Dear readers and fellow bloggers:
Good morning. You are looking at a picture taken today of some of the countless posters that adorn the apartment that we are sharing with our son Gian Luca. When he moved in, my son plastered all the walls, except for the sleeping and hygiene quarters (verboten) This poster of “Les Quatre Cent Coups” takes pride of place because it not only is one of our favorite movies but the epic story of Antoine Doinel, its main character, inspired the script and the photography of his award-winning film “Lonely is the night.”
In his 1959 directorial debut, French film-maker Francois Truffaut won the Cannes Palme D’Or with his story of a misunderstood youngster from Paris that runs away from his family to discover the world. I saw the film with my father Mario in La Plata when I was studying Medicine; we both liked it very much but never mentioned it to Gian Luca. A few years ago, I found him watching this movie, lounging comfortably in a sofa.
-“Hey, I love this film,” I said to him. “Why are you watching it?’
-“Because the scenes in his school gives me an idea of how tough it must have been for you to go through the French educational system, Daddy, ” he shot back.
Welling up, I said: “yes, it was cruel like that. When the teacher showed up in the early morning and ordered us to take out pen and paper because there was a dictation, we all shivered like leaves in the middle of the wintertime.” We hugged each other intensely.
Two years ago my son chose Miles, one of his classmates at Miami Beach Senior High School, to star in his film; we knew that he was having a checkered situation at home. Once the filming had started, my son asked me if Miles could bunk with us for some time. I enthusiastically agreed and we gladly shared our apartment in Miami Beach. For the following weeks, we had one of the most extraordinary moments of our bonding. Giani, Miles and the rest of the crew filmed inside that apartment and went out on location, sometimes at incredibly odd hours to have the street set for themselves.
My humble task was, besides supporting my son financially and spiritually, to provide food and beverages for the whole crew, sometimes even happily cooking for them. We got little rest but we enjoyed together their discussion about script, scenes, locations. I believe I got magically hooked on the idea of participating in movie-making right there.
Miles is a gifted yet rebellious guy who just needed some space to develop his potential and we were willing to extend a helping hand to him in times of need. In the end he rightfully made all of us proud.
Antoine Doinel had also to get away from a stultifying situation to discover the world. In the last scene, Truffaut showed his feet finally touching the sea in a Normandy beach. It is a vivid metaphor for his long, convoluted journey into freedom and adulthood.
Gian Luca’s film opens with the sad image of a young black man sitting on a shop window’ s ledge and bowing his head, the image of lonely despair in the midst of the worldly indifference. Like Antoine before him, he will go through a spiritual redemption and in the end, he will come through as a man. The heading before the first scene says:
“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god” Aristotle