SIEMEK - Truth on screen

Prof. Jean Pierre Lasota-Hirszowicz
in a documentary about Marek Siemek
“The View from a Cathedral”

According to Marek Siemek, prof. Jean-Pierre Lasota-Hirszowicz (an astrophysicist specializing in black holes) was not only his best high school friend but also was intimately connected with Siemek choosing philosophy over physics.

You will have to wait till the film comes out to hear how prof. Lasota remembers “the Siemek’s choice”. Within the context of the narrative it will be revealing and quite shocking.

For now however I want to share a snippet from the shoot. It has to do with a remark made by the Professor when I suggested he enters a classroom with the camera ready to catch his natural reaction.

“ok, but it always seemed to me
that a natural way (“naturalność”)
does not come out well (on the screen),
that everything has to be set up first.”

This is an astonishing observation (at least for a "fly on the wall" filmmaker focused on chasing and catching happy accidents and in this way getting unfiltered “truth” of the moment).

I suspect that the people who deal with the Universe and the Way Things Work must know something that we “the civilians” don’t not only about the dimensions above us by also about life itself.  That the bigger and more grand perspective somehow sharpens their perception and understanding of not only the cosmos but also of the life on Earth. This is one of the reasons why the remark stopped me in my tracks.  (The Professor rejects my way of seeing his profession as needless romanticizing of his trade.  Of course he is right.)

Still, the offhand observation brought me back to muse over the old documentary dilemma of “the natural” versus “the prepared way”.     I am leaning to conclude that quite possibly the difference between preparations versus catching the stuff as it happens lies in the self understanding of those who appear in front of the camera. Clearly some need to be prepared more to come out naturally, while others are better when caught in the act.

Perhaps those who have issues with themselves, who are existentially unsure, have to be “caught in the act of being” without realizing it. Once they are made aware of the camera they start presenting their take of themselves, they try acting and since they don’t know who they are they instantaneously flex their “psychic” muscle trying to prove something. A disaster usually follows.

Those who are secure in themselves, who down deep know their boundaries, their self and their worth are usually game for whatever happens and come out naturally. Preparations and rehearsals don’t freeze them because they know who they are and remain themselves no matter what.