Invocation of Bliss

digiBeta, 16:9, colour, 92 minutes

Khwajeh Shams al–Din Muhammad Hafez–e Shirazi, approx. 727–791 A.H./1325–1389 a.d.

In May, 2006 I traveled around Iran, a small camera always close at hand, and experienced some of the most memorable „magical moments“ of my life. At Shiraz, I strolled through the garden of Hafez, the great Persian poet from the 14th century. There was this moment when I pointed my camera at the alabaster tomb at the center of the garden for about one minute. The footage shows a group of people of all ages that grew from just a few at first to about fifty. They all engaged in a meeting of a very special and personal kind and their behavior suggested something that can only be described as the spirit of Hafez.
I edited this succession of images and made it last 18 minutes. Then I added five duplicates of the resulting footage and inserted an additional close-up between them, which shows Arabic calligraphy of one of Hafez's most famous poems that is inscribed on his tomb.
The soundtrack is a composition that draws on different sources such as sound bites from Hafez's garden at Shiraz and other locations around the country. It also focuses on rain, wind, thunder, and a brook that I had my ears close to. To a large extent, Iran consists of sand and salt deserts as well as bare mountain ranges. In an environment of this kind, water means life, pure and simple, and people of all ages have built the most beautiful gardens and palaces around it. This is clearly another film for meditation.

Michael Pilz, Vienna, September 17, 2009

Lieber Michael! Hab gestern noch Deinen Film auf unsere Wohnzimmerwand projiziert.
Dort ist eine Art Fenster entstanden, offen nach einer anderen Dimension von Zeit, von Raum, von Wahrnehmung.
Es ist nicht zu viel gesagt: eine Ahnung der Schöpfung, ihrer noch unausgeloteten Möglichkeiten der Selbst-Bewusstwerdung – wie ein langsames Aufwachen – und der Friede hat kein Ende – ist im Sein, im Vergehen, selbst im Tod, und geht darüber hinaus.
Und jeder Neubeginn ist eine Wiedergeburt. Die (visuellen) Wiederholungen sind wie Atemzüge. Zusammen mit den (akustischen) Veränderungen entsteht eine spiralförmige Bewegung, ein in sich geschlossener, geborgener, sich aber ständig erneuernder Organismus. Das ist das Unglaublichste an diesem Film(?), dass mit jedem Wiederbeginn der Einstellung ein völlig neues Zeitalter anfängt, etwas Nie –Dagewesenes sichtbar, erlebbar wird. Läuft die Einstellung, rast die Zeit dahin, wird die Erde alt, in den Raum der Stille treten Beunruhigungen, Verschiebungen ein. Das Licht schwenkt, lässt selbst das Glas der Optik farbig aufleuchten, nichts ist mehr, wie es war. Bewegungen streben auf ein Ziel hin, Hände berühren die Grabplatte, dort angekommen, verebben sie, hören auf, wie ein Sterben, ohne Schmerz, hinein in einen Neubeginn. Wenn die Einstellung wieder „von vorne“ beginnt, beginnt mein Leben „von vorne“ – mein alt gewordener Blick klärt sich, etwas tritt ein wie die Glückseligkeit des Kindseins.
Danke für den Film, der eigentlich ein lebendiges Gemälde ist, das ich gerne immer an unserer Wohnzimmerwand hätte.

Peter Schreiner, Wien, am 1. Oktober 2009

Dear Michael! Later yesterday, I projected your film onto our living room wall.
A kind of window made its appearance there, open towards another dimension of time, space, and perception.
It's not an overstatement: a distant idea of creation, its as yet uncharted possibilities of self-awareness – like a slow awakening – and peace has no end – it is embedded in life, its fading away, even in death, and goes beyond it.
And every new beginning is a rebirth. The (visual) repetitions are like a series of breaths. Together with the (acoustic) changes, a spiral-like movement emerges, an organism grounded in a feeling of safety and oneness, but one that, nevertheless, continually renews itself. Most incredible about this film (?) is that with each recommencement of the scene, an entirely new era sets in, something unprecedented is rendered visible and palpable. As the scene progresses, time races on, the earth turns old, in the space of silence, moments of uneasiness and displacement ensue. The light pans, lets even the glass of the lens light up with colors, nothing is the way it was. Movements are oriented towards a goal, hands touch the memorial stone; after arriving there, they subside, cease, as if passing away, without pain, into a new beginning. When the scene „starts over,“ my life begins „anew“ – my aged eyes clear up, something like the blissful joy of childhood sets in.
Thank you for this film, which is actually an animated painting, one I would love to always see on our living-room wall.

Peter Schreiner, Vienna, October 1, 2009

Original title Invocation of Bliss
Produced by Michael Pilz
Shooting time May 14, 2006
Shooting locations Hafezieh, Shiraz, Iran
Cinematography by Michael Pilz
Original Sound by Michael Pilz
Edited by Michael Pilz
Sound mix by Michael Pilz

Financial support innovative film austria, federal arts, bm:uk

Austria 2009

First screening 40th International Filmfestival of India in Goa, November 2009
Festivals, specials Goa (India)

Copyright by Michael Pilz Film
A-1180 Vienna/Austria
Teschnergasse 37
Phone +43.699.11336581