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Registered: 03-2006
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Thoughts on "winter water" by NPCoombs



I recently watched "winter water" and really loved it. I have watched it several times now. To me the film speaks about the movement and stillness and lightness and darkness in life and how these apparent opposites ultimately dissolve into eachother to reveal the great mystery that is beyond all duality, all pairs of opposites.

For one, your title itself "winter water" speaks of this apparent duality in the world. Winter is a time of slowing down, of coming to rest, of stillness as opposed to movement, being as opposed to acting. And water is a substance that is in a constant state of motion: it's fluid; whether it is falling raindrops, rivers or creeks, the ocean or the subtle movement of water in a glass or through our bodies. It mixes and flows with everything; an indespensable part of what life.

In the first long scene I was struck by the movement of the person against the still backdrop of nature. In that moment it felt that something transcendent yet immanent was meditating upon this person walking in nature. Yet in the scene before that you see the person sitting still out in nature, possibly themselves contemplating the mystery and beauty before them. That coupled with the next scene made me aware of myself contemplating what I was seeing. That awareness made me conscious of the fact that myself, the person in the scene walking out in nature and that which could be sensed to be contemplating the person in the scene were (are) really all one and the same being (or awareness).

But then one notices the snow, vaguely visible, falling. And this still backdrop of nature is revealed to be just as full of movement as the person. And then one sees that even in movement the person can be a profound expression of stillness. Stillness and movement melt into eachother revealing a mystery. And the same happens between the person and nature. Where, how is the person in the scene separate from all around them? They are two yet not two. Their boundaries interpenetrate. They are interidentical.

The black and white of the film brought out the contrast of movement to stillness. And during the course of the film I became more aware of the dark and of the light. The film revealed to me how light is intimately connected with movement and darkness with stillness, and how these two are ultimately inseparable and part of a greater whole.

The scene of the people skating again clearly contrasts movement (the skaters) with stillness (the ice). And when the scene shifts to show the whole ice skating rink and the building behind a great feeling of warmth and tenderness came over me, along with a feeling of nostalgia and sentimental longing for the innocence of childhood. Nostalgia, I see, is an attempt to freeze the past.

But your film revealed that the past may be fixed from one perspective, but from another it is in constant movement, change. Your film said to me that there is a time that nostalgia is fine, but ultimately one has to loosen one's hold on the past, to let it be free - that is - let go of our ideas about the past and let them grow and mature. Through greater and greater wisdom we will forever see the past in a new light.
 
I saw this through the next image; of the film turning. Film captures a moment, and in a sense, freezes it in time, but to watch the film the film has to be in constant motion. In the same way our past is in constant motion through our unavoidable reinterpretations of it; either through our increased spiritual wisdom over time or our increased spiritual decay. Though I think most people try to stay in spiritual limbo to keep their sense of their past and their identities fixed.

The next scene of an old decrepit building reveals to me how darkness and light are interdependent, just as movement and stillness are - and neither is superior to the other. They are both the mystery seen from different perspectives.
 
The pictures of the skaters "frozen" images reveal the skaters movement. These images support what I was saying above - that the past cannot be frozen; in the apparently unchangable past their is still movement.
In the image of the person looking out the window at the rain I saw humanity protecting itself physically against the ceaseless, chaotic movement of life. I felt that this was a perfectly acceptable thing to do, even good - since only in physical security can one comtemplate the depths of reality. But this contemplation should lead one to recognize that the chaos and the ceaseless movement of life is still with one even within the apparent safe confines of modern society - and even more so. Now, in our modern world, the ceaseless movement of life is felt on the more subtle yet more profound levels of psyche and spirit. And that movement and chaos must be contemplated and brought into one's being if one is to cotinue to grow psychologically and more importantly spiritually.

The image of the two people standing in the creek in winter sums it all up. The darkness of their clothes evokes stillness. They are seen standing still with the waters of the creek rushing past them. They don't symbolize, but truly embody stillness, contemplation. And in that contemplation - wonder.
 
I saw the creek as a manifestation of the ceaseless movement of life. I thought of how, when we stop resisting life, and let go into its' movement, we become one with that movement. And when we become one with the ceaseless movement of life we experience a profound stillness because their is no longer another thing that we are moving in contrast to. We are one with The Movement.

But the mystery of life, of existence isn't revealed through appearances or representations but through a profound, deep inner knowing. I see this truth represented in the two people standing still in the creek, not physically floating down with it - one with its current. In appearance they are resisting it, but it's obvious to the inner eye that they are at one with essence of the creek, of life: their stillness and ease reveals this, and more - the very fact that they would stand in a creek in winter (what an "apparently" irrational thing to do!) and take part in this film. The whole scene speaks of oneness and wonder and beauty and harmony! A truly beautiful film. Thank you for sharing it.

3/15/2006, 5:43 pm Link to this post Send Email to CPMar   Send PM to CPMar
 
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Registered: 04-2005
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Re: Thoughts on "winter water" by NPCoombs


Chris this is a masterful contemplation on the film. You have uncovered every layer of the film and have intuited the emotions and feelings that went into the film.

It was a strange winter when I made the film. Curiously melancholy. I was in a beautiful flat in the centre of the historic city of Bath. The large windows looked out over the city and framed it like a painting. I went out every night with friends in what I still believe to be the perfect city.

But it is a city that makes you contemplate time and the movement of life. Everything about the city is poetic, brilliant but melancholy. It is a world heritage site and all the joys are lived out as if the past and present melt into one.

There is a pent up desire for change. The destructive drones which mark the crescendo of the film indicate the way everything dissolves and falls. We have to rebuild to live, clinging onto the past is our destruction. So yes, a dualism runs through the film. One I experienced more emotionally then and I recognize intellectually now.
3/17/2006, 9:19 pm Link to this post Send Email to NPCoombs   Send PM to NPCoombs
 


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