River Walk: Walking Upstream

Its four o’clock in the morning in a provincial cinema theatre with an overwhelming smell of mould. Out of hours there is no-one available to spray around the odour-neutralising perfume. It is dark and visitors are trying to warm up by covering their legs with thick, army-style blankets.

auditorium-seats-emptyThe audience consisted of:
• an incompetent scum disguised as an elitist and philosopher,
• a teacher very proficient in reading and re-interpreting,
• a female pleasant peasant,
• a professional artist; a ladies-man with refined manners,
• a useless gypsy housewife interested in high school mathematics,
• a literature student with long strait hair,
• an insecure art-historian and
• a neurotic adventurer.

Each one played a role of her or his preferred character. That’s what they have chosen to be.

The silence was interrupted by a ticklish noise of an old-fashioned film projector. It was about the same time of the day on the large screen, where the black and white image of a fast running, mountain river was inviting us to participate.

The sequence was recorded with a fixed super-eight camera pointed downstream, showing the water running away, bouncing over the sharp crashed-rock river bottom and disappearing at the river band. The branches of small shrubs and trees at both river banks were moving slowly in the rhythm of an amplified static landscape, trying not to interrupt its dream and most definitely refusing to complain about its snoring.

The literature student with long strait hair and the neurotic adventurer stood up, took their clothes off and walked into the screen.


In the next frame the two characters were seen sitting on the sandy bank of the river, next to the fast-running stream, not demonstrating any signs of the awareness off the presence of the other person. Each of them was there by himself and was smoking a cannabis cigarette, fully focused on contemplating the moment within a displaced surrounding, despite the painful cold and hurt feet.

In the next frame the tripod had moved upstream, showing another landscape.

Once again, the fixed camera was directed downstream and after a while two actors appeared, walking barefoot over sharp rocks and struggling to maintain the balance in freezing cold water. Body language was reduced to suppressed reactions to cold and pain. The focus was on their continuous effort to maintain the pace and get their job done.

Then, in the frame to follow, they were seen sitting on the sandy ground, about two meters away from each other, as they smoked another couple of joints.

Like monsoon seasons or factory shifts, the scenes followed each other, walking upstream and smoking cannabis, wet and cold, with bleeding feet.

movie-projectorThen, as they walked passed the camera, the projector made a noise of the film tape nearing its end, then the motor was heard running unloaded before the button was pressed to stop the machine and terminate the existence of the alternative reality.

The silence returned to the old cinema theatre. The projection was over.

Monotonous like a family life, boring like a successful career.