Oh, that wonderful world of films
Ingmar Bergman’s Wild strawberries was on. I laid down on the kitchen floor, underneath the kitchen table, my favourite place for watching TV, my eyes fixed on the screen. I was about 10 years old.
The first dream sequence begins. An old man walks in the empty street, the sun is shining brightly. The man walks slowly. A strange looking clock sways slightly in the breeze, attached glasses and two large protruding eyes painted on them. The man looks up to see the time. The clock hands are missing. The old man takes off his hat, wipes his forehead, looks up again, the clock looks back at him. He is confused. He goes into the shade, thinking it must have been the sun. But it is not. The clock has no hands. The old man is startled. He walks away. Then comes back again. Looks around again - there is not a soul around.
Suddenly a man in black coat appears. The old man approaches him and touches his shoulder. The man turns around, falls on the pavement and dissolves. The old man is visibly shaken. He then sees a horse carriage without a coachman coming towards him. One of the wheels gets stuck against a lamp post. The horses keep pulling it until the wheel breaks off and the carriage tilts to one side. A coffin slides out of the carriage and falls on the sidewalk. It half-opens. A dead man’s hand is sticking out. The old man comes close to the coffin. The dead man’s palm opens and grabs his hand. The face in the coffin is his own. He struggles with himself for a few seconds, the camera cutting in closeup from one face to another. The old man wakes up.
I was mesmerised by what saw. I could not say at the time why I was drawn to this film or this particular sequence, but the fact is that I have remembered it and have gone back to it many times over the years, as an adult film enthusiast, and now as a filmmaker. Perhaps it was the idea that one can translate dreams into a film sequence that amazed me. Or the powerful black and white images. What ever it was, I was hooked. From then on, the film became my favourite escape and I knew it will be an important part of my life. As I grew up I realised that all the important questions in life can be raised through this medium. Furthermore, the meeting of sound and moving images has an aesthetic quality that is fulfilling on so many levels. It did take me many years to finally make a decision to start a filmmaking career. I remember reading about Tarkovsky getting into the Moscow film school and doing his first feature to test his ability to be a director. I did something similar by enrolling in the Filmmaking program. And here I am now, camera in hand, making my dream a reality. Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride!