A Penitence From Skrivnous, the First Tier of Purgatory
Juris Podnieks (1950-1992), Latvian distinguished cameraman, director and producer, his documentary “Is It Easy to Be Young?” put Podnieks’ name on the map of the International Cinema.
Tata: I live in Los Angeles. Sometimes mediums meet wonderful spirits in most unexpected ways. It was the end of this April, I washed my dishes and was all set to go for a walk. Instead I dried my hands and switched on my laptop. From the world of spirits, it was Juris Podnieks, who got my attention during dish washing, when our heads are “empty,” and not occupied by thoughts and emotions. He was finishing his stay in the first tier of purgatory Skrivnous, and needed to talk about things that may speed up reaching the normal level of the astral world. The description of Skrivnous can be found in Daniil Andreyev’s book “Roza Mira,” Eksmo , or in English in Daniel H. Shubin’s translation “Rosa of the World,” A New Translation of Selections from the Russian for the American Readers.
J.P. – You, Tatyana, as a film critic and the author of “Prisoners of Fame,” you have seen how glory may cripple a person, isn’t it true? Glory had touched me as well, but it I was a lucky one. Due to my short life on earth, it did not last for long. Fame unduly corrupts a person. I will give an example. When I was 20 years old and returning from forced military service in the Soviet Army, I found out the director of the Latvian film studio and asked him to lend me an outdated camera and allow me to shoot some episodes for the news programs. Naturally, my modest and polite request was denied. I was upset because I did not realize that by refusing my request, the director had laid the cornerstone of my future success. That refusal would become the central item in writings that promoted me and my films. Instead of getting angry, I had to water and feed him the rest of my life.
I will miss the details how friends from America sent me a used camera, and how much it was superior than our new cameras. I was lucky. Otherwise, I would climb out years, and here I was –clicking a button on that camera, and footage of perfect beauty started flowing out of that camera! Then you know what happened next! I became the one who was loved by critics of various small and frail film festivals, I was strewn with insignificant awards, but their number made a difference leading me to the serious festivals with coveted, career making awards. Attention and awards of these festivals created my fast fame. Soon I learned that I had bad temper. I discovered my ability to brush aside gluey followers, and did not drag, like you, all of them into my future. You, on the contrary, yes, do, because you feel sorry for them. Sitting on your neck energetically, they write monstrous denunciations of you, even those of them whom you, as an alternative healer, dragged literally from the death threshold back into their lives. And this is true …
J. P. – But the sweet introduction with the art of avoiding the scammers turned out to be only the beginning, the first step on the path to success … Now came the next step – the execution of instructions. And here it all began — the struggle with your own conscience, the effort of quieting the aching voice of conscience in the name of the right to say at least something.
Tata: – What do you think today about this “commodity exchange,” the exchange of a dulled conscience toward “the glory on props”! The conscience is not happy, and the glory on props is not happy either! Maybe it is too much to put it this way?
J.P. – Unfortunately – it is what it is: “the international glory on props”, this expression may well become the title of this publication.
Tata: – Want to talk about the nature of the errands in question?
J.P. – Let talk! In the USA, I have many friends, and one day they call me to entrap those nice people who sent me an American working camera. Initially, it cost a lot of money, and it was used to shoot only two boring documentaries and after sent to the warehouse for eternal rest. The cameraman was already buying the same brands’ next generation camera. My friends persuaded him to offer me his previous camera for a third of its value.
Again, I’m talking about money, my American friends were doing a lot of charity work, helping filmmakers in need, including arranging screenings for their forgotten but absolutely wonderful works, organizing and publishing articles about them, and I was asked to compromise their flawless names. I was in trouble for a week, but then I found a mendacious bastard who testified that, supposedly, these people were sucking millions out of charity while making comfortable living for themselves. The article said that Rothschilds and Morgans have given millions of dollars for making documentaries. But my friends did not use more than 10 percent for support of film makers, but spent the rest on purchasing and resale for a profit the pleasure yachts … And the mean list of their wrong doings continued. Cinematic public turned away from my former friends.
Then they, the KGB representative, demanded that I would return my “dirty camera” to my friends, which I did not do. And the “disclosure” of my fame appeared in the press immediately after my refusal to return camera. However, it was already late, and no one noticed this disclosure. But for this deal and for several more such masterpieces of my resourcefulness, I received, as I believed, well-deserved prizes at international film festivals and was accepted into the most sophisticated circles of filmmakers. The same rich people’s money paid for our gatherings, because we were always “short in cash,” and “full” credit cards in our eternal pursuit of the latest equipment. And as a result of the slandering of people who got me on my feet, I was sentenced to 10- years at Skrivnous, in still innocent first tier of purgatory.
Tata: – Did the glory change you, did you notice it? Mostly who make up the contingent of Skrivnous residents? Or what for they get there?
J.P. – Yes, fame changed me, and I was well aware of this. Sitting in the company at any table, I always sat down so as to be the center of attention. And in some incomprehensible way, I always managed to push away all the small stumps, demanded from people whom I needed to deal with my problems firstly and immediately. In fact, I forced them to help me as if putting mentally a sharp kitchen knife straight to their throats.
J.P. – The same thing colored my relationships with women. In the companies, I marked a girl as “mine,” and, somehow, I found myself sitting next to her, or she immediately appeared next to me. Without hesitating, I quickly moved toward the intended goal. And then I learned how to quickly get rid of her.
J.P. – I was not interested in them further, I did not remember and often did not ask for their names, addresses, or telephones, and never gave my phones. And when I came across a stubborn girl who demanded my contact info – for her I had “outdated” business cards with non-working phone numbers, and everything ended smoothly. And it also contributed greatly to my entry into Skrivnous.
Tata: – But did it happen the other way around that you came across beauties capable of captivating you and who were denying you?
J.P. – Of course it did, but I always had so little time that I did not worry about this kind of failure for no longer more than a few minutes, and immediately forgot about it.
Juris Podnieks Speaks About His Transition To Another World
Tata: – Now we have the year 2019. Therefore, 27 years ago you died on Midsummer Day, June 23, 1992. On that day, without suspecting anything bad, you went to relax with friends, maybe joking, “Let go fishing for some mermaids in Daugava waters!”
What thoughts and feelings flashed through your mind in the last moments of your life, when something fatal happened to scuba equipment or something else?
J.P. – Of course, I had plans for the future. World fame does not last long, and you need to prove again and again that you are a genius, as lovely film criticesses labeled me once, and media had disseminated it over the world. This is a terrible feeling when you suddenly realize that for some reason you have nothing to say. And it seemed to me that the heaven had deserted me. I was full of my false significance and I wanted to wash off all this in our Daugava. A lot of things went through my mind. I was tired of so-called friends. The premonition of death enlivens a strange angel of awareness. Suddenly you become completely indifferent to things that used to be important to you. I remembered that I had read about it somewhere — fame, all sorts of rewards and even love for children and care for their future fades.
J.P. – When I was down at the bottom of Daugava, suddenly some bulbs began to blink, some motors stopped to murmur, the lights went out, and total darkness and silence reigned. I understood that something had happened, but that this was the end, had not yet reached me. I began to look for the alarm wire, but it was not nearby. In the dark, soon I stopped looking for it as I realized that I had no air to breathe. I will skip retelling of the next minutes, when I grabbed for air only! We descended into the water, of course, in different scuba diving equipment, and there was no one to help me.
J.P. – I stopped fighting, and suddenly calmed down. Finally, I had nowhere to hurry. From the bottom of the river they lifted up my corpse. Meanwhile, down there, I freed myself out of the tight-fitting hydraulic suit with amazing easiness. I felt freedom that no words can express. I passed into a different hypostasis, into a different state of mind, and to my amazement I realized how small and how wrong, and how insignificant my glory was. But all my feats, on the contrary, suddenly sounded like voices of Jericho trumpet, they seemed to shout, “You lied, you took a wrong note.” I realized that there would not be a stricter critic of my works than myself. In my mind, the price of truth has increased of staggering hundred or two hundred times.
But where was I, what happened to me? What happened to my comrades, where is my wife? Who will tell her that tonight I will not come home!
— She has already been told. She cannot understand anything.
The voice was unfamiliar. But the presence of a human who spoke to me, told that I was not alone in this fog that surrounded me.
Of course, my friends returned, as they were supposed to return … without me! My wife survived me only a few months. She died in a car accident. She suffered before her death, I was with her to the end, but she saw me only in the astral plane, and she was very surprised how did I find her.
And then, immediately after the transition, I did not see the light, it was still foggy, as if before sunrise on earth. Here I met my guardian angel and egregore, or “friend” of glory, or the parasite birthed by emotions of my followers some place in the 4th dimension. I did not get yet how lucky I was to have such a small and weak reptile witnessing my fame. He quietly disappeared without giving me any worries. My cares began when I was told to appear at an emergency meeting of the Judges to resolve a certain issue. It was then that they announced me a ten-year sentence in Skrivnous.
Tata: – For what? For silence, or for something else? Cheating, betraying friends?
J.P. – You spelled it out for me?
Tata: – Did they show you the photos or videos of your friends’ reaction when they learned how that terrible article about their so-called possessiveness and greed was concocted?
There was no answer to this question.
J. P. — Time passed quickly. I am free, and I think what to do next. I am drawn to my collection of film cameras. Over the time I have accumulated many of them …
I would like to give away these cameras to the young filmmakers in my country who have never money, and will never have it, if the technology will be updated on monthly bases forever!
Now I know that content is more important than expensive technology, but do young people believe me? Who will believe us? It is time to round up this story. Thank you for listening to my confession.
Tatyana Elmanovich, medium and alternative healer, certified by James Van Praag’s School of Mystical Arts.