Saturday, January 18, 2014

(Migrated from Live Journal)

One is always accompanied by a special feeling when walking through the streets in the cold of Russia’s winters. Watchful, crunching steps; short, cold breaths; pocketed mittens and a red nose. But there is something that beats this, and that’s strolling through the snowy city at night.

It’s truly magical to wander at night in the snow. When the temperature and level of humidity is just right, looking up into the yellow street lamps reveals wonders. The falling snow sparkles in its descent, surprisingly slow because of the lack of wind, and for a moment, just one moment, you feel like you’re trapped in a giant disco ball. There are so many times I wished I could capture a moment on camera; so many instances when I hoped I could bottle a particular feeling and take it home with me, all to little or no avail. This, undoubtedly, is life’s way of telling us that if we want more, we have to come back.

Russia in the winter differs from her usual existential self. In winter the Mother Land is almost dormant, hibernating under a sheath of white and grey. She lies quiet, distant from green grass and blue skies. Her people, however, don’t rest. They trudge through the winter, dragging their limbs to and fro, getting on with life under extreme conditions. Winter in Russia is the ultimate test of nerves, and the final resting place for the weakest link.

Last night I had the company and the joy of watching another short film festival at my favourite cinema in Nizhny, Orlenok, which is hosting a festival of the best Oscar-nominated short films (animated and non-animated). I love short films. They are the ultimate brainchild of an aspiring director, or just the result of a funky idea. And that’s what I love about them, because they could potentially be extremely deep and insightful or they could just be the funniest nonsensical 15 minutes of your life. It’s important to remember, though, that even the silliest of short films has a message. This message is something that is not always clear at first viewing, but after a fair amount of brainstorming, it’s sometimes possible to see through the eyes of the scriptwriter. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a chance to dig into the juicy thoughts of the writer of a poem or, in this case, the director of a short film. How wonderful it would be to be able to feel the inspiration behind an idea. Each scene is portrayed as he or she sees the story, and what we see is but a mere reflection of the story’s true self. I long for this type of inspiration; a spark, if you will, that sets ablaze the story of a lifetime. JSF.

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