If you had the opportunity to meet someone meaningful to you, who would it be? Let’s say you get the one in a life time chance of meeting your idol, your guide, your inspiration, could you name this person? There may be interesting people you’d like to meet and you start looking for a way of meeting a special person… or maybe you just prefer to stay in your comfort zone and don’t want to risk a disappointment…
Let’s suppose you know of a guy who has a very old car, hasn’t got many days vacation, but has a great wish. He wants to meet the person who has inspired him to become a good teacher and to motivate the youth to follow their ideals. This is the story of an English teacher in South Spain living in the sixties who desperately wanted to talk to the one and only John, John Lennon. On his way he offers a ride to two young people, who could even be his pupils, and starts his journey from Central Spain to the South. It’s a funny, warm, original story to be seen in the movie “Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados”, from David Trueba.
Javier Cámara plays the teacher, Natalia de Molina the young woman and Francesc Colomer, the boy. Thanks to a very good friend of mine, I could watch the German premiere of this film during the Munich Film Festival.
Who would I like to meet? And especially what for? To talk about what? Would I have the guts to talk and ask questions or would I just stare at my idol? Good questions and no easy answers. Would I like to meet a writer? Maybe, but if I think of many of them, I see them when they are famous and a little bit arrogant. I was thinking about Oscar Wilde, Ernst Hemingway, Johann Goethe, Miguel de Cervantes or William Shakespeare… Maybe a woman would be more interesting and less imposing to me… Mmmm, the feminist who didn’t consider herself one, Simone de Beauvoir? Or may be a contemporary writer of crime novels like Elizabeth George? Or maybe the Lady of Crime Agatha Christie?
Thinking of more altruistic topics, would I maybe like to have met Mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi? Mmmm, I don’t know, and I couldn’t imagine what to say. Let’s try another field: politics. How about having met Indira Gandhi or Margaret Thatcher or even Hillary Clinton or the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel? Well, difficult to tell. Some male politicians, let’s see… Obama, Clinton (but not alone in his office ;-)) or some rather unpopular like Vladimir Putin? Mmmm, the name makes me think of fiction. How about meeting someone who only exists in fiction… Dracula or Mr. Darcy? Oh, and I forgot to mention the scientists par excellance, Albert Einstein, Madame Curie, or Dr. Koch? Mmm, I still don’t know.
Do you really have one public person that has inspired you that much? Apple fans wouldn’t doubt and would arrange a meeting with Steve Jobs whereas the opposite party would immediately say, nonsense, let’s talk to Bill Gates. In the financial area, you would maybe think of an interview with Warren Buffet or in Germany, with the founders of the successful chain Aldi, North and South…
We all have our preferences and some artistic persons would maybe chose a painter or a musician or orchestra director. However, I still find it very difficult to decide what I would like to ask to or talk about with that person.
Now let’s make it more difficult. Let’s suppose that you are given 10 minutes to talk to whomever you would like to, ignoring distances, time, countries and other physical impediments, who would you like to spend those 10 minutes with?… The chosen one would know the weight and importance they may have in your life. Would you decide based on love, your job, admiration, importance, curiosity?
What questions would you ask? I hope you’re not thinking of getting the autograph of a pop star… or the used socks of a guitar player… Yuk!
Sometimes we have exactly 10 minutes to say something nice, something meaningful to someone at our side, let it be a loved one, a colleague, a neighbor or someone we have just met. How often do we rather stay still and don’t say anything at all?
Thinking about this I remember another film I saw during the Film Festival in Munich, it is called ‘the Seagull’ and is inspired on the play by Anton Tchechov. The plot is transported to New England and it shows how a family interacts without really communicating. Many truths are kept hidden and things that had to be said are never mentioned. This leads to a knot in the relationships and a very conflicted familiar situation.
There was a first filmed version inspired on the play from 1968 directed by Sidney Lumet, but the critics weren’t that good. This new version was released in the US in Spring 2014 directed by Christian Camargo with an interesting cast. The film is also known as “Days and Nights” and was filmed in Connecticut showing New England of the 80’s.. The cast and crew lived all there and got to get the surrounding very well. Even the music producer, Claire van Kampen, lived there and managed to create an impressive musical setting for the picture integrating the physical atmosphere by the lake with the sounds of a warm cello.
Back to communication and talking in a family. There are families in which there is a continuous flow of words, meaningless, but continuous. How many long time couples have you observed that have long conversations about absurd themes like ‘the color of the stone that will be laying close to the entrance door’ Topics that may cause distress or pain are not addressed or only slightly touched, like a breeze…
Addressing and talking about distressing topics, mainly about feelings, is usually difficult and requires a lot of courage. Some people go through life dodging difficulties and running away from pain and trouble.
To be able to grow we need to bravely put on with difficulties and if they involve more the one, trying to talk and listening to all parties.
Does this sound very dogmatic? It may… But looking around, even at a level where world conflicts, like the Gaza Conflict and the problems between Ucrania and Russia, are threatening our peace, we should remember this…
Have a communicative time!