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¶ Short of the Day #125: Arrival

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Perception de Ambiguity
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¶ Short of the Day #125: Arrival


Post by Perception de Ambiguity »

"Short of the Day" is the daily discussion of a short.

1) Watch.
2) Discuss.
3) Send me your suggestions for the next Short of the Day per PM, along with links to the shorts and comments, questions for the other users to think about, and/or info about the short.

Detailed project introduction & index: here


Arrival / आगमन (Mani Kaul, 1980) :ICM: :imdb:

Length: 18 minutes 51 seconds

Suggested by: Perception de Ambiguity

Watching this film one might wonder what the title "Arrival" refers to. And what is it about anyway? I'll take the film at its word and say it is about arrival. About people going to the city, about transit, and commerce? About food being consumed in the city, but all of which arrives from outside? No, I think this would be a very limited reading, and say that it is about a metaphysical arriving. I think the film shows how every moment is an arrival. Not just what people are concerned, but all living beings. How everything is in constant flux. The camera certainly is.

Each little task one undertakes implies a desired goal, a struggle to arrive at an outcome, and each present moment is a new beginning, every being largely consciously unaware of all the things that got him there. And yes, this stretches the word "arrival" to a point where it becomes pretty much meaningless. As meaningless as the word "moment". But it's just a word, and Mani Kaul doesn't construct his films as a series of allegories. Like many of the very greatest artists I think he aims to evoke ideas rather than impose preconceived notions and ideologies upon the percipient, making the viewer more aware of the world in a general sense, marrying the profane with the sanctuary...

The final shot I find to be quite a powerful way to close this particular film, as a man gulps down an egg while staring at the camera. I won't banalize this moment by putting my thoughts into words, I'll just leave it at calling the man a "compassionate villain", and you may make of it what you will.

Comments by: Perception de Ambiguity
Last edited by Perception de Ambiguity on June 27th, 2017, 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Carmel1379 »

This is my first Mani Kaul film, but based on this I can see why you dig this guy so much, especially lately.

If I'd have to put a label on it I'd say city-symphony, although that term is usually reserved for 1920s silent films, and here the sounds have particular relevance and rhythm, since half of the time Kaul superimposes sounds coming from a different location to an image, which carries its own evocations. The editing feels very natural and each consecutive scene is absorbing in a different way. Those moments can differently be considered part of "the whole" or "wholes" in themselves, despite however being further subdivided into distinct shots, and then further down - camera moments, where the latest is a fluid property. Generally everything moving through time and recorded on film can be infinitely partitioned, but those instantaneous frames integrate to create "moments". Hence I can see where you're coming from with constant flux and moment, especially how the two are intertwined rendering the latter meaningless, even though we, perceivers, register the world as moments and affects.
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