Лама папа, лама мама

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Здесь в Окленде наткнулся на не первой свежести журнал TIME. Открыл на случайной странице и ба, старый знакомый! Далай Лама делится Тибетской «мудростью» (ссылка на скан), которая почему-то выглядит, как мнение хорошо воспитанного очкастого мальчика из вежливой семьи. Ответы давно уже не мальчика, читаются, как гороскопы — кручу, верчу, всем угодить хочу. Я не представлял, что подобный формат найдёт столь мощный отклик в некоторых сердцах моих читателей на Facebook. Оказывается нельзя в личном блоге пожилого феодала называть «грустным клоуном». По итогу я почему-то получился бесчувственная, да чего уж там — бездуховная скотина, невосприимчивая к великому знанию. Но ведь это не так, я много лет старался прикоснуться к священным скрижалям бесконечности, честно-честно!

Когда-то давно я весьма трепетно относился ко всякого рода боголюдям, шаманам, пророкам, священникам, монахам, папам и епископам. Особое благоговение вызывали загадочные персонажи Тибета. Многие, наверное, помнят телесериал про супермощняцких буддистских монахов из клана Шао-Линь или статьи про Шамбалу в АИФ за авторством одного «знаменитого» уфимского, если мне память не изменяет, офтальмолога. В моём юношеском мире шаолиньцы были неимоверно круты, башкирский офтальмолог с русско-еврейским именем Эрнст Мулдашев — учёный высшего разряда. Поиски загадочных цивилизаций в грядах многокилометровых гималайских ледяных пирамид взрывали мозг неизвестностью. Как следствие, в студенчестве впечатлительный Стас читал Блаватскую, Даниила Андреева, Рерихов, Бхагаватгиту — всю эту эзотерическую шелуху.

Буддистские монахи могут отжиматься на одном пальце, а я не могу. Йоги могут совсем не кушать и не какать, и гутапперчивые, как младенцы, и живут по сто лет — а я не могу. Наверное, какая-то великая мудрость сокрыта в древних книгах, многотысячных обрядах и ритуалах; что-то такое невероятно огромное, не помещающееся в голове простого меня смертного. Во время прогулок по Катманду очень привлекали портреты пышноволосого и обязательно жирно улыбающегося Саи Баба. В документальном фильме о творчестве Битлз с экрана мне хитро подмигивал Махариши Махеш Йоги, чем-то напоминающий откормленного Дзержинского.

Постепенно реальность с её непременно повышающейся энтропией навели на мысль, что как-то многовато просветлённых, и подозрительно сильно разнятся их видения, условно говоря, нирваны.

Оказалось, что Саи Баба, маг и кудесник, иллюзионист, который светилами двигает и превращает пепел в рис и наоборот — обманщик одним словом. Светлее некуда персонаж Махариши Махеш Йоги засветился в скандале сексуального характера, о чём вкратце повествует песня Битлз ‘Sexy Sadie’. Загадочные древние цивилизации вместе с бигфутом и НЛО, в которые так хотелось верить с подачи агента Молдера и Мулдашева, так и не были обнаружены. Картины Рериха перестали источать прохладу гималайского утра и оказались просто неплохими полотнами синеватого цвета. Далай Лама, пожизненный носитель божественного духа, то за, то против абортов — в зависимости от страны, в которой проходит встреча с фанатами — докатился до того, что пришёл на кулинарное шоу Masterchef Australia и кушал там на камеру лапшу. Папа, лидер католической церкви, покрывал священников-педофилов и запрещал спидозной Африке пользоваться презервативами. Как в совместной семейной жизни: романтика с годами уходит.

Реальность отрезвляет, прошла любовь-морковь к загадочными боголюдям всех сортов и размеров. Просыпаешься, а они все — обычные смертные люди, которым приходится проводить встречи, тренинги, писать книги, выступать по телевизору, собирать пожертвования, продавать снадобья, пророчества и благословления — в общем вертеться в этом непростом мире, где всё зыбко и описывается либо сверхгибкой теорией струн, либо сверхсложной Единой теорией.

