As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000) Movie Script

I have never been able really
to figure out
where my life begins
and where it ends.
I have never, never been able
to figure it all out,
What it's all about,
what it all means.
So when I began now
to put all these rolls
of film together,
to string them together,
the first idea was
to keep them chronological.
But then I gave up
and I just began
splicing them together by chance,
the way I found them on the shelf.
Because I really don't know
where any piece of my life
really belongs.
So let it be, let it go,
just by pure chance,
There is some kind of order in it,
order of its own,
which I do not really understand,
same as I never understood
life around me,
the real life, as they say,
or the real people,
I never understood them.
I still do not understand them,
and I do not really want
to understand them.
Without knowing, unknowingly,
we carry, each of us,
we carry with us
somewhere deep
some images of Paradise.
Maybe not images...
some vague, vague feeling
where we have been some place...
There are places, there are places
in which we find ourselves
in our lives,
I have been in such places
where I felt, ah,
this must be like Paradise,
this is Paradise,
this is how Paradise was,
or something like that,
a little fragment of Paradise.
Not only the places...
I have been with friends,
we have been together,
my friends, many times,
and we felt,
some kind of togetherness,
something special,
and we were elated and we felt, ah,
we felt like in Paradise.
But we were right here on this Earth.
But we were in Paradise...
Those brief moments, those moments,
and that is maybe
what it's all about...
Forget eternity, enjoy,
yes, we enjoyed those moments,
those brief moments, those evenings,
and there were many such evenings
many such evenings, my friends,
I will never forget them,
my friends...
I think Nietzsche was the transition.
I believe one of the absolute greatest
philosophers of the Western
culture is Nietzche.
The most precise of all.
That's why he was
the greatest influence...
He changed my life in 1960.
In 1959 I read his Dramaturgie
and I read the introduction
of the second or third edition
which was years later,
and he says, "Oh if I would have
only written poetry
"and incorporated it all, instead
of trying to say it as a philosopher,
that was my failure."
So I said, that's enough:
I have to make my films now.
And that's when I left my job
at the Graphic Studios
and made "Guns of the Trees."
He had his mind,
and he continuously struggles...
Here I am, in my editing room,
this late night,
this late night again.
I have stopped
my tape recorder here...
That is, I am rewinding...
as I'm working on my sounds...
Here I am, just with my images
and my sounds...
by myself,
now in practically empty house.
Oona is now married
and happy and she is in Brooklyn.
But actually, this very minute
she's watching with Sebastian,
they went to a movie.
Hollis is out,
she left early this morning,
I left before her,
so I don't know where she is
and when she's coming back home.
So here I am, just myself,
and cats and my images
and my sounds
and myself,
wondering, wondering about myself.
Actually, maybe I am exaggerating.
I'm not really wondering.
I'm just doing my work.
I'm just working.
This is my little workshop here,
this little room,
loaded, stacked with film,
and my two bayans...
Here is one,
and here is another,
as I'm working on my sounds.
I'm not so sure what I'm doing really.
It's all chance.
I'm going through
all the reels of my sounds,
picking up this, picking up that,
splicing it all together,
putting it all together,
by chance, same as the images
same as I am putting
those images together,
exactly the same
when I originally filmed them,
by chance, with no plan,
just according
just to the whim of the moment,
what I felt at that moment
that I should be filming
this or that, without knowing why.
Same with the sounds
that I have collected
through all those years,
I'm picking up all those sounds
and putting them here
on the soundtrack,
by chance.
Image, sound memories.
No judgement here...
positive, negative,
good, bad...
they're just images and sounds,
very very innocent
in and by themselves,
as they pass through...
as they go and they go,
very very innocent.
Yes, people are bad,
cinema is innocent,
People are not innocent.
They are not.
Here is a surprise for Chapter Three.
Now, what do the normal,
regular people usually do?
Of course, they get married.
