Blesok no. 30, January-February, 2003
Gallery Reviews


Trilogy – Complex – Wholeness
on "BLACK, BUT BEAUTIFUL" (ALSHAR, NIGRA SET FORMOSA, UPPER LAND) author: Blagoja Risteski – Platnar; production: Pegasus Film, 2001

Petar Volnarovski


    Rarely one has opportunity to see something really specific in the field of the film art, especially in this time we live in… Most often, what we see, are some “confection” (more or less attractive) films, or at least standardly done (more or less creatively shaped) classical esthetic forms. Of course, there are some films that stand as a kind of an (more or less self-justified) experiment. But, fortunately, from time to time, in each of these above-mentioned groups, some real achievement appears – as a certain refreshment; or, even less, some achievement that creatively breaches through the norms and conventions of the genre’s and esthetic form’s – and brings to us something quite new and essentially different. That breach is positive exclusively in the cases when that “breaking” of the norms is constructively made, and when the breach of the classic forms is done by a real esthetical and essential overcoming of that norms. That understands, above all, their previous deep comprehending, and a well knowledge of all limitation they cause with their “firming and bastioning” during the time. Only then – the deconstruction happens, that will mean a new creation with a purpose within its essence, in spite of the destruction that means only a negation and destruction without any purpose. Or, more accurate:
    The deconstruction
breaks the firm classical norms, replacing them with some new, improved and semantically wider ones, broadening the frontiers for the art creating consciousness, while the destruction breaks the norms leaving a gap behind, a gap without any awareness of nothing else, but of the art expression impotence.
    Unfortunately, most often, we are only witnesses of the destruction, and much more rare we witness deconstruction, because – always is much easier to destroy something, than to create and re-create… To make a creation needs much more: a high awareness and reasoning is needed to create, but also a high literacy as well – as, most probably, the Blagoja Risteski – Platnar would say, the author of this film Odyssey here I speak of…
    …
    And may you not be puzzled because of my word expression when I write about this film-deed, so different than the one I usually write my lines, because there is no other way to write about this journey, so different than all others we knew of till now; there is no other way to scribe the deeply contemplated pilgrimage through the hidden solemnities – inside the earth, upon the earth and above the earth that this film reaches for us, in that specific only to him, and worthy only to him, to this author with awareness, consciousness and literate enough: an author and a man with a capital A and with a capital M in those words – in gold – written: an Author, and a Man …

* * *

    Here somewhere, and something like this, the story of the film cycle-trilogy BLACK, BUT BEAUTIFUL by Blagoja Risteski–Platnar, can begin: a film-hybrid trilogy of the wonders and the specifics of the mystical and divine Mariovo area, of the benefits of the blessed and fruitful flow of the River Crna (Black River) through it, and of the numerous specifics of that strange – and full of hidden treasures and spirit – piece of Macedonian land, unseen and uncomprehended or forgotten even from us Macedonians ourselves, same as with the spirit and the essence we carry within our chests – so close, and yet, so distant from us. I say it is a film-hybrid, for it is so difficult to catch, and almost impossible to classify this film within the frames of any of the known classic film form or genre: as it isn’t only a documentary, nor only lyrical, nor only scientifically popular film genre, or any else. But, at other hand, it possesses and uses the best of their characteristics – masterfully compiled and structured among themselves – and if we deep further into the depths of this deed, we certainly would find even more of them…
    And exactly at this point I would stop with this contemplating of the formal and genre characteristics of this deed, with a high hope to return to them somewhere at the very end of this text…
    The great story of the endemisms and the peculiarities that can be found only there where no foot steps for ages, and that cannot be found nowhere else on this planet but there, in the miraculous Mariovo, is divided into three parts: ALSHAR, NIGRA SET FORMOSA and UPPER LAND. Everything in this trilogy, somehow, rests upon the essential and in the same time, in the magic mystics of the threesome: three separate film stories; focused on the three kinds of existence (pre-existence, existence, post-existence – below, midst, above – underground, ground, upperground – Chaos, Equilibrium, Cosmos); filmically interlaced and coded in triple, through the image, sound and word; and if we add that three times three is nine… and, nine is the magical number, the number that hides within itself not only the secret of the very existence, but also the secret of the ultimate existence, and the secret of the existence perfection, of the Ideal, Absolute Increator, then we can be aware of almost everything in this complex trilogy, of this trilogy-complex, of this spiritual complex in its – wholeness
    …
    The triple-made film stories, worthy of the most beautiful Macedonian hand-made embroidery, are made by the three most beautiful laces of the film encryption. And they are: the magic photography of the Macedonian camera Mag – Vladimir Samoilovski; then, the deeply-breaching spiritual wordiness of our blessed-mouthed and deeply-contemplative Blagoja Risteski–Platnar; and finally, at first enigmatic, and by the end ennobled sound context of the musical restlessness by the well-known Ljupcho Konstantinov…
    … This three film laces, each for itself, and at the same time together as one – in the triple-coded system, follow the path that is no other, but the path of the deepest cognition:
    The film photography by Samoilovski begins with the deep-yellow and somber, earthly-reddish shades of the earth armpits in ALSHAR, then it continues with the vivid and Sun-full life palettes and the wondrous forms of the living and non-living life in the Mariovo area in NIGRA SET FORMOSA, and to end with the whitish, etheric and upraised gray-bluish and heavenly enlightened shades of the strive toward the divine in UPPER LAND…
    That is the visual story – told through the image and its colors – of the tripled life cycle… So, the story starts from the roots, from the ancient Mother Earth’s armpits, from the indigenous treasury depths that dwell in the eternal darkness:

ALSHAR

    The first part of this trilogy is named as ALSHAR and it speaks of the mine Alshar in Mariovo, a mine which is the only place on the planet Earth where the mineral Lorandite can be found, the mineral with the attribute to maintain the neutrino particles within itself, a particle that nothing else but the Lorandite, in this Universe we know, can’t hold it. The Lorandite is the only mineral known to the modern science that can hold and maintain within itself the neutrino particles, and to stop their journey from our Universe to some potential other universes or different dimensions and – who knows where – out from any existence forms known to us. And, this mineral gives us the only chance to “scratch” (at least for a bit) below the surface of the secrets of Space, Time and Existence – with the possibility to explore the neutrino particles, this (most probable) carrier of the “dark matter” that until recently – for the human thought – existed as lost, nonexistent, hidden in the tissue of the unrevealed knowledge, in spite of the mathematical knowledge of its required existence… Well, that mineral, that “stone of knowledge and wisdom”, as the Platnar likes to name the Lorandite, can be found only at this spot on the Globe, only in Mariovo, in the mine of Alshar, hidden and guarded by the earth armpits full of the arsenic, a poison that in milleniums kept the secret of the Lorandite’s dwelling place where he kept in imprisonment its prey, captured eons before: the neutrino particles caught inside this mineral with the non-Earthy origin, mineral that has traveled through space as some wandering asteroid-rock, and in a form of an meteorite, caught by the Earth gravity (or by its fate and destiny – Platnar would say), fell down on Earth and he dug itself deep into the all-fertile ground of the miraculous Mariovo.
    So, the first part of this trilogy on the Mariovo’s miracles starts with this story… But, not at least in the way that is to be expected by some documentary or scientifically popular film, the film that speaks of the concrete scientific or speculative facts, of the hypothesis and the assumptions of the astrophysics and its mathematics and physics, etc. In contrary! What we get is – on a huge, but pleasant surprise of the film’s audience – a deeply spiritual journey within the philosophical and theosophical meanings and essential issues of this phenomenon, spiritually inspired and lyrically given, said and shown by this particular film language; what we get, is a kind of a spiritual documentary on the human quest for himself, and this documentary film itinerary that opens before us, with its very start, with its first film frames, suddenly turns into a kind of a mystical documented film-like spiritual journey, so close and worthy for all of us, that endured (again – for us) – since the very first origins of the existence itself…
    That’s the way this film trilogy goes on further – in this kind of essential and contemplating experience of the eternal links of the spiritual existence; in that way also, the story of the numerous endemisms of the flora and fauna of Mariovo is told, further, in the second part of this trilogy:

NIGRA SET FORMOSA

    The overwhelming and vivid living life of Mariovo area, with its numerous variations in the flora and fauna of this region, is the everlasting whirl of life, where the forms of the existence are in constant, eternal alteration, deeply interlaced with the essential life’s need for change and improvement, striving toward the ultimate unity of the form and the content: toward the wholeness of the perfection, toward the idea of God, toward the ultimate sense and purpose of the shape and the inner-meaning, of the ultimate and aboriginal fullness (the Existence that is always in some form and shape) and the emptiness (the Nonexistence that is always an essence, an idea)… That’s exactly what the second part of this trilogy-complex tells and enchants, through the spiritual quest among the numerous local endemisms and other peculiarities of Mariovo area, amazingly lightly leading us through the thick complexity and interlinkage of the local characteristics of the living forms there. But, this (by many things special) film deed – not only cataloguing and not only in the information’s sake classifying – tells us and shows us (above all) the meaning that stands behind these matters: the essence of the spirit that “only initiated” in the secrets of the spirit (as Platnar says in his film telling) can “reach and attain”… So, not only the surface of the things, as they are from outside, but also what they tell us with it – what we should see, hear, comprehend and embrace as a higher cognition, both as knowledge and as omen, and to embroider into our souls and spirit – in order to find and walk our own way to the perfection, to the Eternity itself.
    Of course, the film language is shape to serve that only purpose and to accomplish that task in this second part of this trilogy, like in the first one; even those film segments (newly introduced in this part), alike feature film sequences – with the Platnar entering and sinking into the Crna River at its lower flow, and later emerging out and exiting the same river at her upper flow; also, the same task fulfil the sequences of the story about the lone-shepherd Stojan and his lost love; and finally, the masterfully made final sequence of this film story – a sequence that I won’t even try to describe now, because that can be only seen and to be experienced – so one can be able to assimilate and absorb it truly. These sequences only confirm the hybrid nature of the this trilogy’s film expression, and at the same time, in a particular and intentional, but highly discreet way open the semantically-formal gates for the third sequel of this trilogy-complex and “ghostly-like” introduces us „in what follows“:

UPPER LAND

    The third part of this film trilogy-complex closes up its wholeness, going further along the way of the life and spiritual path, reaching the moment of initiating the ultimate essential questions: why the existence is; why all of this that encircles us; and why are we here? The third sequel of this trilogy speaks of the people from this parts, for us, and for the people in general, and in whole. With that, the circle of this trilogy closes up; if, in ALSHAR, this film deed speaks of the non-life, in NIGRA SET FORMOSA of the unconscious life, here in UPPER LAND it speaks of the self-conscious life, the story of people and of the powers „only to them revealed“ – to search the trails of the existence and to comprehend and conquer what’s “from God given to them” for that only purpose… In UPPER LAND the story speaks of the people up there, close to God and the spirits of the enlightened ones, of the „adept and able ones“, of those who can tell and oblate to us “the secret of flying”, of the enlightenment, and of the Spirit’s raise to the heavenly dwellings…
    UPPER LAND is also a lament for the human blindness to see his only task and mission in his existence here, on this clump of rock, in the midst of the Universe eternity. Speaking of the deserted settlements in the Mariovo highlands, UPPER LAND shows us the tragedy of the human denial on his only purpose and essence: the denying and forsaking his “desire to fly”, his quitting of flying – as a symbol of the human’s inevitable destiny; his destiny to comprehend and to enlighten his essence – as a ultimate necessity on his path to the perfection and the highest purpose of the existence… Through the sentence-comment on the human abandoning of the “flight”, which is: to live, and like you didn’t”, the main point of this trilogy-complex-wholeness is given… That’s exactly what this film story tries to tell us: to tell, show and enlighten the tragedy when we forget to be aware of the truth where, how and why we exist here; and how enormously big is the tragedy to live, and not to see; to see, and not to comprehend
    And again, the film expression is the most adequately constructed to transfer to us what the author intended to give to the audience: through the heavenly beautiful and faire-like airy-bluish images of the Mariovo highlands that carry within the promise of the “heavenly dwellings”, masterfully “caught” by the color palette of the film photography and the Vladimir Samoilovski’s camera eye; through the deeply-breaching and thickly-boiled textual code of Blagoja Risteski – Platnar, and finally, through the – suddenly – emotionally enlighten musical ornaments by Ljupcho Konstantinov; all those film elements of the film expression succeed, together, to give the message to us; the message not to forget who we are, what we are and why we are. And also, not to forget from where we are, where we are now, and where we go to
    And, what’s of the most importance: why we are, and – why we do what we do

* * *

     Because of the same, I will also close my cycle with this text, not forgetting of the promise I made somewhere at the beginning of this text: to speak shortly of the formal and genre dilemma about this film-trilogy determination; but, unfortunately, I still can’t say much more than I’ve already said above…
     … This film-trilogy-complex-wholeness can’t be determined (in pure and concrete form) under none of the already known norms in the film art. But, that fact isn’t by far something that should be considered as negative quality; in contrary – by the most of the contemporary poetics of the “post-postmodern” era, that can be only this film’s advantage, because it fulfils the idea of the many in the one one in the many… In this trilogy, one can recognize the documentary film attributes, as well as the characteristics of the scientifically popular film; but also, one can recognize the feature-documentary genre, and the lyrically-poetical film, as well; not to speak of the film itinerary genre. But that’s far from any importance here; what matters is that this film reminds us what’s of the most importance for the human existence and his life here, on Earth: to walk through life with the eyes wide-open, to see and comprehend, and to search for the meaning in everything he sees and absorbs as a truth – to understand. To understand that the meaning isn’t in the passable and changeable things, but in the spiritual recognition of those; that it isn’t important only to live through among the outer world, without processing and comprehending that outer world inside our inner world. Because only in the wholeness of the outer and inner existence we an find the answers…
     and only then, they will be the real ones.
     And because all of that, me personally prefer to name (if that’s needed at all, in this case) this film-trilogy-complex-wholeness, as it did once already enlightened to me in the text above: as a filmic spiritual journey, or even better, as one enlightened spiritual itinerary




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