Быть скептиком как-то даже невесело — совсем нет места для сказки. Если завтра прилетят пришельцы или Иисус, или Саи Каррамба с Махеш Марагиш Далай Ламой наперевес и начнут крутить по всем радиочастотам сообщение о радостном приёме всего человечества в ряды Просвещённого Космического Сообщества, я не поверю такой благой вести и скорее всего начну искать на новострых сайтах заметки о возвращении шутника в маске Max Headroom.

P.S.: Неплохая книга о том, почему люди сперва верят во всякую хуйню, потом всячески эту веру усиливают, а потом с огромным трудом со своими заблуждениями расстаются: The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths (аудио-версия).

Солнечный пост

Здесь в Оклен­де я се­год­ня пер­вый раз в жиз­ни за­хлоп­нул клю­чи от ав­то­мо­би­ля в ба­гаж­ни­ке. Очень глу­по на­чал­ся день, при­шлось че­рез при­от­кры­тое ок­но за­ле­зать в кри­ча­щую сиг­на­ли­за­ци­ей ма­ши­ну и че­рез ото­дви­га­ю­щу­ю­ся па­не­ль в зад­нем си­денье пал­кой вы­ужи­вать связ­ку клю­чей из ба­гаж­ни­ко­вых глу­бин. В свя­зи с не­от­вра­ти­мой по­езд­кой в США и ре­мон­том в куп­лен­ном прош­лым ле­том до­ме, вре­ме­ни в по­след­ние дни ка­та­стро­фи­чес­ки не хва­та­ет. Нуж­но раз­ве­ять­ся.

Се­год­ня по­ка­жу рет­рос­пек­ти­ву сво­их фо­то­гра­фий, в ко­то­рых так или ина­че по­па­ли яр­кие лу­чи солн­ца, но­во­зе­ланд­ско­го и не толь­ко. Отвле­чём­ся от не­га­ти­ва не­дав­них со­бы­тий, умень­шим на­груз­ку на бан­лист.

Читать далее Солнечный пост

Cinemas in Kathmandu

In the center of Kathmandu there are both: shabby cows rambling through the town and youngsters with mobile phones strolling about. There is a great contrast between scales of living in Nepal, the same way as in any developing country, though. Next to a huge black jeep, one can see a toothless old woman keeping dirty barefooted children off. 

Читать далее Cinemas in Kathmandu

Космические захватчики

Здесь в Катманду меня всегда удивляли небольшие мозаичные рисунки, похожие на крупнопиксельные изображения известной игры «Space Invaders» («Galaxy», «Galaga» на 8-битной Nintendo), то там, то тут развешанные по городу. На всякий случай сфотографировал парочку, чтобы потом разобраться. По-умолчанию предположил, что это такое клёвое проявление богатой непальской культуры, совпадение, не более. Всё оказалось гораздо интереснее.

Читать далее Космические захватчики

Football game in Kathmandu, Nepal

Here, in Katmandu, people like football (proper one, that in US called ‘Soccer’) very much. They play volleyball and lapta too but not very well. We came to Katmandu as participants of a photo workshop and succeeded in getting to the football field free of charge. My fellows showed driving licenses, I produced a shining pass to the New Zealand School of English. After that we were allowed to do everything. We could even go out on the field if we would. Pavel’s theme of the Sergey Maximishin’s masterclass we were undergoing in Kathmandu was “Resting”, and he photographed himself every other minute and in every place, say, in front of some picturesque football fan in the stands. He used to squat down in front of a fan at almost no distance of a mere foot away and looked at him through his camera. I asked him whether people felt bothered by the blind spot created by him and his camera. He said that it bothered them very much, and added: for the first ten minutes only. Our fellow Nick was bored at the time and sluggishly idled about in the area of the goal though the ball kept ignoring the goal line.

