Glimpses at L’ATALANTE

ANDREW CHRISTOPHER GREEN: By the time we got to the Rhine, the sun had just set. It was emitting an embers-glow from beneath the horizon, diffusing a gradient of pale to navy blue in the crescent of the sky it’d set behind. In summer the dusk goes on for a remarkably long time here. We were there to watch the flight of a spacecraft being launched from Florida, which a friend had told us would be visible if we looked south/south-west. But sitting down under the promenade against the flood-wall there wasn’t much of a sky to see beyond the skyscrapers in the Medienhafen. We also didn’t know when exactly the launch would take place, and just intermittently looked off in the direction we supposed it’d be visible in. I was tired after work, and he’d made another Tex-mex Thai fusion bowl of vegetables, rice, and shrimp, which turned to a lightly perfumed and contradictory, homogenous mush in my mouth. This dish spelled out the worst of his culinary capabilities and confused flavor profiles. He could tell from my silence that something was wrong and tried to relate to me by pointing out the warm silhouettes of some bushes further down the river bank, and said they were beautiful. I felt like he wouldn’t have said that or even noticed them if I wasn’t there, though, and thought they were ugly for this reason alone. A few awkward minutes later we saw a light flying through the sky much faster than either of us had expected. It was the first privately funded spacecraft to fly into orbit and dock to the international space station. The next day I woke up to a text saying that the launch had been delayed due to weather conditions, and that what we saw was the space station itself. I laughed and realized that this must be why conspiracy theories about the moon-landing exist; not much can be verified by your own experience alone. And who can you believe if you’re not able to trust yourself anymore? We sat a while longer, and just before the dusk turned fully into night a barge came driving downstream. It had a light hanging from a pole off its bow like an angler fish’s, and another from its cabin by the stern that was green, and they cast a long reflection on the black water which vibrated when it passed over a current. The only thing I could muster out was that it made me of think of these unhappy newly-weds living on a barge in a film called L’Atalante by Jean Vigo, who died when he was only 29.

PATRICK HOLZAPFEL: Weit auf einer entlegenen Wiese, als wir noch gar nicht wussten, was das alles bedeutet, sind wir losgezogen und durch das hohe, vertrocknete Gras, das uns an den Beinen kratzte, gewandert und jedes Mal, wenn wir uns umsahen und merkten, dass wir unser Dorf nicht mehr sahen, überfiel uns ein leichter Panikschauer, aber wir sind trotzdem weitergegangen, weil uns irgendwas gerufen hat, etwas aus der Tiefe.

Wir hörten verschwommene Geräusche aus einem anderen Leben, eine Versuchung, die so undeutlich war, dass wir nicht unterscheiden konnten, ob sie den Tod ankündigte oder das Glück. Ich glaube, dass wir alle früher oder später in diese Tiefe folgen. Es gibt auf dieser Erde kein Wissen darüber wie es dort aussieht, aber wenn es einen Anker gibt, hat ihn der todkranke Jean Vigo hinterlassen, als seine letzten Bilder, die nie versinken dürfen. Ich verstehe nicht wie man einen solchen Film über die Liebe drehen kann. Niemand kann so einen Film über die Liebe drehen.

RONNY GÜNL: 

ANNA BABOS: I always find it interesting what is missing and what remains from the memory of a film. In this case, I had the impression that the barge in L’Atalante was a rather uncanny place, with some treasures belonging to an old sailor, Père Jules. I also recalled his friendship to Juliette. After revisiting the film, I still think that this relationship is the most moving part of the film. Such an odd couple of friends: the always drunken, dirty and worldly sailor and the young girl from the countryside, dreaming of Paris.

The most memorable scene of their relationship is when Père Jules enthusiastically shows her the exotic gadgets he acquired, objects that obviously mean a lot to him and together with the cats, make him truly happy. This desire to show things that had a special importance in one’s past is a nice gesture. The film takes the time to explore these unique and sometimes scary objects, and Juliette shows honest interest and joy in getting to know this man. Juliette, as Alice in Wonderland, discovers the room of the puppet conductor from Caracas, fans from Japan, anatomical specimens, photographs of the young Jules, a pair of cut-off hands in a jar. Both of them gain a lot emotionally from this relationship. Père Jules finds someone who really pays attention to him, while his objects allow Juliette to enter the amazing and manifold world she is longing for.

