Once upon a time, on a cold and dark night I went to the old „Museum Lichtspiele“ cinema at the banks of the mellow Isar river in my hometown of Munich. It was one of the few places where you could watch movies in their original versions.
Tiny, sweet and enchanting, with its humble Art Nouveau (or so I care myself to believe) interior it was one of those locations in the city which owned a place in my heart for it nourished the soul.
In sheer oblivion I bought a ticket for Guillermo Del Toro’s newest production with the rather gothic title „Crimson Peak“ and cosied myself into one of the comfortable, red velvet chairs in the cute theatre, a grand painting showing off in a golden frame on one side of the wall and a niche, cradling a Roman or Greek or whatsoever goddess on the other.
Never could I have imagined what was to be unfolded before my eyes and within my mind during the following hours…
The heavy curtains lifted and the first scenes flickered across my vision, featuring Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska in splendid 19th century garments.
Within seconds I felt myself being grabbed and blown away by the vivid imagery, the magnificent colours and that old, so beautifully poetic British English dialect which trickled into every cell of my body like a sweet brush of purple rain, sending shivering waves down my spine:
„We each have our own personal linguistic potential: we each have a native language. But that is not the language that we speak, our cradle-tongue, the first-learned. Linguistically we all wear ready-made clothes, and our native language comes seldom to expression, save perhaps by pulling at the ready-made till it sits a little easier. But though it may be buried, it is never wholly extinguished, and contact with other languages may stir it deeply.“
(J.R.R. Tolkien „English and Welsh“; In: „The Monsters and the Critics“)
Every scene, every camera angle, every impression seemed to me a magnificent work of art, one mercilessly chasing the other like belching eruptions of blinding images, leaving my senses delighted and raw.
And then, all of a sudden, words came flying into my mind out of nowhere, twists and phrases whirling through my head like a snowstorm about to explode.
First, I believed that it had to be some strange fancy and thought not much of it – but they kept bombarding me, piling up high until it seemed to me that their suffocating weight should crush me into bits.
I couldn’t hold on any longer, and in desperation I ripped my notebook and a pencil out of my backpack and began writing furiously to ease the culminating pressure in my gasping brain.
Of course it was utterly dark in the theater so I could not see a thing and had no goddamn clue whatsoever I was writing.
So there I was in the pitch-black, my eyes forsaken and locked to the screen in an eternal embrace of love and despair, scribbling away like some madman consumed by an internal dervish dance, relentlessly catching fire and lost.
I couldn’t stop.
This went on, I am not kidding, for the entire length of the film. I didn’t even get the story really because I was so immersed and drowned in my inner world.
When it was over I felt ultimately drained and exhausted, but also full of bliss and joy. And helplessly confused. I was truely beside my self, overwhelmed by this onslaught of pure, unfiltered inspiration.
(I would not call it imagination since those ideas weren’t created by my own thoughts and fancies but they came out of nowhere and were brilliantly brought to life through one of the shining architects of worlds in our modern times.)
While I rode home on my bike I did not feel the biting cold. I was still vexed by this surreal and wonderful episode, my face contorted into a moronic grin. Indeed I felt blessed and grateful for this feeble glimpse into a divine and otherworldy realm.
Well, the next (late) morning, as soon as I woke up I pulled out my notebook once more to gaze at the fantastic magic that had happened the night before…
Needless to say it was a complete and thorough mess due to the rather unfashionable circumstances.
Spidery lines slithering about, intertwining, crossing and clashing like venomous serpents in a frenzied battle of words. To my despair I realized that sometimes my pen wouldn‘t have worked and left only faint traces of imprint on the white paper.
I put it down on my desk before I sank back into my chair, swallowed by disillusion and rage, grossly deflated, torn.
But after a few moments within the dark night of the soul, out of the bottomless abyss of grief and sorrow, a delicate seedling, a misty glimmer of hope emerged.
I took a deep breath and began to unravel this seemingly senseless mush on the pages which stared back at me in taunting defiance.
Every so often I had to hold up my notebook at a certain angle towards the rays of the sun like a poor offering so I might glimpse the parched channels, devoid of ink.
I felt like Indiana Jones in some ancient and crumbling temple in the midst of the festering jungle, like some dust-covered detective trying to decipher an elder stone tablet covered with occult runes which could ultimately redeem the world.
And lo! After a ruthless and backbreaking combat with my treacherous memory I finally triumphed and alas, stood tall and proud like a blood-stained hero warrior of old greeting the dawn of a new aeon!
Or, or something.
Anyway, this is what came out of it…