So, Hollis and me, that is,
the protagonist of this film,
we decided to try to be
like all the normal,
serious people:
we decided to get married.
Ah, Almus,
with your boundless energy...
Ah, Jacques Ledoux,
sweet Ledoux...
Ah, P. Adams, Allan.
Ken, and Richard.
Harry I miss your jokes...
I miss your jokes.
Ah, and there is
the man of the minute...
and Hollis's father,
and Hollis's brother...
Title: January 10th.
Watching the snow fall.
Keep looking for things,
in places, where there is nothing.
The dream,
the crying room.
The crying room.
The crying field.
There is a room, there is a room,
we never see its...
There is a room in
which there is a woman
who cries and cries.
We hear her crying
but we never see her.
The crying field.
There is a room.
"Wir nichts von den Dingen wissen
was wir nicht selbst
in sie hinein gelegt haben."
Emmanuel Kant
The silence.
The silence.
But what happens during the silences?
Yes, the silences...
But what happens during the silences?
The pain is stronger than ever.
I've seen bits of lost Paradises
and I know I'll be hopelessly
trying to return
even if it hurts.
The deeper I swing into
the regions of nothingness
the further I'm thrown back
into myself,
each time more and more frightening
depths below me,
until my very being becomes dizzy.
There are brief glimpses
of clear sky,
like falling out of a tree, so I have
some idea where I am going,
but there is still too much clarity
and straight order of things,
I am getting always
the same number somehow.
So I vomit out broken bits
of words and syntaxes
of the countries I've passed through,
broken limbs, slaughtered houses,
My heart is poisoned,
my brain left in shreds
of horror and sadness.
I've never let you down, world,
but you did lousy things to me.
This feeling of going nowhere,
of being stuck,
the feeling of Dante's first strophe,
as if afraid of the next step,
next stage.
As long as I don't sum up myself,
stay on the surface,
I don't have to move forwards,
I don't have to make
painful and terrible decisions,
choices, where to go and how.
Because deeper there are
terrible decisions to make,
terrible steps to take.
It's at forty that we die,
those who did not die at twenty.
It is at forty that we betray
ourselves, our bodies, our souls,
by either staying
on the surface or by going further
but through the easiest decisions,
throwing our souls back
by thousands of incarnations.
But I have come close to the end now,
it's the question
will I make it or will I not.
My life has become too painful
and I keep asking myself,
what I am doing
to get out of where I am,
what am I doing with my life.
It took me long to realize
that it's love
that distinguishes man
from stones, trees, rain,
and that we can lose our love
and that love grows through loving,
yes, I've been so completely lost,
so truly lost.
There were times I wanted
to change the world,
I wanted to take a gun
and shoot my way
through the Western Civilization.
Now I want to leave others alone,
they have their terrible fates to go.
Now I want to shoot
my own way through myself,
into the thick night of myself.
Thus I change my course,
going inwards,
thus I am jumping
into my own darkness.
There must be something, somehow,
I feel, very soon,
something that should
give me some sign
to move one or another direction.
I must be very open and watchful now,
completely open.
I know it's coming.
I am walking like a somnambulist
waiting for a secret signal,
ready to go one or another way,
listening into this huge white silence
for the weakest sign or call.
And I sit here alone and far from you
and it's night and I'm reflecting
on everything all around me
and I am thinking of you.
I saw it in your eyes, in your love,
you too are swinging
towards the depths of your own being
in longer and longer circles.
I saw happiness and pain in your eyes
and reflections of the Paradises lost
and regained and lost again,
that terrible loneliness
and happiness,
yes, and I reflect upon this
and I think about you, like two lonely
space pilots in outer cold space,
as I sit here this late night alone
and I think about all this.
So, my dear viewers,
we have arrived at Chapter Four.
that nothing much,
nothing extraordinary has so far
happened in this movie,
nothing much extraordinary.
It's all very simple
daily activities, life.
No drama,
no great climaxes, tension,
what will happen next.
