The early ones: those brief encounters. I focus clearly, they're hypnotic. Camera passes behind people's backs, carefully gliding past shoulders.

Zina: I used to like good-looking people, now I want them intelligent. But I want to be interesting to them.

I suspect they are written like poetry disguised as dialogue. Kira Muratova's films always make me want to take a snap of the screen. There are the in-between moments when the camera has not yet hit the marker, when there is a charge in its movement. Even when they talk about bureaucratic things like, say, water pipes in the district, there is a certain energy that the screen emits.

I do not want to touch great films. But not with her films, I never had this kind of reverence. They don't seem to be fragile at all. Instead, I want to tinker with playback. I want to pause at specific spots, grab a screen with or without the poetic line flashing. So that when they hold their pose, I can take a moment to look at them a while longer. Kira won't notice, of course. We are in the Philippines, and she must be in another state right now.

And we've stopped now. Here, she's asking that lady if she wants tea. And she's moving toward the window, still preoccupied about water and water pipes in the city district. Zina, the facts are in the paper. Then someone teases someone about marriage. I must

marry, says Zina. Shes goes to Kira, also an actress here: I know her, I have moved from her lap, but near to his.

Kira says that in the movies or in books, women and men are so beautiful and sensible and complete. Even when there's suffering, there is cause and effect, beginning and end. Here, she says, referring to where she is on screen, here, it is so vague.

In the end, she has to keep her Russian Bob Dylan, that is clear. So she asks him to love her in other ways. And to give up his everything for her.

He says, Nonsense, you talk like a book. I cannot stay at home and wait for you to return.

And that's the end of that. Classic.





So the long farewells start. And they begin with water again. And music. And repeated actions. And piano. Again, charged motion. But the camera comes up, nearer. Some striking portraits. Faces are still the best. And then, body parts: hands in the garden, the beautiful Masha's hair by the window just as mother and son arrive at the big house.


Mother sees a possible love interest for her son, so she says, I hope to build you a city where you can live happily ever after, Masha. I hope to live up to that day.


Kira likes to hammer things home so you won't miss. Repeats: You have my sympathy. Son on the phone: Dad, I only have 3 minutes. I haven't decided yet. 3 minutes. 3 minutes. Mom enters frame and overhears him, perfectly timed. Okay, I want to live with you. Yes, I shall leave mom.


No sound at telling scenes: Son doing the high jump Mom writing angry letter to husband: Stay out of my life. Son hiding from mother in dance floor


Outside the hall, son finally tells mom, I love you, I'll stay.


We begin to miss Masha, the girl who always teased her son. She'll teach him a thing or two about leaving.





Getting to know the big wide world. Lots of discarded mirrors, reflective surfaces, reflection.

There is a certain dance, always a swaying.

They're all still like children. Milk for love. Hats everywhere. Big truck folks drive. Sacks and piles to balance your weight on, swaying back and forth, like kids. Sparks from construction equipment. As if children have been contracted to play these roles in this film forever. All aging. Yet, still the same script.

Even questions are for children:

Where were you born? Whom do you like? What color?

And declarative statements:

I thought you were missing one finger. And he loves her madly.

Simple instructions.

  1. Play the harmonica: She has a lipstick. He has a handkerchief. Try it.

  2. Perfect home: We're the builders! The earth is our floor, the sky is our roof.

  3. Brighter future: Many good-looking guys, I said. Many of them. No, no, no marriage until I fall in love!





change of fortune change of pace

no subtitles needed






This syndrome: You had a crush on the girl who wrote poetry, that same one who was really good but quite unsure of herself. And you want to be interesting to her. So you work on telling stories for years and years. And you don't see her again until you saw the world on your own. And you chance upon her, at long last. Perfectly timed: you're interesting now. Small surprise: you notice she listens to different music, not just those piano pieces anymore. They're drowned by rock and techno, and you struggle to sway and find those moments.

There are no more simple sentences. Simple words, yes, like color and texture and, yikes, rainbow. But mental institution and sunglasses and dude?

You remember her once telling us, that in movies, characters talked clearly and succinctly. Here now, you have to dig through the noise. Now you're trying to understand her through this noise.

There are still repetitions, and kids and adults-animals.




                                                                                                                                                                         John Torres