Saturday, June 19, 2010
So why should I long for anything more?
Over the course of the last week I've seen three movies with my wife (two in theaters and one on DVD). Typically for me, I may see a film once a month at the most, so this is really stretching it...
The first was a little Italian art-film "Mid-August Lunch" about a middle-aged Roman man being stuck on a holiday at home taking care of his elderly mother, and everyone else's mother for that matter.
Not something you'd think would be worthy of attention, but it really is quite good, if only for the Italian scenery, Italian food, and Italian language. The expressions, the gestures, the tastes and smells, the relationships and family ties - they keep swimming through my thoughts as I relive memories and emotions and feelings that will never die.
The second was "The Red Violin", a story of a 17th century violin and the mystical journey it takes through the centuries, and the lives it touches along the way, from its creation to its final destination on the auction block. It was filmed in Cremona, Italy, a small, peaceful place in this world that will always be dear to my heart. I recognized they alleys and piazze and streetscapes as if they were my home, as they once were.
Memories of riding my bike over those cobblestone paths and courtyards. As I watched it, I kept wondering what my life would be like if I were still living there. Would it be different? Would I be different? Or would it be very much the same as it is here.
The third was "Letters to Juliet", a sappy and very predictable chick-flick romantic comedy, with the lovely and elegant Vanessa Redgrave (who by the way has aged gracefully, and her eyes and smile are pure magic). Filmed mainly in eternally romantic Verona and architecturally perfect Siena, two cities I know intimately, the story of "true love" never dying and the possibility of returning to find it again decades later. It isn't great cinema, in fact it's quite silly, but the beauty and romance I have with Italy genuinely comes through with loving charm and grace. And Christopher Egan is some dang good-looking eye-candy to go with the rest of the sweet visual package.
As I discussed this trio of films with my wife, we were drawn to all three movies because of our never-ending love affair with Italy and all things Italian. After such visual majesty and heart-tugging affection, we can't help but romantically linger on the idea of returning to Italy, of living there full-time, not just visiting on occasion, and wild thoughts pop into my head... thoughts of finding "true love" again, thoughts of the "what if" type scenarios recycle, renewing my longing for something there that I can't find here. Is it because I feel more real and natural and authentic there? Is it because I lose my inhibitions and become the "real me" there? Is it because I found my first "true love" there? Is HE still there waiting and longing for me after all these years? And can it be rekindled - even the "forbidden" love I secretly long for?
And then I slap myself and snap out of the romantic visual tonic I've been drinking, and come back to reality and realize I already have my "true love". She's right here beside me. I found her through our common entrancing love of Italy, and she is still here loving Italy with me, and still loving me through the years and trials and blessings of nearly three decades. We remain best friends and our passion and intoxicating love for Italy continues to imprison our minds and bind our spirits together.
So why should I long for anything more, no?