What is there exactly about people and their sudden obsession with prior epochs? Vintage is the new black, if so to say it. There exists a certain nostalgic force that draws people onto their past, a reminiscence. Be it a song, be it a melody, be it a photograph, be it a smell, or be it a location. All these things evoke the strongest feelings from our innermost corners; the corners that conceal our feathery melancholic soul. We sometimes yearn for those blithe childhood years, but what’s even more riveting is people’s fascination with past decades, past centuries, past periods.
I found a quote clearly depicting this idea in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris. This is it, word by word, as heard in the motion picture, “Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.” Truth is that for such souls, the present will always seem “a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying”.
Same thoughts arrived to me as I was watching the very well known The Russian Ark, a true masterpiece directed by Aleksandr Sokurov. Here, the ark represents the famous Hermitage of Saint Petersburg, mysteriously afloat on the sea of time and of Russian history. The ark tenderly guards Russian art and history from the freezing ocean outside the doors of the Winter Palace; and becomes metaphor for Russia itself and the strength and endurance of Russian culture.
If you think about it Russia has been through so much, but it never lost its identity. Russia was struck numerous times by changes, war, famine, destruction. Nevertheless it’s still here.
I know this post is a bit scattered. There are ideas all over the place. I don’t know if I am able to develop fully on this topic, because Russia’s history has always been a handful. It is too much to grasp in a simple post. However I will leave you with some photographs. I think they are beautiful.