Actually, the titles in this movie
tell you right there
what's going to happen.
I guess, by now you have noticed
that I do not like any suspense.
I want you to know exactly,
or at least approximately
what's coming,
what's happening.
Though, again, as you have noticed,
nothing much is happening anyway.
So let's continue,
and see, maybe something will happen,
If not, forgive me, dear viewers,
if nothing happens,
let's continue anyway.
That's how life is,
it's always more of the same,
always more of the same.
One day follows another,
one second follows another second.
OK, I'll give you now
some suspense and let's see,
let's see how the time is going...
I'll record exactly one minute
beginning now...
Cut. That was one minute.
One minute is longer than one thinks.
And the mist now covers the sand.
And the mist now covers the sand.
I have been so totally alone
with myself for so long.
I've been so totally alone with myself
for so long.
He sits under the tree
in the park
listening to the leaves
of the trees in the wind.
That day you wanted to come with me
but you couldn't.
I went alone but it wasn't the same.
You said you had a feeling
that in one of my lives
I had something to do with the circus.
You said, you could see me in Spain.
Title: January 9th.
No image.
Only soundtrack of Louis and Storm
discussing something,
bits, glimpses of mystics.
My dear viewer,
it's midnight now.
I am talking to you
and it's very very late
in my little room.
I'm looking at these images
and I'm trying to provide you
with some sounds
to go with these images,
and my imagination,
my mind has just stopped dead.
I am looking at these images, now,
many many years later.
I recognize and remember everything.
What can I tell to you,
what can I tell to you.
No. No. These are images
that have some meaning to me
but may have no meaning to you at all.
Then, suddenly, this being midnight,
I thought:
There is no image
that wouldn't relate to anybody else.
I mean, all images around us
that we go through our lives,
and I go filming them,
they are not that much different
from what you have seen
or experienced.
From what you have seen
or experienced.
All our lives are
very very much alike.
Ah, my dear Blake.
Just a drop of water.
We are all in it
and nothing,
there is no big difference,
essential difference
between you and me,
no essential difference.
You must by now
come to a realization
that what you are seeing
is a sort of masterpiece of nothing.
You must have noticed my obsession
with what's considered as nothing,
in cinema and life,
nothing very important.
We all look for those
very important things...
very important things.
And here there is
nothing important, nothing.
It's all little daily scenes,
personal little celebrations and joys.
Nothing important.
It's all nothing.
That is, if you have never experienced
the ecstasy of a child
making the first steps.
The incredible importance
of that moment,
of a child making his first steps.
Or the importance,
the incredible importance
of a tree in the Spring
suddenly all in blossoms,
all in blossoms!
The miracle,
miracles of every day,
little moments of Paradise
that are here now,
next moment maybe they are gone.
Totally insignificant,
but great...
"The reader should be carried forward
"not merely or chiefly
"by the mechanical impulse
of curiosity,
"not by a restless desire
to arrive at the final solution,
"but by the pleasurable activity
of the journey itself."
Is it June?
Yes, June 26th, oh boy!
26th. Now what do we have to say
for ourselves on this day?
June 23rd.
The voice said:
You don't have to go anywhere.
You just have to make yourself ready.
Prepare yourself.
Know it's there.
It will come by itself.
Your work is here,
it will come by itself.
Just have trust and knowing
and be open and ready.
Don't worry,
don't frustrate.
It will come.
By the time a viewer, that is you,
reaches Chapter Six,
one expects, that is you, you expect,
you expect to find out...
more about the protagonist,
that is me, the protagonist
of this movie.
So I don't want to disappoint you.
All I want to tell you, it's all here.
I am in every image of this film,
I am in every frame of this film.
The only thing is: you have to know
how to read these images.
Didn't all those French guys tell you
how to read the images?
Yes, they told you.
So, please, read these images
and you'll be able to tell
everything about me.
So, here it is, Chapter Six.
Ah, the summers of New York!