SIMON PETRI: As an emotional hierarchy of relationships is rendered normative, a consequent injustice is inevitable. What scorn and unearned superiority feed into the archetype of the cat lady; what neglect can friends experience when their romantic engagement happens asynchronously with that of their companions. Of all the ties that bind, it may be that only love matches Jean Vigo’s exceptional sensitivity and (tragically bewildering) vivacity. In L’Atalante, desire and feeling take artistic form in an inexplicable blend of clarity and opacity, and spasmodic yet innocent clashes. Accompanying the breezy glow that surrounds Jean and Juliette, the thick and boozy world of Père Jules, the sudden realization of having been pushed to the side, his care for kittens and his extraordinary soul are explored with the same tenderness, because, in feverish empathy, Vigo conveys the pain of the hierarchy in question. The sudden rupture of friendship is certainly not Juliette’s responsibility. In fact, she and Père Jules are very kind to each other. It’s rather Jean, who perhaps has always been too hasty and impatient for Père Jules but his focus and ability to listen are now more challenged than ever. This may sound like a minor drama compared to the overwhelming fanatism that youth and love evoke, which makes Vigo’s equal responsiveness all the more mind-expanding.

SIMON WIENER:

Images from L’Atalante by Jean Vigo and L’eau de la Seine by Téo Hernandez.

DAVID PERRIN: The first and only time I saw L’Atalante was in March 2019 at Anthology Film Archives on 35mm and I still remember the warmness of the evening, the memory of the air on my skin like it was the last day of winter or the first day of spring. Strangely enough, the film itself I can remember only with difficulty, like trying to see underwater: indistinct images of villages, houses, bridges and trees as viewed from a barge slowly making its way down the Seine towards Paris, the sky full of low-hanging clouds; Michel Simon below deck, a pipe jutting out from the corner of his mouth, lovingly caressing a black kitten; Jean Daste’s dark eyes emerging from underneath his fishermen’s cap; Dita Parlo hovering in an underwater dreamscape, the radiance of her smile enough to momentarily alleviate the weight of the world.

Beyond that, I remember mostly the room itself where I watched it, the small ground-floor theater named after that other poet of cinema, whose birthday is only a few days shy of Jean Vigo’s: Maya Deren…I remember the nearly empty theater and the other moviegoers as vague shapes in the dark; the uncomfortable front row seat I sat in and the pain in my lower back; the steady succession of image, rather than the images themselves. I remember the sound of the evening traffic outside which every so often I’d be able to hear inside, the two layers of sound – the noise of cars driving endlessly up and down 2nd Avenue and the wavelets of the Seine breaking onto shore – merging and becoming one. After the film, I took the hour-long subway ride home, the images of Vigo’s film most likely still heavy on the underside of my eyelids, and as the train crossed the Queensborough Bridge over the East River, I probably saw, as I always did, the barges and other boats on the waterway as little dots of light slowly moving up into the inland of the country. Or maybe I’m just imagining all of this, just as Daste dreamed of seeing his beloved floating in the beautiful haze of a dream.

JAMES WATERS:

I remembered that there was some in-camera trickery done to create the double exposures during Jean’s swim in L’Atalante. Upon further inspection, it was in fact a traditional double exposure, but in the interceding years between my last two rewatches of Vigo’s film there have been other images – namely in B&W – that have fooled me, creating double exposures and crossfades I thought were otherwise impossible. The impossibility was implanted by Vigo, the filmmaker whose image I returned to four subsequent times as precedent.

Two of the following images were achieved in-camera. These images I’d like to call mutual movies.

The third Jean – being Epstein – reminded me that irises in/out used to be achieved in-camera, a one-time given in the cinematic apparatuses of the 1920’s and 30’s, now impossible in digital cameras, much like black and white (without the assistance of post-production tinkering). That tactility imbues itself onto the subsequent crossfade, seeming to happen incidentally and contingent on incidental flares from the sun, perched just above (yet another) Jean and Marie, in Coeur Fidèle.

More Jeans, both Cocteau and Marais, in Orphée. Leaning upon an upright mirror, the space surrounding Marais’ head in the foreground creates enough of a negative space to crossfade into an inverted image of Marais laying atop another mirror, covered in sand.

So now the mutual movies. The subsequent shots were achieved in-camera at times when black and white was becoming outmoded (1984 and 1976, respectively).

Leos Carax’s Boy Meets Girl

And Terence Davies’ Children, a shot whose double exposures and crossfades become one, a shot whose power I must approximate in the following stills.

