Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Eyes of the Poet

One of the films that most impressed me when I was a young aspiring filmmaker was undoubtedly Un Chien Andalou and its memorable eye-slicing scene was particularly impressive to me. Whenn I was seven years old I had had my left eye cut by a piece of glass thrown to me by a childhood friend which required seven stitches right next to the pupil. This event changed my life forever and I believe in a positive way as I look back (pun not intended).

First of all the impact on my psyche was considerable. Since all eye operations occur with your eyes wide open, it is inevitable to see what it is being done, even if you are under total anesthesia, like I was.

The surgeon did not believed me at first when I told him that I had seen all the operation until I started describing in detail what I saw. This images were burned in my mind in a very permanent way, and for many years, until my young adult age the sequence of events (the operation itself) would run unannounced like a silent film of yore. When this happened I had to immediately stop whatever I was doing and change to something opposite of that, for example if I was alone I would try to find people, the more the better, like a crowd. But when I was in a crowd or a party and the film started to run I had to immediately find a place where I could be alone. Only then would the operation fade and let me go on with my life. Then one day this vanished never to come back again.

My sight never recovered and so I would see very clearly with my right eye and completely out of focus with my left, since the stitches distorted the pupil. This became extremely useful when I was a cameraman, since I did not have to close my left eye when shooting like everyone does. The main reason you would close the eye that is not looking through the viewfinder is to prevent confusion as to which image you are supposed to be seeing. The view from the lens would never be the same as the naked eye and therefore the mix of both images would be very disturbing to some people. However, my two vies were so radically different that I was able to use the out of focus image to my advantage. The left eye could (barely) see that which was outside the frame and therefore I would be aware of something that was just going to happen around and could pan to frame it or to avoid it.

Back to the creatures eyes and the relationship with all of this. I, and apparently Lorena, my wife, as well have lived and still do in a close relationship with the dream world, which as you know is not always your "dream world" since nightmares and surreal events can be pretty scary. It si just that we have both decided to turn these experiences into the stuff of art, bringing this parallel universe into the "real" world for other to see.

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