Archive for August, 2008

The distance between the Absolute Position and relative position I hold today is marked by time and experience. What are we but a bundle of contradictions: we hold a reference to something otherworldly and yet our experience as terrestrial beings marks us to something else. Theologically this is our ‘fallen state’ with Absolute Position as the idyllic state of innocence.


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Man as a rational being uses his intellect to make sense of his world. It is made in terms of ideas. Given an absolute position totally different from everyone else how each borrows ideas from Cosmic Mind is different.
From whence came his impulse to seek beyond his term of life on the earth? One wants to build up a mighty business empire and leave it for his descendants; another creates beautiful works so his name may live after him. Or one devotes his life in works of charity so his name will be recorded in heaven and so on.
Ideas are what give man or woman a special significance: power to transcend his or her lifespan. For example Alexander Fleming’s discovery and pioneering work in antibiotics makes him still relevant.
Without a viewpoint none of us shall know what to get out of life. Thus we create new pathways and in that process we are hailed as pioneers. Most of us tend to hide our power and wisdom behind the bushel of opinions of others. To those conformists I shall suggest Emerson’s Self Reliance to read.

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A Bedtime Story


The City is noted for its minarets and gardens. On a
sunny day the four minarets of the Blue Mosque rise to
the skies like prayers of many believers; more
picturesque is the central dome covered with some
millions of blue tiles. Such blue is no more seen
since the sultan decreed ‘Blue is passé’. See how it
stands, a shimmering dome like the tear of an angel,
frozen in midair. The Blue Mosque. Poets loved
watching the dome under changing lights through the
day! It made their poetry sound sweeter. Hamals (or
porters) carrying heavy loads through winding and
crooked streets looked at that dome rising from the
city skyline and instantly their loads became lighter
and they thought life was worth living. No one could
resist its power. Except one.
See that crooked street cutting through the market?
Do you see that shop on the right? A To Z the board
says. Anything money can buy is sold there. Ziddiq,
the shopkeeper is dressed in drab clothes and his
beard is browned as his fingers are calloused. Henna
colored his beard which he allowed because his wife
thought brown was becoming in one so old; his fingers
were calloused from counting money: large sums of it
every night passed through his fingers when the folks
slept. While the dome of the Blue Mosque gleamed under
a waning moon! Poor Ziddiq! He had never even heard of
the blueness of the dome under whose shadow he lived
all his life!
One morning his neighbor told him in strictest
confidence the price of grains would go sky-high. How
high? Ziddiq asked. He quoted a figure. Ziddiq said,
”impossible.” As soon as his neighbor was gone he
called his eldest son to find what were the prices for
items written in his list. His son came back with his
findings. After reading it he was astounded! A sack of
barley cost only three copper pieces!”
Having ordered for as much as could be bought he had
a problem: ”Where to stock them?”
He knew just the place. He had a large warehouse
where his father put away every thing he had no
immediate use for. Just as his forefathers had done in
the past. It was bursting in its seams as the
expression is. He called a few servants and asked them
to clear up that place. Nothing was to be spared.
Hour’s later servants came to report. They said his
orders were carried out except for a carpet, which was
of size 64”by 37 inches.
“I am in no mood for checking the size of a carpet.”
“But master,” said Samir, ”It was made somewhere in
Samarqand probably late 17th century. It is silk. If
you ask me it is one of the finest.” “Shut up!”Ziddiq
yelled, ”Who asked you for your opinion?”
The silk carpet was decorated with a mihrab design
(a cusped arch with geometric motifs) in the field
counterpoised with arabesque in the spandrels. A
stylized floral pattern running around the edges
completed the piece.
He ordered the laborers to set light to it. “I
shall not have this nonsense here!” The menials balked
at the idea. They pleaded. “A thing of beauty,
master!”Samir cried. He became enraged at the word
beauty and he shoved them aside.
