In Ash Cinema by Edward Rathke, movie-making and music become parables for the emotions that rage through three different lives. Experimental, yet filled with human vulnerability, I found myself sucked into a stream of emotion. There were lines I read over and over, just to grasp at the details, the way Rathke blurs the intersections between life, cinema, and tragedy.
“The ocean of the past, I still hide from so much of it and rely on all that I don’t run from. Everything before him, I waited for the nightmare to end, and it did when he accepted me into his arms. It was a new birth, a new life, but it flashed too briefly and left me with only these rabid bits of time that eat me, these memories that haunt me, but he, the ghost I need, remains lost.”
I love the title that connotes lives lost in ash and regret and the fantasy egress of movie-making. The stories contained within the pages revolve around a filmmaker named Sebastian Falke and how he touched/blew a storm through their lives:
“The television told him about a riot in Cannes over a film called Who do you Run to? The festival burnt down and the offending film turned to ashes as, the official asserted, it should have remained… Year spent in search only to watch it burn within days. A life measured by soot.”
There are old extant photographs of ghosts that critics have suggested were caused by altering the negative or playing with the footage during exposure. The past is dissected in the book and lives are split apart during their prose exposure. Ash Cinema will haunt you for days after reading.