still drive. I have no clue where to begin. I cannot remember anything, and I think he is even worse off! Shit! Then it hits me; I know this area! We should be able to get out.
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