“A thing of beauty such as this has a life of its
own.” Kalam added his. They all pleaded with tears in
their eyes. With uncontrollable rage he pushed them
aside. He himself torched it and said, ”There, you try
to teach me beauty!” He was in a rage. He said, “You
all live a life of ease because I pay you wages in
time. Be gone!” He was so worked up.
That day Ziddiq went home very late. He was tired
but he had found a place for thousands and thousands
of sacks of grains, which came in a convoy one after
the other. Only seeing them secured for the night
eased his fury somewhat. Then he saw how his son had
put his men to guard it. He had done well, and the
father’s heart swelled with pride. The young man gave
him the keys and the accounts and left for home.
Mentally Ziddiq calculated the profit he stood to
make and that made him laugh. In a happy frame of mind
he followed his son.
He went home to eat his frugal supper. Even when he
went through the motions of the nighttime prayer he
had only one thought. He would make all his rivals
bite the dust. So much profit he stood to make. He
wandered through the house and secured the doors for
the night.
At the time he was about to lie down he thought he
heard a knocking sound. As if some were shifting
things around somewhere. So distinct it sounded. His
wife lay asleep. He checked into his sons’ room. They
were also asleep.
“Clickety-Click,” he heard. “It must be from across
the river,” said he. He put out the candle and lay in
bed. The same sound again. “Clikety-Clack!”
”Clikety-Klak!” The sounds came louder this time. He
thought it came from his drawing room. It was distinct
and very ominous. With each minute the clicking sound
went louder and louder. He could not sleep with such
an infernal noise. Again he got out. He lit a candle,
which he could barely hold for fright.
He peeped into the parlor.
There was an intruder!
And he had settled himself in the middle of the
parlor as if he owned the place. He felt a murderous
rage struggling with his fear at the scene presented
before him.
Across the parlor stood a weaving frame; and a very
old man with sad look in his deep-set eyes, went on
working. “What on earth!” It was all he could say. His
fear swallowed the rest of the sentence. Instead a
squeal. Even that did not distract the wizened
intruder. The ghastly apparition of a weaver did not
look up nor acknowledge his presence. Instead he was
bent over the frame intently checking his work. Having
satisfied himself he went on knotting the fibres and
cutting the knots to make naps. Ziddiq had no idea
whether his eyes were deceiving him or some rival of
his was hell-bent for mischief. Before his very eyes
filmed with fear and pricked with hate the old weaver
went on and on. His hands flew over the carpet while
adjusting the warp and the woof without missing a
beat. So free and fluid his movements were. As if he
had been doing it all his life and could have done
even while asleep.
He was masterly in his work.
Ziddiq stood there transfixed. Clickety-click,
Clinkety-clank, So went on the loom while the room
was lit by a spot of light that hovered around the
design, which was becoming clearer with each motion of
his hands. Ziddiq would have screamed but his voice
died silently. The weaver looked at him with sad eyes
that in its hurt, without any rancor whatsoever, no
stab-wound would have come anywhere near. It twisted
his heartstrings beyond endurance.
Ziddiq could only twitch in response.
He trembled uncontrollably when the spectre of a
weaver looked once towards him. Those eyes now seemed
to challenge him. The infernal intruder said, “ My
life was in that carpet. Now I must weave another
because you so callously destroyed it.”
Having said his piece he continued with his task as
if he were alone in his own workshop. He was sad as
before and yet, very resolute. As if he knew he could
do it. Without tiring himself. Ziddiq could do nothing
but watch in horror. He went hot and cold as an
exquisite design began to take shape before his eyes.
Clikety-clack! Clickety-click! The weaver went on
without stopping and he was inhuman that he could draw
for his carpet filaments out of thin air! He wanted to
scream but nothing. He stood there petrified!
Poor Ziddiq! While the swirls of design now settled
down to a pattern he felt short of breath! As if the
ground under his feet gave way to something
insubstantial, and the walls melted and flowed about
him. Clickety-click! clikety- Clak! went on the loom
unrelenting. ‘Clickety-click! Clikety-clak!’ It went
on enveloping everything else.

