Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Follow the silence...

Back in 1999, on a rainy sunday night, I got my first text message on a cellphone. The cellphones back then were a lot bulkier than the current models and on this particular night, that large cellphone stood motionless on my coffee table until the arrival of that text message. The sudden vibration of the cellphone disturbed the quietness in the room and the words of that first ever text message simply read:

“Follow the white rabbit”.

Ha. It was obviously a joke by a friend who knew I had recently seen The Matrix. Since there was no phone number associated with the message, I had to resort to a guessing game of sorts. As the days went by, I could not find any trace of this mystery person. Eventually, a few weeks later it turned out to be someone unexpected who sent the message from the cellphone company’s internet page.

Now almost a decade later, another mysterious person got in touch with me. The phone number was unlisted when I picked up the phone.




I said hello once again and was about to hang up when I heard some static on the other end of the line. Then finally a voice.

“I have what you want.”

“Hello..who is this?”

“It does not matter. I have the Costa.”

“Sorry, I am not sure what you mean. Who are you?”

“You wanted to see the Pedro Costa films? Well I have them, all of them.”

By now, I was going through the short list of people who knew about my desire to trace down Pedro Costa’s films.

“Yes. I want to see them,”

“Good. Meet me at.....”

“How will I recognize you?”

“You don’t have to. I will approach you.”

I was certain this was a new prank from of my friends. So I went along.

However, I could not make it out to the location on the specified date & time. I tried but the icy roads coupled with the snow storm in the city made it almost impossible for me to make it. I was stuck in traffic for 1.5 hours and after seeing a dozen accidents on the roads, I decided it would be safer for me to head back home. The next day, after making a few inquiries, I could not get any verification about this mystery person.

Two weeks have now gone by. The weather is still brutally cold and more importantly, I have still not heard back from this mysterious person again.

For the record, I have already seen three Pedro Costa films -- Casa de Lava, Where Does your Hidden Smile Lie? & O Sangue. I am waiting for Criterion’s Fontainhas Trilogy due in 2010 which will check off three more Costa features off my list. So I am not that worried about missing that date with the mysterious person.

On the other hand, mystery person, if you are reading this, I would really appreciate it if you could dig up a film from North Korea, Honduras, Slovakia (Czech Republic will not do), Slovenia (besides Spare Parts which I have seen and love), Ghana and Nigeria.

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