SEBASTIAN BOBIK: Jean Vigo died of complications from tuberculosis a short time after L’Atalante was released in 1934. It is commonly believed that his declining health is tied to the shooting of the film, which was supposedly scheduled for summer 1933, but only started in November. Vigo suffered in the cold conditions, but still tirelessly worked on the film. For some parts of filming, he was bedridden. In a way he was making this film from his deathbed. In the case of Vigo, it is especially tragic, since he was only 29 years old when he died. One can only imagine what films could have still followed. He isn’t the only one to have spent his final days that way.

There have been some cases in film history, where this has happened – at what expense, I wonder.

According to Pauline Kael for instance, it was easier to direct than to breathe for John Huston when he realized The Dead, at the age of 80, bound to a wheelchair. In Chris Marker’s Une journée d’Andrei Arsenevitch, we see the fragile Andrei Tarkovsky, ruling over the editing of Offret from the bed of a hospital.

The status of a film as a final gesture has some very fascinating implications. The question of how these people must have felt and why they spent their final months or years with these films is inevitable. One wonders if their status as a final film is actually visible in the works themselves. Is Offret a final film? Is L’Atalante a final film? Is there something in their form, that gives this away? Can we see what pushed these filmmakers? Is there a generosity in this gesture of creating a final work to leave for the world? Could they have taken this time instead to retire, to take better care of their state? Is there, as the title of Tarkovsky implies a “sacrifice” made within these films? But even if there is a selflessness in these acts, and they are admirable, looking at them only as selfless might be reductive. There is something obsessive about this idea too. People, who just couldn’t rest, who had to finish one last film. What pain it must have cost their loved ones, to see them exert themselves like this over one last work.

IVANA MILOŠ:

Weltgewimmel: La madre von Jean-Marie Straub (deuxième version)

So viel Schmerz. Das Leben in einem Film. Jean-Marie Straubs Rückkehr zu Cesare Paveses Dialoghi con Leucò lässt sich in drei Teile gliedern. Sie alle stehen frei für sich und doch zusammen.

Zunächst im Dunkeln, im Schwarz der Leinwand, das sowohl dem Mutterleib entspricht, also all dem, was kommt als auch dem Tod, also all dem, was gewesen, mit Gustav Mahlers Vertonung von Friedrich Rückerts Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen gesungen von Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. „Das ist Empfindung bis in die Lippen hinauf, die sie aber nicht übertritt! Und: das bin ich selbst!“, hatte Mahler einst über die Gedichte in Rückerts Liebesfrühling gesagt und es lässt sich auch über seine Musik sagen und es lässt sich auch über diesen Film sagen. Ob dieses „abhanden kommen“ nun tragischer oder friedlicher Natur ist, bleibt in der Schwebe. Es ist ein seltsam passiver Rückzug, ein Verschwinden und dass es dafür nur Worte und Musik gibt, nicht aber Bilder, entspricht einer Wahrheit, die man nur allzu gut nachempfinden kann. Man sieht und fühlt, wo dieser Film entsteht: im Hier und Jetzt, das auch ein Jenseits ist. Das Kino, die Welt.

Als zweiter Teil lässt sich der Dialog zwischen Hermes (bei Straub eine Frau: Giovanna Daddi) und Meleagros (Dario Marconcini) aus Paveses Vorlage identifizieren. Straub inszeniert ihn als Schuss-Gegenschuss-Sequenz, in der man jedes Wort hört, jeden Blick begreift. Wie immer in den Filmen von Huillet und Straub versteht man, dass Wörter verlorengehen können. Auch sie können abhanden kommen. Manchmal sagt man, dass man Wörter verliert, wenn man spricht. Eine vielsagende Metaphorik gegen die sich ihre Filme mit aller Kraft stemmen. Meleagros ist bereits verstorben, verbrannt durch die Hand seiner eigenen Mutter Althaia, als er mit Hermes spricht. Er beklagt sein Schicksal gegenüber dem Gott der Redekunst, der die Verstorbenen in den Hades führt.

Hermes beschreibt dem verzweifelten Jäger den Kreislauf des Feuers, der immer mit Müttern beginnt und endet. Statt das individuell tragische Schicksal zu beklagen, solle er sich darauf besinnen, dass alle Menschen mit dem Feuer ihrer Mütter in den Augen sterben würden. Man wäre nichts und die Frage nach dem Sinn sei weniger auf den Tod gerichtet als auf die Geburt. Nicht warum man gestorben ist, ist von Bedeutung, sondern warum man geboren wurde. Es ist schwierig als Mensch nicht in die Verzweiflung von Meleagros, seine Sorge um seine Atalante, die Unwissenheit, die Wut einzustimmen. Aber im Film öffnet sich etwas und man erkennt eine andere Möglichkeit, einen anderen Sinn.