Next morning the City awoke to some astounding news.
Where the ancestral home of Ziddiq stood nothing ever
remained but a prayer mat. No one could well explain
what occurred in the small hours of the night.
Samir and Kalam came as usual to take orders from
their master. Instead they were witnesses to
something, which no one could explain. There stood not
a trace of the master’s house! Some one had cleaned up
the old wooden beamed house with terrace and balcony
and not even a door hinge lay there; the wrought-iron
washstand where their master always went for wash
before prayers was missing; the folding stool and the
holy book also had vanished! Except a prayer mat.
Passers-by came over by curiosity and all that they
saw was the curiously wrought prayer mat. Nothing
Samir could not take his eyes off it. It didn’t
explain the mystery! Still bewildered he stood there.
Finally he commented, ”A crazy-quilt pattern. I see
Master’s profile his beard and all- so distinct. What
do you think, Kalam?”
“I do not think anything,” Kalam replied, “But the
mat will make some money for a second-hand dealer.”
The End

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Cosmic Mind is infinite where Time and Space hold no meaning. As the Scriptures say,’One day is with the Lord as a thousand years…’we expect God to answer us and our so called good acts be paid back in our time. Cosmic Mind has a long range vision and to plumb its depths is a fool’s business.
That reminds me: Cosmic Mind holds no distinction between a fool and a wise man. Why? I can remind you of a parable that I wrote sometime back. Since I find it bothersome to go through my old posts let me post it from my book(available online), Sufficient unto this Day.
A Fool Is A Wiseman (Who just missed the bus)
‘Mad’ Max was designated as the biggest fool who ever lived in a town with a curious name Pie-In-The-Sky. As soon as he learnt to assemble a refrigerator he knew he wanted to sell one. So he took off to the North Pole. But the Inuit didn’t buy a single one and he died a very poor man. All that he left behind was some ice boxes and a technical manual.
On the other hand Dr. Faustus having made a pact with the devil became the most celebrated scholar who knew everything that went under the sun, which passed for knowledge. How the crowned heads and scholars alike feted him! Then came the computers that made him redundant. He died in grief. He said that a machine beat him. Yes.
The world went a-changing! Then came a thaw and ice melted. The polar caps vanished as an icicle in a furnace. The people in Nunavut learnt to live with the climate changes. Then someone found the papers of ‘Mad’ Max and it was a discovery that electrified the whole region. They learnt to make fridges themselves and control their houses to the right temperature. Who contributed to the welfare of the world more? A fool or a scholar?
Tailspin:In Cosmic Mind the word Success holds a different meaning that we hold. Time shows up the meaninglessness of such distinctions we make of life.

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Green algae form the basis of Arctic food chain. The March sun that filters through the Arctic Sea helps their growth and they form the staple diet for the Arctic carp; ring seals survive the extreme Arctic cold by feeding on these carps. Polar bears survive in turn by preying upon the seals. It is possible only because of an order that drives each life form to run on predictable lines. Such a certainty is the basis for the food chain.

This order is created because of material nature: each species express it and in that process have also acquired an ability to anticipate events.
How these species connect to one another in terms of survival is drawn from wisdom and power, a finite aspect of Cosmic Mind.

Oneness is in all and through all: so much so every life form is of same weight with reference to it.
How we limit purpose or usefulness of other species speaks more of our ignorance than truth.

