MELANCHOLIA (2011) – A Hymn to Depression

melancholia.jpegWe are all going to die soon. So throw away your dumb rituals, your make-beliefs, your unfulfilling career race, your pretenses of aesthetic refinement and classiness. Embrace the despondent wait. Be like Justine. Lose control of your life. So that when the time comes you won’t be caught unawares. You will have known it was going to happen anyway. You can say then, “Because I know things. I know what the answer of the lottery is, I know that there is no god out there, I know that humans are all alone on a despicable planet, the only one in the universe that contains life, and that if it is destroyed nobody cares because nobody is there to care or know about it.” It’s like having the upper hand over surprises, like you know your friends are secretly plotting a surprise birthday party, and when they yell surprise, you think “yayyyy, whatever”.

Lars von Trier’s second film Continue reading

The Art of Dying: Review of THE FOUNTAIN (2006)

teh-fountain_poster

Certainly philosophical and quirky, but the film seems somewhat too personal. It’s like a private experience, intimate and passionate at core, but when viewed from the outside, trivial and perhaps ludicrous. The audience (me) is in a disadvantaged position, unable to critique a work that attempts to depict what is obviously a personal struggle — namely, coming to terms with death — and simultaneously unable to participate in the struggle without overlooking the artifice of the narrative.

The film is all about death. Death as disease, death as release; death as termination, death as sweet beginning; death as adversity, death as peaceful embrace. Continue reading

Time-loss

We are leaving today.
No body listens to us.
It gets uglier day by day.

It takes all the time
to just get to the front seat
Then the road slowly caves in
As we go.

It makes one’s heart go dizzy
With the pain
the boredom and the deaths.
It takes all the time
to love each other
And you die before you can prove it.
As we speak.

What is so personal about
being personal in public?

How does your fingerprint count
Among trillions of their prints?
You are just one in the crowd

You do not count as personal.

Death and Memory in Kafka’s METAMORPHOSIS

metamorphosisThere are two kinds of death. One is when the body becomes inert and cold all of a sudden and you feel, somehow, this is death for sure. The other kind is when a person vanishes completely, out of memory, out of thought, and out of presence. Both are not always simultaneous; one precedes the other. What then, does it mean, to die? What does death do to the memory of the past? Are they like ripples on water, disturbances on the surface , submerged just as easily as they appear?

In Kafka’s novella, Metamorphosis, the transformation of Gregor Samsa into a life-size dung beetle, is perhaps, a metaphor for a nightmarish situation where memories come to life. Presence embodied. The monstrous insect is a parasitic, ugly being, with appetites and obstinacies, the seamy side of Memory, feeding on the emotional and nostalgic residue that Samsa’s self-effacing life and ‘death’ warrants from the people around him. The nagging presence of Memory is a suffocating, incriminating tyranny whose only cure is Time, with which Gregor’s sister finally confronts the monstrosity of the Presence and locks away the insect in its room. The memory becomes so persistently redundant, what remains is merely the forgetting.

The intrusion of the dead upon the living becomes a real, catastrophic menace that the lives of the rest of the characters have to be moulded accordingly. Initially, the characters give ample space for the insect, they leave Gregor’s room untouched, ‘unblemished’, so as to let his memory “creep” along the walls unrestricted. As time passes, the insect becomes just one of the memories which accumulate in the room. The “memory stuff” gradually overflow and suffocate Gregor’s space. Craving for the  attention due to him, he forgets his own debased state (that of death) as the remembrance of his erstwhile beneficial physical ‘presence’ forces him to venture out of his own room.  The recasting of roles and lives sever the bonds of nostalgia and the final breach is the act of locking him up to die among the junk of overcrowded memories.

The story is about the transformation of human presence into a parasitical, ever-demanding memory whose presence is all the more threatening because it has to be denied by the very people who mourn for it. Metamorphosis is death giving way to life, to “new dreams and good intentions”, to the bliss of amnesia.

CLOWNIN’ Rating: 4/5

“surely nothing ought to be more difficult or courageous than death itself”

One would have thought
surely nothing ought to be more difficult
or courageous
than death itself.
But now alas
what is so difficult
is that
death itself
is so easy.

Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869), Urdu-Persian poet.