Friday

Week 7: Text : Extract from the diary of actress Jovana Kirili

Sunday, September 22nd, 1920
These are strange times we live in.
I asked my father once what time was. He was teaching me to tell it on his pocket watch, and he said, “Well it’s not here, child. This contraption only measures itself. Time is your hair going from strawberry blonde to chestnut red. Time is change.”
Right now I feel as though I've stepped backwards in time to a place untouched by the great changes occurring everyday in Prague. Dilove, on the southern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, belongs to another century, another age. There is no electricity. They have no school. And their women are most certainly not permitted the free expression to which I am accustomed. They look at me with loathing and hope.
The priest simply looks at me with loathing.
Today the cast and crew were invited by the… well, let’s call him the Mayor, (qualified, I’m sure, by the fact that he once travelled to Prague, which is the only place I can imagine he acquired his ridiculous matching vest, bowtie and bowler) to attend Sunday Mass. The subject of the sermon: Armageddon, the final battle between Good and Evil. And specifically, how cinema is the Devil’s recruitment tool.
“This generator of graven images is an offence to God!” whined the grizzled little homunculus. “It reduces the great works of His creation, the mighty mountains at our backs, to mere scenery. It makes men vain and jealous. You Gregor!” He shouted and pointed to some sweet faced half wit unfortunate enough to be sitting in an aisle seat. “Did I not see you shove your brother Miklosh to the mud so that it was you and not he the Director, the demiurge of this motion picture, chose to photograph with your cow?” The poor man sank into his seat as though depressed by the full weight of his shame.
And down with him went our chances of any more cups of milk warm from the teat, one of so many simple pleasures I have remembered these past few days. We cannot go home. The past doesn’t want us. The past is jealous of where we’ve been. We in the future hold out our hands to our cousins. The youngest stretch theirs out to us and have them slapped away by the old. They are too feeble to make the journey. Too weak to change. Too scared of losing the prestige and security they’ve struggled their whole lives to establish.
The priest is smarter than he lets on. He knows what cinema represents: the end of the church. Not the end of religion or even Christianity. I’ve been asked by Petrov to play Magdelene next. No. It is the end of the Church and the Sermon. In the future we are making the cinema is the place the people will come to to experience the divine. Our gods, Chaplin, Keaton, and perhaps one day Kirili, will dance eternally upon the shining tabernacle. And gods not only of Wrath and Judgement, Humility and Poverty, but of Romance and Laughter, Heroism and Beauty. We will worship, as in those enlightened days of the Greeks, a matrix of deities, whose variety give full expression to our humanity.
To bed now. We’re to wake before dawn, to hike up the mountain so to be at the lip of the abyss Petrov wants for the third act “with the sun seeming to rise out of it. A statement declaring more than just the advent of Czech Slovak independence, but the birth of peace all over the world!” Half of this script reads like a sermon.
Monday, September 23rd, 1920
Catastrophe! We are fugitives. Scattered throughout the woods. I do not know who is left. I saw Jacob and some of his crew dash into the rocks. But Petrov! Sweet, mad genius. He is lost. That monkey in black pushed him over the edge. The mob has made a pyre of our equipment. They mean to burn me. They mean to burn us all.

No comments:

Post a Comment