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Enjoy the moment

February 14, 2011

Our Roman ancestors might have called the idea carpe diem, or seize the day. But in the contemporary Italian film Days and Clouds, or Giorni e Nuvole in Italian (2007), Michele, the traumatized out-of-work husband, tells his wife Elsa, who’s just gotten her Ph.D. in art restoration, as they lie beneath a 15th century masterpiece painting which she has identified, “Enjoy this moment. You deserve it.”

Days and Clouds

Antonio Albanese and Margherita Buy contemplating great art, and their future, at the end of Days and Clouds.

As the climax of this fine film by Silvio Soldini, this scene gathers up, compresses, caresses all the joy and suffering this couple has gone through. And the sentence or sentiment acts here as so human a motto that the viewer can hardly help but weep.

Ah, we say, in lachrymose agreement, that could be me — unemployed, suffering; discovering and triumphing; lying back in angst and languor. Now what? Where do we go from here? What do we do? With our marriage? Our art? Our finances?

There’s no easy release in this film, no Terminator denouement. No easy triumphing over hordes of horrible enemies. It’s just life, beautiful, tormented, tragic, finite that we experience here.

Highly recommended. Enjoy with a good Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. And penne pasta with Italian sausage. (For more about the film, go to the Internet Movie Database.)

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From → movies, pathos

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