From “Story No. 6”
It’s not easy to find her.
You’ll have to endure a great number of miserable, dusty basements and private, antiseptic vaults where no rot can reach. You’ll have to handle- and I mean handle, for these collectors and archivists are of the most reticent, stuttering, anxious breed-men and women whose bloodless hands have permanently taken on the dry color of film preservatives. Your eyesight will be a friend and a traitor. It’s good if you don’t need too much sleep; she rewards vigilance. Sort through enough film-the old kind, the kind that comes on reels, that, like an exotic, perforated desert plant, hates air and moisture and the wrong sort of light-and you might see her hair disappearing behind a camphor tree in The Tale of Chibisuke the Midget, a bare foot glimmering like a lantern behind a screen in The Spell of the Sand Painting Part Two. Perhaps her face, whole and round and silver and black, in the palace scenes of The Water Magician. Thousands, if not millions, of people have seen her and not known her for what she is-only another exquisite, ancient face in the exquisite, ancient silent films, flickering, monochrome, the color of a lost world.
There is a Kami hiding in those old movies. Which is to say, a god.