The match was kind of super final, so the stands were full and the price of tickets was up to 500 rupees. There were three kinds of entrance tickets: proletarian tickets for wooden benches outdoor, VIP tickets – for plastic chairs in the veranda, and super VIP tickets – for the row of plastic seats along the field boundary. I was a little surprised and alerted by the amount of guards at the stadium. They didn’t allow to take pictures of themselves.

The game was nothing special at all. The goalkeeper used to kick the ball out when threw it in, players kept tangling in their own feet and managed to score a goal only in the end of the game when everybody got tired. As I got it, the most part of people there supported guys in a black uniform. Perhaps, it was a national team of Nepal. But for all that, the game still hindered our efforts to take photos.  It kept drawing our attention from cameras  and not once I caught myself watching the ball. Have to say that people were not very active in showing emotions. After the only and decisive goal nobody became hysterical and no one jumped with joy. Instead of forming a hysterical wave they just raised their arms and sticked thumbs out as if saying “super”. I got lucky to find one teenager in the whole crowd, who jumped, shouted and applauded. He was surely playing up to my camera.

Our visit to the central stadium in Katmandy showed again that football had no boundaries.

Corners

Here in Auckland, there is a retirement village in my neighborhood. The village consists of a mere few oblong and stocky blocks of flats. Almost every evening, when I return home from work I pass those one-roomed cells shut off from the external world by plastic sliding doors. Near one of the flats there is an old useless TV set which practically melts into the background in the gentle shadow of a nearby tree. The TV set is there in the rain and in the heat, very beautiful, almost like in the “American Beauty”.

It seems to me, now I start to realize why I used to admire photos by Stephen Shore. He was the first photographer in the world having exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art inter vivos. A year ago I kept  the browser window with his works in sight trying to understand why they seemed so much special.

I don’t know about you but I am often attracted by the harmony of static scenes being, as one would think, quite ordinary. It can be soft light, geometry of lines, a combination of colors, a combination of textures, or all said above in one. I mark such photos with purple tag. They represent a space for the lively play of fancy, the scenery for imaginary situations and characters. This is the way to obtain photos without  people involved. No faces at all. The time-space, which has been stopped in a photo and fixed as it was, does not notice anything and continues its own existence. You are watching a film where static actors are shot on a static camera but there is no doubt that they are alive.

2. Auckland, New Zealand

3. Zeya, Russia

4. Zeya, Russia

5. Zeya, Russia

6. Heihe, China

 

7. Guangzhou, China

8. Kathmandu, Nepal

9. Nanchang, China

10. Zeya, Russia

11. Guangzhou, China

12. Katmandy, Nepal

13. Guangzhou, China

14. Zeya, Russia

15. Pekin (Beijing), China

16. Pekin (Beijing), China

17. Novosibirsk, Russia

18. Hong Kong, China

19. Zeya, Russia

20. Zeya, Russia

21. Zeya, Russia

22. Harbin, China

23. Blagoveschensk, Russia

24. Shenyang, China

25. Shenyang, China

26. Shenyang, China

27. Shenyang, China

28. Pekin (Beijing), China

29. The Great Wall of China

30. Pekin (Beijing), China

31. Pekin (Beijing), China

32. Xiamen, China

33. Xiamen, China

34. Xiamen, China

35. Xiamen, China

36. Guangzhou, China

37. Guangzhou, China

38. Guangzhou, China

39. Guangzhou, China

40. Guangzhou, China

41. Shenzhen, China

42. Shenzhen, China

43. Guangzhou, China

44. Shenzhen, China

45. Hong Kong, China

46. Hong Kong, China

47. Macau, China

48. Macau, China

49. Hong Kong, China

50. Hong Kong, China

51. Macau, China

52. Macau, China

53. Macau, China

54. Macau, China

55. Macau, China

56. Macau, China

57. Shenzhen, China

58. Macau, China

59. Macau, China

60. Macau, China

61. Macau, China

62. Hanoi, Vietnam

63. Hoi An, Vietnam

64. Macau, China

65. Macau, China

66. Shenzhen, China

67. Nanning, China

I would modestly remind you that any of the above photos you can get for private use (for your desktop or  wallpaper), if you apply at the following address

How Movies Are Filmed in Nepal. Part 3

Here in Kathmandu, while the workers of the Nepalese film studio were setting up the lights, I walked through all the rooms, took pictures of what the personnel of the studio are busy with. See the photographs with commentary in the rest of the post.

