Once, quite a long time ago, maybe when I was in seventh grade or perhaps earlier than that, I had a dream that I was standing in front of someone I knew, and that person was holding a gun pointed at me. I knew that a shot would be fired in a moment, and that would be the end. I was overcome by a feeling of peace mixed with deep sorrow. The scene was accompanied by sound – a rather quiet one, long, and mournful. And then the gun went off, the bullet hit me in the head and I died. I did not wake up; the dream continued, and I was dead in it. In the dream, I knew that this was the end, and that this is how it would really look like.

Some time later, I think that it could’ve been on that very same day after the night I had the dream, one of my classmates at school was wondering out loud what it was like to die. That it was interesting that nobody knows and would never find out. Rather, everyone would find out but they would never tell anyone, someone countered. I then said, to the sudden interest of everyone, that I knew. I dreamed about it, I added after a while, and the interest fled. That classmate, I saw it coming clearly, was about to strike a sneering tone, but something stopped him. He looked at me for a moment, but said nothing. It then dawned on me that he was the one holding the gun in my dream.

Alojs goes beyond the narrative continuity. His story, or rather he himself, is made of snatches: snatches of his own pathetic story and of a wider story, equally pathetic. Snatches of memories of events, of hope for events, and of grief over what has happened and what has not happened. The story of Alojs is not particularly important, no great lesson can be learnt from it. There is no Alojs and, in fact, it is as if he never existed. One can feel sorry for the battered Alojs, but it is not so much Alojs himself as the gaping hole he has left behind that triggers the deep sympathy.

I was afraid I would be stuck for longer at the start of the second half, but I wasn't. After a short introduction, based on similar material to the beginning of the whole, but in a completely different setting, the conversation between Alojs and Agnes has already begun. Nobody talking to nobody.

This Friday, The Mask will be premiered in Vienna. By the way, a good documentary: Jim and Andy, about Jim Carrey stepping into the role of Andy Kaufman in Milos Forman’s film, Man on the Moon. Authenticity peeking out from behind the multiplied clown mask. Also, actually, quite on the topic of the snatches of identities.

(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)