Desire makes us alive

I watched Youth, a movie by Paolo Sorrentino. I chose it because of its cast (Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano) and because the trailer looked like something I’d want to see. There is a naked woman in there, too!

Well, you should see it, too. It’s like a choreography of small scenes, loosely joined, dripping implicit wisdom about life, beauty —physical, musical, natural, architectural, etc.—, love, getting old and coming to accept it, death, principles and when to forget them.

Here’s what Paul Dano’s character, a young American actor who can’t come to terms with the idea that the role most people know him for is one he doesn’t quite like, has to say after staying in the Swiss spa hotel:

I’ve been studying all the hotel guests for weeks now. […] And I’ve finally come to a conclusion… I have to choose. I have to choose what is really worth telling, horror or desire. And I choose desire. You, each one of you, you opened my eyes. You have made me see that I should not be wasting my time on the senselessness of horror. […] I wanna tell about your desire, my desire. So pure, so impossible, so immoral, it doesn’t matter; because that’s what makes us alive.

I remember being there for older people I knew, and this is so right. For some of them, their eyes told you about their non-desire, about the only thing that was left: they wanted to leave. For others, though, there was only sadness and a hint of fear. For them I was so sad, because they hadn’t had their fill of life.

Somehow, in a crazy shortcut, I think of Mike Monteiro’s One person’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end and how you have to choose. You have to choose between hatred, fear, tolerating all of this, or walking away and deciding to share beautiful things, as perhaps an indirect way to show your desire for life.

Call me naive, I don’t care. I prefer my naiveté to cynicism.

I’m still full of desire. Desires, even. This makes me alive.


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