So wie Pavese ein Schriftsteller war, der über die wirklichen Dinge schrieb, so ist Straub ein Filmemacher, der die wirklichen Dinge zeigt. Damit ist all das gemeint, für das der Alltag, der politische Diskurs und auch Kino und Literatur oft keine Zeit haben. Ein Blick durch die Oberflächen hindurch. Man vergisst so leicht, dass wir alle aus einem Körper kommen, den Körpern unserer Mütter. Dabei würde diese Tatsache uns erden, uns womöglich gar mit dem Weltgewimmel in Einklang bringen (wirklich leben!) und uns nicht, wie Hermes sagt, das Leben von Toten führen lassen. Diese Erdung erfahren die beiden Dialogpartner bei Straub filmisch, was dem dritten Teil des Films entspricht. Licht und Wind, Bäume und Büsche, Gesten und Blicke spielen ihre Rolle in dem toskanischen Garten in Acciaiolo, in dem der Film gedreht wurde. Man kann sich dem Rauschen der Wirklichkeit nur schwer entziehen. Es macht uns letztlich lebendig und klein und jedes Staubkorn übertrifft die größten Ideen. Die Offenheit der Wahrnehmung von Bild und Ton widerspricht dem Abhandenkommen Rückerts und Meleagros’. Hier ist die Welt und zwischen den Bildern, zwischen den Dialogpartnern, in ihrem Hin und Her, zwischen den Lebenden und Toten, den Nichtgeborenen und den Verschwundenen offenbart sich ein Feuer, das beiden Seiten zugleich gehört, ein Feuer das verbindet.

Tomatenstreamingdienste

Musste schnell die Streamingdienste kündigen, weil mein Posteingang überschwemmt wurde und ich meine Passwörter nicht mehr fand und das ständig Pop-Up-Geräusch unverbindlicher Angebote die Nachbarn aufweckte und ich ohnedies das Gefühl bekam, dass diese Streams mich beobachteten, aber eben nicht so wie Daney einmal schrieb, dass ein guter Film einen betrachtete (statt andersherum, Sie verstehen schon), sondern, dass sie sich merkten, dass ich sie gesehen habe, wogegen mir immerzu verloren ging, was und wie und ob ich schon zu Ende schaute. Wenn man Streamingdiensten kündigt, tut das diesen sehr Leid, es bricht ihnen fast das Herz und man muss hundertfach klicken, ehe man von Neuem mit Emails überschwemmt wird, die einen darum bitten, dass man doch zurückkommen solle, wegen all der schönen Zeit, die man mit ihnen verbringen könnte und all der schönen Streams, die man dann starten und wieder abbrechen könne ganz unverbindlich gegen monatliche Kosten, die man jederzeit wieder einstellen könne und ja, auch wegen der Community, die sich auch freut, wenn man sie als solche betrachtet und ich gebe zu, dass ich dann zu den Büchern in meinem Regal schaue und froh bin, dass sie alle so still sind. Inzwischen tauchen nur noch gelegentliche Zuckungen im Posteingang auf, weil die Streams natürlich irgendwo weiterlaufen, was einem ohnedies nicht entgeht, wenn man der sogenannten Filmpresse folgt, weil die elegant zu den Streams überwechselte, ist ja sowieso das gleiche, es bewegt sich und ruckelt und manchmal bleibt es stehen, dann regt man sich auf und startet alles neu und dann läuft es schon weiter – wie das Leben könnte man meinen, so ein Stream, in dem wir uns alle baden. Und dann bekommt man auch gar nichts mehr mit von dem, was gerade läuft, weil es ja gar nicht wirklich läuft, hihi, es sieht ja nur so aus, aber da läuft nichts und die Diskurse verlaufen sich, sind inzwischen irgendwo, habe sie angerufen, aber war belegt, ich hoffe, dass es ihnen gut geht. Den Streamingdiensten tut das Leid, aber so ist das und irgendwer tüftelt sicher gerade an einer neuen Idee für einen Streamingdienst, die klimatischen Bedingungen sind gerade günstig, aber nicht so für die Tomaten, die brauchen es wärmer, aber über Tomaten wird auch nicht so viel gesprochen, obwohl doch Tomaten systemrelevant sind in vielen Teilen der Erde und vielfältiger als Filme sind sie und auch gegen das Diversitätsproblem wurde was getan, schließlich gibt es Tomaten in vielen Farben, auch wenn man sie zugegeben schon vor allem mit einer Farbe assoziiert, aber vor allem schmecken sie ja besser als Streamingfilme und es macht so herrlich Freude, wenn sie im Mund platzen und der Mund noch leicht geöffnet war, weil man gerade staunend einen Tomatenstreamingdienst entdeckte und der ganze rote Saft über das frischgewaschene weiße Hemd spritzte, das man ja eigentlich gar nicht tragen müsste, weil man sich diese Dienste auch leicht vom heimischen Sofa ansehen könnte und dort ist es meist egal, was man trägt. Aber damit ist jetzt ja Schluß, denn ich habe gekündigt.