Mini-reports from the set can be found in previous posts from this series: first, second.

This is what the filming pavilion looked like after several hours of the crew’s work with setting up lights and decorations. The room with awkwardly white-painted walls is supposed to create an atmosphere of an interrogation room in the basements of the Nepalese intelligence service. See these photographs in the first post.

Meanwhile, in the dark and cool basement of the studio, a worker diluted chemicals for the development of the film. As far as I can remember, digital movies are not available to everyone, so most movies are made using film.

In a small boxroom with a strong smell sits a lady who is in charge of chemicals. Her work involves marking in a big record-keeping book how many kilograms of white crystals have gone to one project or another.

Giant tubs with chemical soup will be lifted to the highest point and connected with pipes to the development apparatus.

Another worker of the development shop who is in charge of a giant machine through with film is ran for development checks in with some book.

It’s a serious apparatus: it hums, clunks, rollers spin. This person was very concentrated on what he was doing, maybe even a bit hostile.

Occasionally this light began to shine dimly. After which the keeper of the apparatus came and looked at the buttons for a long time. The shop smelled of chemicals, on the floor here and there were whitish dried puddles with salty edges.

A fingerless chemist from the laboratory had a lively interest in the model of my camera. He then took his Canon 400D out of his backpack and after a brief conversation became engulfed by the newspaper. A person with a North Face jacket and a camera that costs about one thousand American dollars slightly amazed me. The average salary in Nepal is about $170 a year. Apparently the movie industry is a profitable business here, too.

In the cutting room, a Nepalese in gloves cut the film, measuring the footage in accordance with tables with numbers on a piece of paper. Carefully, with a razor, he cleaned the edges of the film, after which he glued one of the sides and squeezed them on a special pressing machine. The glue, the consistency of which looks like the well-known super-glue, melts the film very well: it gets a death grip on it. Cleaning the edges with a razor is essential so that the thickness of the strip remains the same where the film had been glued. Otherwise the mechanism of the projector can stall.

A young guy about twenty-five years old (as with any other Asians, it’s very hard to determine the age of the Nepalese) was preparing lists for the editing procedure. They are what a special person will use to cut the film, and another to glue it into a whole reel of film.

Brochures for Nepalese movies with the smiling faces of actors with a look very similar to a European one are all over the studio.

A lady with polished robot-like movements marks the places where the film was cut on it.

She runs the film back and forth and marks something on a huge list of numbers on the screen of the monitor.

I’m not sure that these devices are used by anyone, but I found a whole room full of old projectors in the back part of the building.

For some reason, the hole in the door is covered with rags and tape. The feeling of a basement of a Russian research institute did not leave me.

In the sound-recording studio, audio-tracks for the video are edited on real macs. There is a quiet, soundproof room with microphones behind the glass. The actors have already recorded their lines, and I got to watch only the work of the audio editor. Typical Bollywood sounds of gunshots and ricochets could be heard in the room.

I’d like to remind you that over seventy movies a year are made in this studio. They are as low-budget as they can be, but, nonetheless, they find their audience, since for most, movies aren’t a cheap form of entertainment. Naturally, like in any developing country, a huge contrast is seen between the poor and the rich: black jeeps drive by the proletariat movie theater, and cows that run in different directions scare off pigeons.

The arrangement of the chemical laboratory. Notice the dust, dirt and spiderwebs in the corners.

Ever since childhood, the process of film development has fascinated me. So after touring the building, I once again went down to the basement to watch as the mechanisms, with humming and quiet, rhythmical rattling, pull kilometers of film through themselves. On which are faces, terrors, intrigues, investigations.

Part one

Part two