This Somewhere

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

 

You just read a stanza from W. H. Auden’s Funeral Blues, and you know where we are headed.

We are headed somewhere.

That’s right! We are heading somewhere.

To the North, South, East, or West? On weekdays or weekends? On a morning or a night? In words or in music? Or in those funeral blues? Or somewhere we don’t know? — Wherever we are, we are heading somewhere.

And it’s in that somewhere that we should head today.

Don’t get it?

Have you ever noticed how it is in grief that we are everywhere yet nowhere, and nowhere yet everywhere?

We take our somewhere for granted all the time. This somewhere needs appreciation; it is where we need to be.

In Ingrid Veninger’s He Hated Pigeons, we follow Elias (played by Pedro Fontaine), his memories, his emotions, his journey — his everywhere and nowhere — after he mysteriously loses his lover, Sebastian (played by Cristobal Tapia Montt), for ever, and find out how he finds his somewhere and the need for it.

Elias “travels from the Northern Atacama Desert to the southern Patagonian edge of Chile” on his journey, and, within the journey, reaches a point of self-discovery: of being able to own his identity, of letting go, of being somewhere.

Each frame of the movie, besides looking like a love letter to the country of Chile, captures the stillness of the desert, of the roads, of the mountains, of the river, of wherever Elias goes, and grabs the rush of what he goes through via shouting, via singing to Sebastian’s photo, via talking to a stone and a dog, via calling his mother on ends, via just missing his Seba.

The “uniquely improvised, ever-changing live score” and the naturalness of the music add to the everywhere-and-nowhere-ness of a man in grief. There is a peace — not the lullaby kind — to the music; there’s the sound of night (can you hear it?), of a truck moving, of the kids on a roller-coaster screaming from a distant, of Elias’s heart racing as he flips through the pages of Seba’s journal, and of his echoing screams in the background of music assigned for the mountains he’s screaming from.

In what remains a favorite opening scene, Elias remembers (and in the process introduces to us) his lost love. He says (translated from Chilean Spanish), “Sebastian was a wolf. Always running. He read that ‘Chile’ came from the native Aymara word chilli, which means ‘land where the earth ends.’ That’s where Sebastian wanted to go. Freedom he called it… Freedom.” If you close read the description, you will find out what all’s going on or moving there: Sebastian was always running, Chile came from a word, the earth ends, Seba wanted to go there, he called it freedom. Ironically, Sebastian’s everywhere and nowhere.

Have you ever noticed how it is not just the one grieving who’s everywhere yet nowhere, and nowhere yet everywhere?
It is also the grieved who is everywhere yet nowhere, and nowhere yet everywhere.

We take our somewhere for granted all the time. This somewhere needs appreciation; it is where we need to be.

 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

 

— Hardik Yadav

  1. https://www.fandor.com/films/he_hated_pigeons
  2. https://allpoetry.com/Funeral-Blues
  3. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-phantasmagorical-film-with-live-score-canada#/
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One thought on “This Somewhere

  1. Pingback: Tenth: In Retrospection | Obscura Literary Magazine

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