March 28, 2008

Back in Time...or the making of a Hero.


Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, as I was applying my kohl...

I looked and saw that I have aged 10 years. No, 100 years. No, 1000 years...
I pushed the years forth....another 7'000 years I said to myself. Now push them back another 7'000 years... And I saw Gilgamesh appear in the mirror's reflection.

Maybe that had to do with a program I was watching on the history of the "Visual"...

The first, the very first city in human civilization that wrote a story on a clay tablet, was Sumer. It was the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh had to fight savage beasts and Gods, before he could return "home" as a Hero...in the land of URUK from which "Iraq" is etymologically derived.

Ashurbanipal had heard of this story, he wanted to be a hero as well.
He collected all the cuneiforms and produced the first library known to mankind in Nineveh. But he could not read the cuneiforms. He just relied on the oral tradition, passed from generation to generation-- the story of Gilgamesh.

Ahsurbanipal wanted to be a hero too. So he had the first pictures of a battle made, engraved on the walls of his palace (that numerous modern wars have destroyed).

In it, he fights the lion, and stabs him....It was actually a series of "pictures", and Ashurbanipal came out as the Hero who vanquished the "lion."

We are talking here about centuries before Christ. This is where the very first ideas of amalgamating a "story and picture" came from...

The idea was further elaborated by the Greeks and later on by the Romans, giving a more "human expression" to the various personages that have charaterized Greek and Roman tragedies...

Gilgamesh's cuneiform epic was finally deciphered in the 19th century by an Englishman, called something or the other (I told you I was bad with names...)


Why am saying all of that? Because those of you who love films, may be interested to know where the "concept" of film making came from. A film is made of a "story, pictures and a hero..."

Every film has a hero. Not necessarily in the "warfare" sense of the word, but a hero nonetheless....

And as I looked into the mirror, applying my kohl, putting on my daily mask, hiding behind a face that no longer belongs to me...seeing Gilgamesh appear, I thought of Heroes and Heroines from Uruk and Nineveh, and how our lives have turned into a film...

A film that you watch daily , or that you may have stopped watching for its repetitiveness...

You're probably thinking to yourself, when will the real Hero or Heroine appear and fight the beast and the fake angry Gods, like Gilgamesh did ?

Did it ever occur to you that the Hero may have died at the beginning of the film ?

Ashurbanipal did not foresee that, nor did Gilgamesh...but you --the truthful ones amongst you did-- and so did I.

The rest is just a trailer of more to come.

Or maybe the hero has turned into millions of heroes and heroines quietly leading...