A Button in Der Letzte Mann and Kurutta Ichipeiji

In the winter of 1925 Teinosuke Kinugasa visited the Matzuawa mental hospital in the Setagaya district of Tokyo and wondered “whether there wasn’t some kind of drama behind the figure of the insane.” Unbeknownst to Kingusasa at the time was the role buttons and realism would play in the realization of this drama. Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Der letzte Mann premiered in Japan in Tokyo on April 1, 1926. Two days later Kinugasa took a trip from Kyoto to Tokyo to meet with Kawabata Yasunaris and Riichi Tokomitsu at the latter’s home, where they laid the plans for the project that was to become Kurutta Ichipeiji (A Page of Madness). We know that Kinugasa saw and admired Der letzte Mann: he listed it as the best artistic film of 1926 in a poll for the journal Eiga Sekai (Film World). The question is whether he saw it before or after making his own film. Kurutta Ichipeiji was written in mid to late April, shot in May, and edited in the first week of June. If Kinugasa were to have seen Murnau’s film before making his own, it would’ve had to have been between his arrival in Tokyo on April 3 and the press-conference he and his writers held on April 10, after which production began. I think Kinugasa saw Der letzte Mann that week he was in Tokyo before making Kurutta Ichipeij, and I think he processed and absorbed it at the same breakneck speed with which he made he made his seminal work.

 

FW Murnau, Der Letzte Mann

 

There are two elements that bind these films to one another inextricably. The first isn’t so abstract: both directors placed an importance on costumes, specifically jackets and their buttons. In Der letzte Mann, Emil Jannings’s character, a hotel porter, wears his uniform with pride. It grants him a privileged status in the working-class neighborhood he lives in. He’s grown too old and weak to serve as a porter, though, and is demoted to a bathroom attendant. A difficult scene shows him being disrobed, humiliated, and stripped of his identity. A button falls off. The film cuts to a view of his feet and the button falls and hits the ground. Three cameras shot Murnau’s film side by side, producing three separate negatives; one for Germany, one for America, and an export version, sent to Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and then, finally, off to Japan a year and a half later. The button falls differently in every version. In the German and American versions, it falls more or less straight down. In the export, however, the button rolls as though it had been thrown from an angle. Jannings’s character later steals the coat and puts it back on before he returns home and pretends as though nothing had happened. His neighbor notices the missing button and sews on a new one, becoming an unwitting collaborator in his scheme to maintain appearances and stave off the inevitable.

 

FW Murnau, Der Letzte Mann

 

The unnamed protagonist in Kurutta Ichipeiji was originally a sailor. There are no title cards to explain any of the plot; we can only glean this information from the uniform he wears in a flashback. (It’s not entirely clear, though, what exactly the uniform signifies. Maybe his contemporary audience would have understood. The film was originally shown with a live narrator, a BenshiI wonder what he would have said about the uniform.) The protagonist has since become a janitor in an insane asylum where his wife has been interned. She’d gone mad while waiting for him out at sea and drowned their baby. He feels a sense of guilt and tries to break her out with the hopes of restoring some semblance of their former relationship, but every time he tries, she refuses. She exists outside time, in an incoherent world of lights, sounds, movements, and vibrations. He exists in past-time, unable to move on from a tragedy he thinks he could have prevented. One rainy evening he stands watching her in her cell. She reaches through her cell-bars and grasps at the button of his janitorial uniform. It’s held on by only a thread and she plucks it off. She holds it in her hand and stares deeply into it. The camera cuts to her point of view and the button morphs into a glass ball. We cut out and see her husband staring at her, nervous and confused. The rain is falling down and an attendant (or a wandering inmate?) walks by. We switch back to the wife’s point-of-view as she looks at her husband’s face; it warps beyond recognition. She drops the button on the ground and the husband sees it and then looks away, out into a corner of blank space. We flash back to what at first appears to be one of his memories: he’s in his sailor’s uniform, slightly hidden behind a tree, watching his wife drown their child. He looks on helplessly. But why is he a character in his own memory? And why can’t he intervene? We then suppose this flashback to be his guilt-ridden fantasy, a voyeuristic imagination of a crime he feels complicit in. We return to the present, where he’s again in his janitorial garb, the metamorphic button lying on the floor, his wife having since moved on to another distraction.

