While I saw my changed hometown in the darkness through my car windshield, I concluded that there is no way we can convey the essence of darkness in a movie. Realising this, I was strangely pleased. Whether we have electricity or not, we can still live. I recalled Aunt Jane’s story - she told me that her father, a public officer named Sampan (which means ‘ally’ in English), had to travel with his group in a Land Rover through the darkness in those days (perhaps on a road like the one I’m driving on now). The group went to various villages, temples and schools to show 16mm films. It was the duty of Mr. Sampan and his friends to show these films in order to ‘civilise’ these villages.
He showed both ordinary films and the government’s short films, patriotic films with morale-boosting songs. This is one phenomenon that never fades from Thai society. I believe that even in the next hundred years, we will still need these kinds of things to boost our morale and remind us of our nation.
The same friend told me about an English poet named John Milton and his work ‘Paradise Lost’, written more than 300 years ago. The poet describes the darkness in Satan’s kingdom as ‘darkness visible‘. Many language critics don’t understand this expression. How can we see the darkness? But my friend explained that these critics forget that Milton was blind when he wrote his epic poem. Milton saw only darkness; colour and light existed only in his memory. Milton saw darkness as we see light and color. I believe that if Milton were here, everyone would be able to understand him, and there would be no need for lengthy explanations regarding visibility.