Looking at ‘Gravity’

74877The clock on the computer that day I remember was 10:48 in the morning two years from today when I read that finally Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is taking off towards production. A sense of hope in the heart of mine began to breathe, the feeling of it, cold, meaning that perhaps Alfonso is going to provide something extraordinary again, especially after watching Children of Men, a film that I am holding today and for sure forever so dearly and very close to my beating heart. A film-maker, I believe, should always be an innovator, someone with a heart, who is not afraid of taking risks. I have been in love with the art form that is known as films since I was a seven year old boy, who first got his very mind blown away by the explosions on the screen. It is films like The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Close Encounters of The Third Kind; The Shining, Schindler’s list; Memento; The Prestige; The Dark Knight; Inception; Tree of Life; The Passion of the Christ, and this list, yes, can go on, that pushes further not only the cinema towards a better chance to see better films by competent artists, but this mind of mines as well. What fascinated me was how I began to comprehend the purpose of film itself. See, I saw a character in a film getting shot. And, I thought that he was dead for real. It’s  magic I said to myself, perhaps not even knowing the definition of the term magic back then; as soon as I saw the same actor in a different film, I understood then that film, each one, is like a life form, delivering to us a sense of hope, goodness; a perfect getaway for the heart and mind.

Alfonso’s dream has turned into a reality, for he has tremendously with his team of artists worked to achieve an arduous task. Film-making is a complex process, but a film like Gravity makes the process even more complex when you know that its subject is a place that is impossible to direct. How can you direct space? – Or,  we can put the question like this: Does space even understand us?

The opening shot of the film introduces to us the glorious home of ours that is known as Earth. In space, a ball made, not sure how, so much beautiful that in it lies the natures mysteries. Man hasn’t yet set foot on some of the spots of this very Earth. But, man is capable of setting foot on the Moon. Man has achieved as well to visit the space. Alfonso, as an artist, explains to us the basic of such environment. We all know the deepness of the space, the universe itself, but we don’t know how deep or vast it is. At least here time is to comprehend, those who haven’t been there, the basics, though. ‘It is not a film that is a lot about plot”, says, Alfonso, in this interestingly written piece published by ‘Vulture.’

Since Gravity is not so much about plot then what is it about? – The infra-narrative of Gravity explains the price of grabbing hope from its throat. To help achieve a film like this first, they needed the dream to be in words on paper; Alfonso’s own son, Jonas Cuaron as a writer teamed with his father. Both father and son agreed that putting the minds of the audiences in a tension-feeling mode for hour and half they don’t really need a plot. Gravity, if one thinks, is about a drifter, but here we have this character, not walking, on the face of the Earth, but in space; a place that is beautifully breathtaking, but also dark, silent and impossible to live. Its logline is simply saying that is a film about a medical engineer and an astronaut working together to survive after an accident leaves adrift in space. – But to think about it, how can one sit and set the plot of a script when you know that it is about individuals battling against nothing else, but the loneliness of space.

gravity-3dAlfonso as a director also pays attention on the performances of his actors more than he pays attention on the character development.  Though, we do get a sense of understanding about them, especially where both individuals are really coming from. Their dreams, goals and the simplicity of their lifestyles. They are not people with superpowers. We have to understand that they are simple, that’s all. But, his actors, both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are presenting a sense of discipline that is unique and both actors, respectively,  dives deep here with the film-maker to achieve their goals.  For $80 million, the film is made in a way, showing, that film-making here is at its best. It is truly the work of an artist with a dream to simply squeeze such vastness, the horror of it and intensity in only hour and a half. Still, though, the conclusion satisfies. Performances are well balanced and over-reaction is just a tale that is an old term to throw around the space of Gravity. More than the intensity, paranoia and tension, what caught my attention is the technology that they have used in order to achieve something that is very complex. Alfonso and his team have literally put the character in a box, dangling, in its space, without a rope, of course. That box does have two windows like our eyes as it perceives the circumstances. So, our brain, this mind, is a box, after all and in it still I find that white dot in the center of dark space.

It literally brought tears to my eyes as witnessing that film-making becomes sometimes for some artists too poetic and so personal that it pushes the boundaries of the mind away further and introduces a vastness that mind itself, like space, is an unlimited mystery. – The audacity of the film-maker can be felt and understood as soon as we sense the threat that is travelling towards our characters. It is the tenacity and poetic hearts of the makers that injects the tension to our veins in slow motion; Steven Price, the composer, has a score that is haunting, and we begin to hear such beauty as tension, loneliness, paranoia and horror becomes the shadows of our characters. Like a ghost in space the score bounces off, following our ears, and as we see these simple individuals simply trying their best to just hold on to each other. – Gravity, means a lot, though, besides just being a science-fiction thriller. The straightforwardness of its very plot still delivers a chill so cold down the spine that wakes one up to comprehend that what we call home is so beautiful must not at all be harmed by the very hands of ours. We belong to this Earth as we have earned the right to breathe, live, love, work, leave a mark behind, and move on, where, I am not sure, perhaps God knows where, if he exists somewhere in that dark space. The disappearances of our bodies is a clear possibility in the future, so perhaps Gravity is a metaphor that in this revolving Earth, in space, we should hold on to each other and never let go.