The summers, when everybody
is leaving the town,
when I can walk the streets
just almost by myself,
and the sun beating on the streets,
and sweating, and hot,
I like it, I am in ecstasy
during those days, weeks
of the midsummer,
the hottest time in New York.
I like it, I like New York
when it's hot
and when I am sweating
and I am walking the streets.
I have walked those streets
all my New York life,
many many years,
I have memories, I have memories
of those streets,
going back many many many years.
The summers, the summers of New York.
New York downtown rooms are hot
and the mysterious wind comes
through the windows
and blows the curtains gently.
Ah, the winds of New York summers!
You sit or maybe you lie
in your hot bed in your hot room,
and you are sweating,
and you don't know what to drink,
and whatever you drink
comes out immediately
through your skin as sweat...
Ah, those are the days that I like.
And you sit maybe
by the window and you look out,
and maybe you don't even have
a fan going,
and it's hot in the room too,
and you look out,
and it's all white
and washed out by the sun.
Ah, then you go to the park,
and you lie in the grass
and you look at the blue sky,
maybe there is not
a single cloud in it,
and it's hot, and it's hot.
There are millions of people
around you on the blankets,
the trees, the trees,
and there is you,
maybe just by yourself,
in the middle of the summer.
Ah, what an ecstasy, what an ecstasy!
As I was watching you that moment,
I thought
there can not be
anything more beautiful
or more important on this earth,
between heaven and earth,
as you were there one with them,
one with heaven and earth,
giving life,
giving life to Oona.
I admired you that moment and I knew
that you were completely
somewhere else,
somewhere else where I could never be,
something I could never
totally understand.
The beauty of the moment,
that moment,
was beyond
any words...
Now, this is from
William Carlos Williams,
from his autobiography:
"That is the poet's business
"not to talk in vague categories
"but to write particularly
"as a physician works upon a patient,
"upon the thing before him,
"in the particular
to discover the universal.
"John Dewey had said,
"I discovered it quite by chance,
"The local is the only universal,
upon that all art builds."
Quotes closed.
Then all the sound stops suddenly.
The Shadow Theatre
presents "Thirties' Man,"
Chapter One, of the big
black out of '65,
by Ken Jacobs,
starring Noel Sheridan
as Thirties' Man
with Flo Beth as his girl.
Live shadow play at midnight
this Friday and Saturday
at the Cinematheque.
My dear viewers,
I guess you have come
to another realization by now,
and that is, that I am
not really a filmmaker.
I do not make films... I just film.
I am obsessed with filming.
I am really a filmer...
It's me and my Bolex.
I go through this life with my Bolex
and I have to film what I see,
what is happening right there.
What an ecstasy just to film.
Why do I have to make films
when I can just film!
When I can just film,
whatever is happening there,
in front of me and now,
my friends, whatever I see.
I may not be even
filming the real life,
I may be just filming my memories.
I don't care! I just have to film.
Like, I have to film snow.
I have to film snow.
How much snow there is in New York?
But you'll see
a lot of snow in my films.
Snow is like the mud of Lourdes.
Why do they always,
when they paint Paradise,
show it just full of exotic trees?
Paradise, my Paradise
was full of snow,
my Paradise was full of snow.
I tell you, Paradise was full
of soft, white snow,
and I used to roll in it
and I was so free and happy.
I was in Paradise.
I knew, I know:
when I as a child I was in Paradise.
I know.
I guess, I am a romantic.
You can call me a romantic.
It's OK with me.
I do not understand,
I never really understood,
never really lived
in the so-called real world.
I lived, I live...
in my own imaginary world,
which is as real as any other world,
as real as the real worlds
of all the other people around me.
You also live in your own
imaginary worlds.
What you are seeing
is my imaginary world,
which to me is not imaginary at all,
it's real,
it is as real as anything else
under the sun.
So let us continue, let us continue...
