Notebook

The Aroma Gone

About halfway through Nikita Mikhalov and Rustam Ibragimbekov’s film Burnt by the Sun (Утомлённые солнцем), an incidental character says:

Things aren’t so bad nowadays, but it’s the aroma, the taste of life, that has vanished. For good.

The statement is belied by the setting, which bursts with life, affection, and sensual warmth. The trouble is: in one participant, life has perished within, frozen by the cold hand of totalitarian power. The outward show of vitality is but a choreographed death-rattle of the soul. Gradually, the influence spreads. To refer to capture in an icy spider’s web as ‘sunburn’ is supreme irony.