‘Tabacaria’, is a study in the ‘construction of contraries’. It is based on the premise that, when weighed on a universal scale, opposites are in fact indistinguishable. Their differences become irrelevant. As someone who realizes his insignificance in the grand design, the poet declares he knows nothing. It is the paradox of the ignorant man realizing irrelevence, that gives this poem the metaphysical muscle to compare man with the other inanimate objects sharing the world with him. ‘Tabacaria’ was written by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa under the heteronym Alvaro de Campos. In a poem that is maniac-depressive and pessimist, he tucks away some valuable advice that the world is only for those who do things and not for those who dream they can, even though they may be right.
‘Reflections’ is an experimental film by director Helder Rock. In this short five and a half minuter, Rock brings alive the immortal lines of the poem Tabacaria, giving his own visual interpretations to the ideas of Alvaro de Campos (Fernando Pessoa). Helder juxtaposes his visuals to create a psychedelic environment that sets the tone for the metaphysical work of ‘Tabacaria’ to play itself out on its new visual canvas. Relying on basic visual effects, ‘Reflections’ gives life the essence of the poem in all its splendor. It is a novel attempt at finding a present day visual interpretation of the early 20th century work, and in the process reiterating the core message about the insignificance of time in an individual’s existence. The poem talks just as eloquently with its 21st Century visuals, as it did with words, when it was penned a hundred of years ago.
The insignificance of man’s existence in this world has perpetually locked horns with his narcissism. The absurdity of his pride at decoding and then declaring his insignificance together with his audacity to compare himself with other natural elements around him is what man cannot cure himself of.