4/23/2016

Love and philosophy


The flyer of the tenth edition of the Philosophical Film Festival, Krakow.  This year the subject was love.

Juxtaposition of these two cathegories: philosophy and love is a huge challenge.

Prof. Marek Siemek, the hero of my (still in the works) documentary "The View from A Cathedral" astutely noticed that the ethics of  love stops where the ethics of law begins.

4/22/2016

When birds spoke


Henryk Schonker in "The Touch of an Angel" 
by Marek Tomasz Pawłowski

I watched this amazing documentary around the time I saw another Holocaust-themed film, the Oscar winner "Son on Saul". The comparison automatically sprung to mind: the feature with its frames soaked in attempts to recreate and authenticate many a time took me outside of its goal: I was seeing staging on screen and couldn't get it out of my mind. On the other hand the documentary did not hide its kitchen, things would start as the recollection and then move to their recreation. At which point I was hooked without reservation.

It's either the techniques of both storytellers or the cleverness of the initial deflecting of "it's not real" reaction. Or the combination of both.  An example of that "start with the talk and move to its recreation" is also in the scene that, breaking through the screen and further through the limitations of "now and here"  totally floored me.

In the scene Henryk Schönker recalls a 1938 Auschwitz conversation with a young mentally challenged boy as they both stand by a river bank.  The boy points to the other side of the river,  toward Auschwitz, and says "I see a lot of your people burned there, but you will survive". 

Henryk is perplexed and asks where did he get that from. The boy points to the birds flying above and says "the birds told me so".

4/16/2016

Swimming in Kieslowski

Filming "Blue"

It just so happened that I have started analyzing "Blue", which for a long time I treated as the second best to "Red".  Now reading the script and going scene by scene I am amazed how profound a meditation it is.  How that which originally I perceived as unclear is in fact extremely sophisticated.

While "Red" hits with its precision and strong interconnections obvious to anybody with open eyes, "Blue" is way more subtle.  Perhaps because it deals with even more esoteric and mysterious matters than these in "Red".

The accomplishment is really head spinning.  One of the explanation for this mastery may come from the way Kieslowski worked.  As he explained in an interview while writing each subsequent piece about the upcoming movie he always went for  wholeness.  The wholeness of each "pass", even in editing was something he valued the most.  This means he always thought about structure.   Although it sounds obvious, it is not.  At least not to me, since it's so easy to get lost in particular sub themes of a story.

For the ability of thinking "wholeness" all the time one has to have a precise and poetic mind. Otherwise it just won't work.