Last Tuesday, with time to kill before going to the GFT to see ‘A Life of Pi ‘ (the 3D version), I was idly watching the world go by through the window of Toshie’s Coffee House (I suppose I may have looked a bit like a Vermeer to the Indian (?) woman who was taking my photograph) when something amazing happened, something that took my breath away….. I saw a miracle, I saw a man in combat gear stop between me and the Indian lady who had just photographed me, saw him stop bang in the middle of the busy street and, without any visible effort, slowly, ever so slowly, rise off the ground, rise several feet off the ground and…. stay there….. hanging there…….. effortlessly suspended in….in space.
Only I seemed to notice him, everybody else hurrying past with more important places to visit, more urgent business to attend to, or perhaps they had seen this miracle before and no longer gave it a second thought. Or perhaps they just didn’t want to witness it.
I paid for my coffee and hurried outside but I was too late, too slow, the man in combat gear, the man who had defied and defeated the frightful forces of gravity, was gone.
All through the film (which was excellent, stunningly beautiful at times, always thought-provoking*) my mind kept drifting away to the levitating man. What did it mean? Why had only I seen him? Had I really seen him? Was it, like in the Neil Young song, only a dream? But even dreams have to have some meaning so what did it mean this picture I had in my mind of a man hanging in space and only me noticing? What did it mean?
* I think the film’s conclusion gave you a choice to make between two beliefs: a) the hope-bringing ‘story’ of religion as an explanation of the purpose underlying human existence, as opposed to b) Darwin’s amoral, evolutionary theory that only the fittest survive.