As I am putting
these pieces of film together,
this late evening,
I am thinking about myself,
I am thinking how during the years,
I have covered myself
with layers of civilization,
so many layers
that now even myself
I don't see how easily wounds
are made deep inside,
deep inside by things
that I don't even suspect.
What do I know
about this civilization, this life...
I know nothing.
I do not understand anything.
And I know nothing, I know nothing.
I do not know how I managed
to reach this point,
how I have reached
this point in my life.
But I continue moving ahead,
slowly, moving ahead,
and some glimpses of happiness
and beauty come my way,
by chance,
when I do not even expect it...
when I do not even expect it...
So I keep moving ahead,
I keep moving ahead, my friends...
I understand animals...
cows, horses, cats, dogs...
but I do not understand people.
I do not understand people...
So let us continue...
Life goes on...
My camera... To film...
I am not making films,
I am just filming.
The ecstasy of filming,
just filming life around me,
what I see, to what I react,
to what my fingers, my eyes react,
this moment, now,
this moment when it's all happening,
ah, what ecstasy...
June 10th 1979.
Oona's concert.
What did you say?
What did you say?
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday, dear Jonas!
So let us continue.
It's very late at night now
in New York and in my little room
where I am putting
all these pieces together.
It seems that the only time
I have for myself
is those late late night hours
when everybody's sleeping,
when the air is clearer
from all that daily noise,
Those are the little bits of time
and, of course, it has always been so,
that is why this film consists
of little bits, fragments
of time,
time, from my life,
little fragments.
But sometimes the fragments
contain all that there is,
as Blake said...
In the background
you can hear some noises
from the New Year's celebration.
New Year's 1999
into 2000.
Tomorrow will be the first day
of the year 2000.
I am here in my editing room splicing.
I made about 150 splices today
and I am looking at my old footage,
footage of the 20th century,
the last quarter of the 20th century,
as the world is celebrating
the new year.
The new year...
I am celebrating
all the past years in this footage,
this film.
It's about 20 minutes
to the end of this millennium
as I sit here in my editing room
making splices,
splicing little bits of my own past,
my own millennium.
Each of us have
our own millenniums, millennia,
and they could be longer or shorter,
and when I look now at this footage,
I look at it from completely
somewhere else,
I am completely somewhere else now.
This is me, there, here,
and it's not me anymore,
because I am the one
who is looking at it now,
at myself, at my life, my friends,
the last quarter of the Century.
Now it's about 17 minutes
to the end of this century,
this millennium.
It's just time, time goes on,
life goes on,
same as this film
is going on through
the projector gate,
projector gate,
the film, these images recorded
casually at different times,
long ago,
and they mean just what they mean,
just what they are,
and nothing else beyond themselves.
Central Park.
The Sundays,
the Sundays in Central Park,
when you sit in the grass,
when you sit in the grass with friends
and maybe a bottle of wine
and some cheese
and some Italian sausage.
Ah, the ecstasy, the beauty,
the happiness
of Sundays in Central Park!
If you have never spent Sunday,
many Sundays, as many Sundays
as I have spent there,
you'll never know
the happiness, the pleasure,
the ecstasy, the beauty
of Central Park on Sundays,
Central Park, summers in Central Park,
the summers of Central Park...
The seasons of the year pass New York
very often unnoticed.
Here is winter
and then, before you know,
suddenly, Spring.
Sometimes you think
it's already Spring,
and then it snows,
for a surprise.
And then again the Spring takes over
and suddenly everything is blooming.
Everything is blooming
and you know then
it's really Springtime,
yes, it is Springtime.
And then you go
to the Central Park.
Eh, my friends, the Spring,
the summers of New York...
I don't think you believe me.
But I tell you,
it is beautiful in New York
in the Spring.
And when the summers come,
I am ecstatic,
I don't want to go anywhere,
I want to stay here, in New York...
Memories, memories...
They come and go,
in no particular order.
I remember this, I remember that,
places, faces,
they come and go, they come and go...