 

Teinosuke Kinugasa, Kurutta Ichipeiji

 

The second element that holds these films together is their formal approach, a type of intuitive momentum and meandering direction the stories follow. Murnau and Kinugasa both had backgrounds in the theatre, and when they decided to work in film, they tried to express something through the medium that couldn’t be expressed by other means. That is to say, they were trying to uncover the dormant possibilities of a purely cinematic form of expression. Shigehiko Hasumi claims Murnau was the first director to realize “a vertical power that breaks the viewer free from the story’s linear cause and effect…a privilege allowed only to film.” Helplessness and indeterminacy are the constitutive structure of Murnau’s films. They allowed for continuity and change, for an interdependence between the plot and its derivations. In the hunt to establish precedents for Kinugasa’s film, critics have cited the psychological expressionism of Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari and the impressionistic experimentation of Germaine Dulac’s La Souriante Madame Beudet. Both of these films were undoubtedly influential in terms of its plot and rhythmic sequencing, but neither of them could have had much influence on the complex realism that holds together the otherwise schizophrenic Kurutta Ichipeiji. There is, indeed, a bond between movements, cuts, and pans that is never arbitrary, never expressive for its own sake. There is a dynamic that regulates the ongoing temporal shifts and subjective distortions, a regulation without which the film would dissolve into a mere formal experimentation. Kinugasa, like Murnau, tried to structure his films the way life unfolds; unexpectedly, without a teleology, unified only by an agent perceiving it all.

 

Teinosuke Kinugasa, Kurutta Ichipeiji

 

Uniforms are important, and not only because they signify a social standing, but because they can conceal things as well. Cinema deals with the representation of man’s inner life as it manifests externally, as it becomes visual. But there’s often a discrepancy, a secret that betrays our sense that the mediation between these worlds is fluid, something that suggests that much more will always remain hidden. I think Kinugasa learned this from Murnau, and I think he learned the same thing about buttons, that they have not only a utilitarian function but a metaphysical one as well. They fasten clothes and identities, memories, fantasies, delusions and films with one another.

 

(Author’s Note: I want to express my gratitude to Aaron Gerow and for his A Page of Madness: Cinema and Modernity in 1920s Japan, published by the University of Michigan Press in 2009. A great deal of the historical record and nearly all of the quotations cited in this essay were translated from the Japanese by Aaron Gerow and published in his study.)

Wörter für die Welt da draußen #5: Eigallerte

In einer Wagenrinne auf einem alten Auwaldweg nahe Jettsdorf sammelte sich trübes Regenwasser. Darin trieben knapp unter der Oberfläche zwei schillernde Laichklumpen, umklebt von froschigen Eigallerten, die gleich einer verblassten Götterspeise oder einer wasserfarbenen Traubenrispe vom kommenden Leben einiger Springfrösche kündeten.

Erstarrt schwebte die Zukunft unter dieser durchsichtigen Schicht, die alles schützte und sich nach und nach verflüssigte, sodass die dumpfe Unwirklichkeit der Pfütze möglichst sachte über die ums Überleben kämpfenden Kaulquappen fiel.

Ganz erstaunlich wie dieser wabernden Flüssigkeit ein Körper entschlüpfen kann. Man glaubt sich fast zu erinnern an die Zeit, in der wir alle im Schlamm des Meeres dahinsiechten, nichts sehend, aber jede Regung spürend und bereit irgendwann, in einer unvorstellbaren Zeit, das Wasser zu verlassen.

Ivana Miloš, Jajašca žablja (2021), watercolor on paper, 18 x 26 cm