When Paul presented me with an opportunity to write a foreword for this wonderful venture, titled Postcards to Alphaville, I was both delighted and stumped. Delighted because it comes across as a direct confession of cinephilia, of losing yourself in a parallel world full of people you never imagined you'll meet and of certain universality being achieved through art. But I was also puzzled by the proposition.
What do we mean by a "character"? Surely, there is no writ that a character has to be a person of flesh and blood in order to be recognized as one. The childlike orb in The Red Balloon (1956) is a character, the cinema hall in Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003) is a character and HAL of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a character. So are the landscapes of James Benning, the mansions of Orson Welles and the seasons of Eric Rohmer. Going through these sketches, done by some exceptionally talented artists, reminded me why at all we love some characters, hate some others and feel totally indifferent to a few. Thanks partly to our anthropomorphizing tendency, we integrate our real life experiences with the one that a film offers and, in essence, "create" the characters to as much an extent as the filmmaker does.
These splendid sketches not only embody the spirit of the characters being represented but also illustrate what they mean to the person who has drawn them. These are postcards that will never be replied to. But the important thing is that they are written at all.
Srikanth Srinivasan, The Seventh Art