cosmos (2015)

The heart races, the stream of information is never ending, we struggle to keep up. What is reality? Which reality is most appealing? We have lived so many lives in our minds as we tread through fiction. Now, we desire only to create, to bring our own fiction into the world of being. Through the cosmos we construct our own existence. We find our players, craft our parts to play and when the music swells we are left with the vain desire to fulfill the moment. Cosmos finds us at our most vulnerable, seeing fiction in our reality and vice versa, seeing the crescendo of moods in its pure form in all we see and do, moving at a mental speed that out outpaces reality by lightyears. We desire, we observe, we find mystery in all around us, but nothing measures up to our thirst for the exquisite. Zulawski, here in his final film, does not merely capture this 21st century human truth, he transcends it, he defines it. Fragments of the past, of current life, and of dreams filter in like sunlight to the minds of the people who populate this fantasy, never pausing for an instant, but accumulating as the music swells, the mood deepens and the entanglements entwine ever-closer. Characters with some obscure knowledge of the makings of things, writing their own tale as they live it, struggling with what to say about their grand fiction, how to react to it, and what's the best and most profound way for it to play out. Should they end up together at the end? Should they not? The world is alive with its creatures, buzzing and humming, sometimes shouting, sometimes hanging from a tree. Sometimes we hear the orchestra and sometimes the music cuts out.

The author is present in this piece, constantly constructing the narrative gaps, posing the possibilities and it is Zulawski who allows this narrative play to go on, never locking the characters in by any finite explanation or truth as to what has occurred. We are removed from a cinema of morality and characters made answerable for their actions. With each twist and turn comes the question, did it happen at all? Did it happen as we saw it? Today's crisis is tomorrow's forgotten narrative thread. We exist here in a moment of supreme doubt for all that our eyes have shown us. Zulawski in essence has captured what the mind already knows about life in the post-modern era; there can be no truth when the truth is not a pillar of the way we live our lives. Crimes can be committed and the criminals can question what crime is and cause it to vanish. The constant stimulation of information, the constant flurry of viewpoints, as expressed at many instances, man in his time does nothing. Unfurling here, with an indispensable sense of humor about the act of living, Zulawski has crafted a potently distinct work, a whirlwind that never calms, but ever increases in its tumult, bringing forward the purity of its form at every turn. This is cinema spoekn as its own language and can never be translated back again. Zulawski has achieved along the path set about by Vertov, a film which has no basis in any other form, though the constant references to great authors and filmmakers is always present, as it is in our daily lives and to those who revere the form of what they create. The characters think of fiction, they live fiction, and they seek to become a part of it, how lucky they are that they are already what they desire, they are characters within an imaginary mind of the author. When we cease to see what is occurring as reality, we find the center point of the work. Cinema, here, is that moment when two people embrace, the music rises to a point of emotional bliss and we begin to wonder if they will lock lips or if one will strangle the other. It doesn't matter. Each sequence is played at the tone with which to best compliment its own sequence and in totally unrelated pathos to its adjoining sequences, which may lead us anywhere. The film does not seem to have come together from a narrative thread, rather has burst into existence from some place of infinity inside the auteur's mind. To have conceived of such a thing seems too grand a task, rather the film seems to have simply been born into being, and those who populate its frames are at the constant whim of the emotional thread that leads us through. The various instances of beauty cannot be the film, just as the various moments of crisis and so on. 

Through various meals shared, the erratic behavior never ceases, the fury of existence is rarely quelched. Within Cosmos, we see a mind trying to make sense of all it sees, as unrelated as the occurrences may be. For Zulawski, this is the act of creation and creating fiction and perhaps the most bare an artist could ever lay the conundrum. In the modern era, new meaning is given to the life of the artist, for it is a way of being that moves entirely against the grain of the future. One does not create from compulsion, one creates from profession, from occupation, and the artist can no more choose to live as to live is to be voracious in the pursuit of creating work from life. All life is but fodder for a project. The purity of the compulsion is nonexistent as the drive to create becomes akin of that to eat, to survive, to live another day. Desperately chewing up the scenery of what our senses can gather, searching on for the next hit, the next inspiration. The swirling winds of this storm are as pathetic as they are devious, as joyful as they are aloof, for there is no difference, all are but emotions to be distilled and processed. The characters of Cosmos often look as though they're read to burst, perhaps burst from the screen, perhaps implode into themselves, perhaps they are waiting for their impulse to direct them on what to do next. Perhaps we can attempt to correlate stimuli into a vast plot, or perhaps it's all stimulus for stimulus sake. Perhaps there's a difference and perhaps there isn't, but the truth here is, we'll never know for sure. Cosmos lets us see it all ways all at once. Maybe they all happen.