I came across this fragment online: An interview film featuring two characters living as husband and wife in a small, Paraguayan town. One that includes a large community of ethnic Germans, within its population.
While at no point in the clip is a date mentioned, the fashion, furniture, quality of the picture, sound and the historical references divulged, gives a feel of the late 1950s.
Most of the filming takes place in a spartan-furnished lounge, with the pair shown seated together on a charcoal-grey settee. A bland, greenish landscape painting hangs framed on the wall. To the left and smaller, a pictorial calendar displays August’s arrangement of a white teapot, cup, saucer and a pile of books. A ribbon-tied spray of pink carnations lay across the open pages of the topmost book. The wallpaper, floral and faded, completes the scene.
“Ja, nien.” The woman is wearing a sleeveless white blouson top and a black wrap-around skirt. Her make-up and hair are immaculate. Initially hesitant, she directs her answers to a man positioned off-camera, evidenced by the occasional plume of cigarette smoke drifting across the scene.
“And so it’s true, lo and behold I was the only one with a camera, the day Jesus was laid in his tomb.” Lottie holds the photo hardware up for the gallery crowd to scrutinise. A retro model, but containing more computerised technology packed into it, than available to the entire global effort for outer space travel, c.1954 – 1986. “So that’s my story and now I am ready to take some questions. You there, with the clown make-up, what would you like to ask?”
The beige-coloured painted walls of the gallery space, specially commissioned for the one-person, one-piece exhibition, has created a relaxed atmosphere. The critics from the press have been polite throughout Lottie’s monologue account, despite the only beverage available being tap water.
Joseph of Arimathea cries out: “Who, has left Our Lord’s mortal vessel slumped on the chair like this?”
Within the tomb, an elderly turbaned man emerges from out of the shadows. Dressed in an embroidered stola, a walking-stick decorated by intergrown knots helps bear the load of sombreness he carries as he shuffles into a space of light.
“I am Nicodemus of Judea,” his voice is hoarse, dry and pitched upwards, “High Priest of Sanhedrin and I swear to Almighty God, that it was not I. Perhaps, instead…” a stubby index finger extends outwards to form an accusatory pointing device, “it was him, over there!”
From a comfortable viewing distance, I watch as two extraordinary people wait at a grimy San Francisco tram stop. I notice their eyes level with each other several times. During the passing seconds of this connected gazing, their engaged brains collect and process the combined equivalent of a 1969 moon-landing sized, four kilobytes worth of RAM. Information, some of which is relevant to this story, some much less so.
“Hi there! Okay, this maybe a bit of an odd thing to say, but, well, you know, I love your naturally blue hair. Are you English. by-any-chance?”
“I am. I am also curious as to how you guessed that. From your accent, I would say that you’re English too? But, I wouldn’t have known just by looking. I mean, clowns they just look like other clowns, right?”
“Well…” Clown is deflated. “There is some variety. Look… we’ve got twenty minutes to kill before the next tram arrives, if it’s on time. There’s a café over there.” His tone of voice and frowning expression suggests something between an appeal and a demand.