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François Truffant received critical acclaim with “The 400 Blows” (Les Quatre cents coups) in 1959 and it was his first feature film. The film was autobiographical while Jules and Jim, his third is an adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roché. With the first film he had made himself as the prime exponent of New Wave that was in vogue. The second film focused on two of the French New Wave’s favorite elements, American film noir and themselves while Jules et Jim defined New Wave as truly rooted to the French, meaning doing away with cinematic traditions of French cinema.
Style of this film is the substance. There isn’t much of a plot anyway. Set between 1912 and 1933, the film revolves around two friends Jules and Jim falling in love with the same woman.
The style of the film came as a revelation in 1962. Truffaut skips lightly through the material, covering 25 years while never seeming to linger. It opens with carousel music and a breathless narration into which newsreel footage to recreate WWI and the next (Nazi book burning) is an element typical of New Wave. Another is acute compression of certain narrative from the rest since the focus is on what follows as in the Welles’ The Magnificent Ambersons. Remember the Welles’ more famous film Citizen Kane? It isn’t hard to see from where the cinematic idiom of French New Wave has drawn. A good representative of the literary and cinematic allusions to America,- and Hollywood will be found in Godard’s Breathless. I found Truffaut more satisfying than other practitioners since he had full control over his material and technique.  ‘His camera is nimble, its movement so fluid that we sense a challenge to the traditional Hollywood grammar of establishing shot, closeup, reaction shot and so on; “Jules and Jim” impatiently strains toward the hand-held style. The narrator also hurries things along, telling us what there is no time to show us. The use of a narrator became one of Truffaut’s favorite techniques; it’s a way of signaling us that the story is over and its ending known before it even begins. His use of brief, almost unnoticeable freeze-frames treats some of the moments as snapshots, which also belong to the past.’(Roger Ebert)

Film Overview:
It is 1912. The film essays the friendship of two kindred souls. Jules (Oskar Werner) is a writer from Austria who strikes up a friendship with the more extroverted Jim (Henri Serre). They share an interest in the world of the arts and the Bohemian lifestyle. “They taught each other their languages; they translated poetry.”They are both intrigued by a statue with enigmatic smile and they find Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) who is as enigmatic as that statue. Art and life told in cinematic language and it neatly explains the crux of the film: dilemma of two falling in love with the same woman. Unfortunately life is much more complicated than our responses to a work of art. The rest of the film is taken up with dealing this dilemma into which war is an intrusion as a child borne out of a loveless marriage is a complication. Equally complicated is the failure to conceive a ‘love child.’ It could write finis to love that one is capable of. In all Truffaut’s movies we see him warily examining marriage and the vacuous social traditions this entails. Another of his curious ambivalence regarding women (Catherine for example) and it perhaps reflects his own childhood. Perhaps it is relevant at this point to mention that the original of Catherine was still alive when the film was released. Her real name was Helen Hessel, so writes Daria Galateria in the Bright Lights Film Journal) she attended the premiere incognito and then confessed, “I am the girl who leaped into the Seine out of spite”. This shot is revealing as to the key to the mind of a woman brilliantly portrayed Jeanne Moreau. Jules and Jim learned to give friendship their best and Catherine in middle was life as we all live in this imperfect world and yet we warm our hands by the pyre lit by life’s capricious gifts. Their friendship was doomed to fail. I shall end this overview by quoting Galateria once again. She  quotes Truffaut as having said: “I begin a film believing it will be amusing — and along the way I notice that only sadness can save it.”
The evocative musical score is by Georges Delerue. One song, “Le Tourbillon” (The Whirlwind), summed up the turbulence of the lives of the three main characters, becoming a popular hit.

* Quentin Tarantino references this work in his film Pulp Fiction in the line “Don’t fucking Jimmy me, Jules”.
* Two sequences from the film appear briefly in a cinema scene in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie.
* It is also heavily referenced in Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky where: a clip featuring Jeanne Moreau appears during the finale montage; a poster for the film is displayed in the main character’s bedroom; two best friends fall in love for the same woman – who leaves the insecure one for the passionate one – causing friction between them; a climatic scene involves a woman driving her car off a bridge with her lover.
* The song “When the Lights Go Out All Over Europe” by The Divine Comedy references Jules and Jim in the lines ‘Jeanne can’t choose between the two / ‘Cos Jules is hip and Jim is cool / And so they live together’.
* The song “Speedboat” by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions refers to the film in the lines “Jules said to Jim, ‘Why don’t we jump in,/ While the water’s clean and we are still friends?'”
* In the short story, “Las dos Elenas,” by Mexican author Carlos Fuentes, one of the Elenas watches Jules et Jim and it influences her perspective on life and relationships.
* The original music video for the popular song “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer pays tribute to the film and recreates many of the classic scenes.
* In Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Steve Zissou and Ned Plimpton are standing outside Jane Winslett-Richardson’s cabin door. Steve says “Not this one, Klaus”, a little homage to the character of Jules in the Truffaut film.
* In the “Bastille” episode, from the film Paris, je t’aime (2006), the wife (Miranda Richardson) uses to whistle “Le Tourbillon”.
* Pete Townshend’s album Empty Glass includes a song entitled “Jools and Jim”.
* In the opening chapter of the novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1989) by Michael Chabon, the narrator observes a fight between two men over a woman. After the woman chooses one of the men, named Larry, the narrator walks off. Another man watching the fight asks the narrator, “Which way were you going, anyway, before you ran into Jules and Jim back there?” The narrator replies “Jules and Larry”.

