Wednesday, May 30, 2007

From behind 2.28

The fountains of the gods

Akasha film-project with Andrej Tarkovsky

Andrej Tarkovsky sat in a room next to a kitchen in Berlin. One of the few greats among directors of film, cast out by the Soviet Film Union, unknown in Hollywood.
Emissaries lead me to this hide-out. Via third parties we had signalled our shared intention to produce a film, based on the book Akasha-Chronicles, by Rudolf Steiner; Tarkovsky had heard of the Kollektiv-films Deutschland im Herbst, Germany in Autumn, Der Kandidat, Krieg und Frieden, War and Peace). He was willing to collaborate.
One difference of opinion had to be overcome. I assumed that this film was to be produced without official subsidies. Therefore the conditions for the shoot had to be simple, i.e. inexpensive. The content, including references to the secret doctrine of Helene Blawatsky which I wanted to include as the background to Steiner's argumentation, consisted only very minimally of "images possible to film". Andrej Tarkovsky on the other hand considered that the shoot had to take place at a special locale, e.g. a crossroads between the Himalayas and Karakoram , which is to say on Tibetan territory. There were Chreodes [Chreoden] there, he began our conversation, as soon as my tea had been served. These were "necessary ways". Only in such places -a place was only ever the sum of all movement that had taken place at it- was it auspicious that a film recording, even that the mere plan of such a recording could succeed. Without the right place we would not even be able to begin to imagine anything.
There existed, Tarkovsky said, after I had been served a second tea and two blinis, in Southern Italy, not far from Naples, one of the "fountains", already known in antiquity (and mentioned in Ovid), and he had been there. Access was complicated, because the fountain had been built-over by a Christian chapel. The chapel on the other hand could only be found if one located a passage in the cellars of a patrician house, a mansion, which lead to deeper cellar vaults. From there one had to hack open the ground. There light would erupt, because it was all situated on a slope, and access can be found. Upon entering I had immediately had the sensation, Tarkowski said, that the passage only a little deeper, just beneath the ground's surface, led to one of those fountains that establish the connection to the underworld. The entire film revolved around this sensation.
[continued in comment]

Alexander Kluge, Chronik der Gefuehle, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/Main, 2000, p. 472-77. Transl. mine.


At 5:01 pm, Blogger Geist said...

It was futile to shoot film at this place, I said; not even if we were to document the excavation of this fountain would we find anything related to Steiner. Yes, he replied, but this sensation, if you share it (and for this purpose we do not have to go to Southern Italy, it suffices if you feel and confirm it here, in this room) would become the seismographic guide to direct the images. The translators, a young Russian woman and her boyfriend, both belonging to the inner circle of Tarkovsky carers, argued briefly about the translation of the word SEISMOGRAPHIC. Tarkovsky had used a Russian term that was not literally translateable into German; the word association meant "floating"; imbued with resonance it could also mean "thrilling", "moving"; "con moto", but also "destructive". Tarkovsky paused, listened calmly. The grooves of his facial skin expressed a great measure of resolve. He was intent to "dictate" the film [den Film zu "diktieren"]. On the other hand he was looking for "collaboration". However, he was not accustomed to collaboration. The texts of the Akasha-Chronicles reach far back into the past. They depict the origin of humankind, but predominantly the many movements of the spirit [des Geistes] that had not become part of the human present.
Do the transitions take place as catastrophes? Are the strongest spirits of the preceding age, who have now become counter-spirits of a new age, ruins, fragments, living particles, similar to viruses, or are they like lava after a vulcanic eruption? What draws Tarkovsky's senses/feelings [Empfinden] to Tibet? Or is the project of a film at a crossroads or summit merely an idea? In the same way that Richard Wagner may need Bayreuth in order to prevail. Does genius require economic excess in order to distinguish itself from mediocrity?
It transpired that Tarkovsky's reference to Tibet was caused by an error of translation. What had been meant were certain valleys and glaciers in the Hindu Kush. In close proximity are - Tarkovsky had never visited the area himself, but had heard of- "terrains never entered by anyone" and some "gardens of extraordinary beauty". The gardens remained planted according to most ancient instructions from Atlantis and contained in their vegetation and cultivation knowledge of that star from which the PERFECT ONES descend. Were one to search, Tarkovsky suggested, one would also find ancient books there.


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