My dear friends,
to be in Paradise
is to be with good old friends...
Ah, my friends,
the hours, the evenings
we spent together!
That was Paradise.
As time goes,
as time goes,
there is nothing more important
than good friends, my friends!
As I sit in my room
this late night
and look at some of the images
that I am splicing,
putting together,
I wonder how much of yourselves
you'll see and recognize
in these images.
I am talking to you now, Oona
and Sebastian and Hollis.
I am talking to you now.
These are my memories.
Your memories of the same...
if you'll have any,
will be very different.
These are my memories,
the way I saw it
when I was filming it.
It was through my childhood
memories, I guess,
I was filming my own memories,
my own childhood,
as I was filming your childhood.
I picked up those moments
to which I responded,
coming, remembering my own childhood.
So I do not know how much
of yourselves you'll see in it,
though it was all real,
it was all real life.
It's you, it's you
in every frame of this film
though it's seen by me.
But it is you...
You'll see it all very differently,
it will mean completely
something else,
these images,
to you than to me.
Yes... It's late night again.
The city is sleeping.
I am here alone,
looking at these images,
fragments of my and your lives,
talking into this mike,
by myself, by myself...
I am still in Provence,
this evening, here,
in my editing room,
this late night.
I am in Provence!
I feel the sun, I feel the lightness,
I see the landscape,
the trees, the flowers.
I can smell the air of Provence
and I can feel the happiness,
the happiness
of that summer in Provence,
as we, Hollis and me,
as we were driving
through the little up and down
and around hills, little towns.
As we drank the wine of Provence,
the air of Provence.
Ah, the happiness,
the ecstasy of that summer.
It's still here, now, with me,
this very moment,
it's stronger than anything
that I have experienced, gone through,
today, today, now and in New York,
it's much much stronger and closer
and much more real.
You ask me about beauty!
What do I know about beauty!
But I know that I have experienced
moments of happiness,
moments of happiness
and that was, if there is beauty,
that was beauty.
Provence is beauty.
Being in love is beauty.
Drinking the wine
of Provence is beauty.
That was, that is beauty, my friends!
Yes, friends is beauty.
To have a glass of wine with friends,
old friends
and new friends, is beauty.
I drink to you tonight, here,
by myself, I lift my glass
of Provence wine,
Ben's wine, to you, my friends!
My dear viewers:
As we continue
I do not feel any guilt
...making you watch
these very personal
insignificant moments of my life.
We all look for something
more important,
for something more important...
But, as life goes,
at some point we realize
that one day follows another
and things that we felt
were so important yesterday
we feel we have forgotten
them already today.
Life is continuing,
life is continuing...
and what's important to me
may be totally unimportant to you,
totally unimportant to you...
though everything eventually passes
except this very,
this very very moment,
and the next second
we are in another moment
and something else happens
and everything else is gone,
is past,
is memory, is memory...
But some of the memories,
no, they never really go away,
nothing really goes away,
it's always here
and sometimes it takes over you
and it's stronger
than any reality around you,
around me, now...
that is... reality,
that is real,
that is really real,
though it's not here anymore,
as they say,
it's not here anymore.
But it's here for me,
it's here and now...
I don't know what life is.
I know nothing about what life is.
I have never understood life,
the real life.
Where do I really live?
I do not know.
I do not know where I come from,
where do I go.
Where am I, where am I?
I do not know.
I do not know where I am
and where I am going to
and where I'm coming from.
I know nothing about life.
But I have seen some beauty,
I have seen some brief,
brief glimpses
of beauty and happiness,
I have seen, I know,
I have seen some happiness and beauty.
I do not know where I am.
I do not know where I am.
But I know I have experienced
some moments of beauty,
brief moments of beauty and happiness,
as I am moving ahead,
as I am moving ahead, my friends!
I have, I know,
I know I have experienced
some brief brief moments of beauty,
my friends, my friends!