Directed by     François Truffaut
Produced by     Marcel Berbert
François Truffaut
Written by     Henri-Pierre Roché
François Truffaut
Jean Gruault
Music by     Boris Bassiak
Georges Delerue
Cinematography     Raoul Coutard
Release date(s)     January 23, 1962 (French release)
Running time     105 min.
Language     French

Memorable Quotes:
We played with life and lost.
Catherine: Watch us well, Jules!
Catherine: You said, “I love you,” I said, “Wait.” I was going to say, “Take me,” you said, “Go away.”
Jim: Either it’s raining, or I’m dreaming.
Catherine: Maybe it’s both.
Jules: But not this one, Jim. Okay?
Jim: What is it?
Catherine: Sulfuric acid, for the eyes of men who tell lies.
Récitant: Catherine’s plunge into the river so astonished Jim that he drew it the next day, though he didn’t usually draw. Admiration for Catherine welled up in him and he sent her a kiss in his mind.
Jules: She’s more optimistic than you where time’s concerned. She was at the hairdresser’s and and arrived at 8:00 to dine with you.
Jim: If I’d known she might still come, I’d have waited til midnight.

#  In Jean-Luc Godard’s picture Une femme est une femme (1961), Jeanne Moreau appears as herself. This becomes obvious because Jean-Paul Belmondo’s character, while meeting her at a café, asks her: “How is ‘Jules And Jim’ coming?” Une femme est une femme (1961) was released in 1961, while Jules et Jim (1962) in 1962, but the reference exists because François Truffaut and Godard were friends at the time, and often collaborated in each others movies.

# When Jim first visits Jules’ home in Austria, Catherine shows him a picture of Jules costumed as Mozart. Oskar Werner, the actor who plays Jules, also portrayed Mozart in an earlier film.
Similar Movies
Two English Girls  (1971, François Truffaut)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being  (1988, Philip Kaufman)
Lovin’ Molly  (1974, Sidney Lumet)
Love Etc.  (1996, Marion Vernoux)
Toutes les Nuits  (2001, Eugène Green)
Bandits  (2001, Barry Levinson)
The Dreamers  (2003, Bernardo Bertolucci)
My Night at Maud’s  (1969, Eric Rohmer)
Bande à Part  (1964, Jean-Luc Godard)
Cesar & Rosalie  (1972, Claude Sautet)
Movies with the Same Personnel
Two English Girls  (1971, François Truffaut)
The Man Who Loved Women  (1977, François Truffaut)
Bed and Board  (1970, François Truffaut)
Shoot the Piano Player  (1960, François Truffaut)
The Wild Child  (1970, François Truffaut)
The Woman Next Door  (1981, François Truffaut)
Love on the Run  (1979, François Truffaut)
Small Change  (1976, François Truffaut)
Other Related Movies
is featured in:      Amélie  (2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
is related to:      Love Me If You Dare  (2003, Yann Samuell)
The Fortune  (1975, Mike Nichols)
has been remade as:      Willie and Phil  (1980, Paul Mazursky)

check out more French films cinebuff.wordpress.com
Compiler: benny

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