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Origins

We Were Wanderers

What does it feel like to experience a new wilderness?

James W Griffiths' short film We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth honors the exquisite landscapes of Malaysia. The sweeping shots of flora and detailed fauna bring us to an outside space that feels untouched.

These visuals are coupled with excerpts from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness: "The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically; the sky was a benign immensity of unstained light." (You can read the full combined text below).

Luckily this film does not include the darker excerpts of the novel and also the larger themes for which it is criticized like...ahem...colonialism. But I digress. Griffiths carefully chose this text for its beautiful descriptive quality. He uses Conrad's prose to draw us into the feeling of experience this new landscape for the first time.

That would be a beautiful gift, setting foot on our earth before modern history. What would it look like? Where would you go?

And how the heck do you draw a map for that?

Griffith's film takes us to that place for now—a forest that seems to be from another time, pristine, beautiful. Now go find your own new wilderness. There's bound to be a primeval forest nearby.

We are wanderers,

KK

"The high stillness of primeval forest was before my eyes, standing higher than the wall of the temple. The silence of the land went home to one's very heart--its mystery, its greatness, the amazing reality of its concealed life.

Over the great river I could see through a somber gap glittering, glittering as it flowed broadly by without a murmur. Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. The sun was fierce, the land seemed to glisten and drip with steam. The great wall of vegetation, an exuberant and entangled mass of trunks, branches, leaves, boughs, festoons, motionless in the moonlight, was like a rioting invasion of soundless life.

Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the serenity became less brilliant but more profound. The day was ending in a serenity of still and exquisite brilliance. The water shone pacifically; the sky was a benign immensity of unstained light. In its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low. The dawns were heralded by the descent of a chill stillness.

All that mysterious life of the wilderness that stirs in the forest, in the jungles, in the hearts of wild men."

 

1/20/2012
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