Expressing One’s Soul in Art

Artistic creation is a process of expressing one’s soul. Creating artists expose their souls, performing artists mold their souls to express the souls of others… Performing your own art live is the apex of both, aptly expressed by Laura Marling: “When I play, I am very much in the space where I was when I wrote the music. You could slay me quite easily, I’m at my most vulnerable. (…) why is it that I get up on stage every night and open myself in front of strangers?”

Laura Marling performing “What He Wrote” in October 2012

Laura Marling performing “What He Wrote” in June 2020


Persona: Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky

Bergman’s Persona is undeniably an outstanding work of art: this movie makes you feel, think, and contemplate. After watching it, I found myself contemplating for a long time… about how we relate to others and the world, about the true nature of yourself and the plasticity of your persona… or maybe it is your true self that is flexible?…

Before too long, I found myself recalling the line from Tarkovsky’s Stalker: “Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Flexibility and softness are the embodiment of life. That which has become hard will not triumph.” Professor Borg’s personal journey in Bergman’s Wild Strawberries also came to mind.

What is strength, and what is weakness?… Do we get harder or softer as we move through life?…

To me, both Bergman and Tarkovsky evoke similar feelings, but, quoting Bergman himself: “My discovery of Tarkovsky’s first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had, until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease. I felt encouraged and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how. Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.” I agree, Bergman’s Persona feels somewhat crude compared to Tarkovsky’s later works, but it was created before Mirror, Solaris, Stalker, Nostalgia, and The Sacrifice, and Tarkovsky admired it. In the end, Persona is an impressive artistic achievement with an epic impact on many, including Tarkovsky.

The image is from the YouTube channel by Gabriel Gomez.

Days of Heaven

I had wanted to watch Days of Heaven for a very long time… I finally watched it in October 2022, and it did not disappoint!

It is one of those rare movies where the visuals and the atmosphere are more important than the outward narrative of the story. It captures that unique and fleeting feeling of “days of heaven” when you feel truly and utterly happy, disconnected from the whole world in your own happiness. It also conveys the intangible feeling of the flow of fate and how little power we sometimes have over it. It deeply resonated with me on so many levels, consciously and subconsciously. There are no other movies like it, a true masterpiece!