By Antonio Malara
I watched "Easy Rider" for the first time during the Taormina Film Festival in the 2004 edition. In the movie, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson give life to characters who have become iconic in a road movie that describes the other. side of the American Dream. Captain America's chopper, as well as the protagonist's outfit, feature the American flag in its design, which has always been a symbol of the new world. Watching a film on the big screen is a totally different experience where you actually immerse yourself in the scene together with the protagonists. And a road movie like "Easy Rider" makes this experience even more suggestive thanks to the scenarios shown in the film that emphasize the stories of the characters and at certain moments the images are also essential to describe what is not said. “Easy Rider” is a film about freedom and inequality, a film that highlights the prejudices of a middle class that judges people based on their appearance. At the same time it is a simple but full of energy movie; two choppers and a destination are enough to feel alive and free, far from consumerism and the concept of time. The film also explores the aspect of freedom given by drugs but basically the protagonists always try to be themselves and fight injustice.
But "Easy Rider" is not just a film with a visual impact, engaging and an expression of freedom, there is a phrase that is perhaps even more important than the images shown in the story. The slogan in the movie poster read "A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere". If I remember correctly in the theaters version this slogan was superimposed at the beginning of the film but I certainly remember that I read it there while watching the film in Taormina. This sentence is very significant and can be taken as a reference for any life goal in general. If in the film it was a provocation relating to the American dream and its capitalist society, in the life of each of us it can be interpreted as "the dream" we can have.
Personally, I dreamed of America (the real one) since I was a child, watching films and TV series from the 70s and 80s. What fascinated me were the big roads, the skyscrapers, the long and technologically more advanced cars than those of my places. It was the powerful country with great opportunities, the one that made ordinary people rich. I was able to really see America in the late nineties, I was still seventeen and it was a very difficult goal for my age. Unfortunately, even though I went back several times I never managed to settle there, probably on a subconscious level I didn't want to. Having been there for a longer period in adulthood, I was able to see the other side of the American dream, a variant of what the film shows. In short, if on the one hand America could change your life, it was a fact that American society worked to pay taxes and live in a polarized way. Today because of the bad of internet, it’s a bit like this everywhere, which is why I observe with more interest countries of Arab culture where it’s still possible to live as it was in southern Italy twenty years ago.
But what have I achieved from the point of view of metaphorical America? Well surely and without realizing it I have achieved so many goals that I have always dreamed of. Above all, I managed to visit places that for me were science fiction and I never thought I could visit. Obviously this has cost me effort and sacrifices doing a job that I don't like but it gives me the free time I want and above all it’s well paid. So from a professional point of view, I'm still looking for America even though I personally wouldn't want to do anything! As a theater teacher of mine once said; “as a young man I didn't want to do shit! If people asked me what I do for living, I would have answered; nothing, I live in Paris ". That statement always remains in my head and honestly there is a job that could lead to having such a life and that has always fascinated me; the work of the writer. My blog was born mainly for this reason, as a training field to be able to write more complex stories.
But another America is also that of the woman of life, the companion, the female figure that some recklessly summarize with the term "love". Recently, a self-described "sentimental" (and therefore pathetic) woman of over fifty years that I met in a dating app (read my post "Dating World" to learn more about the subject), asked me if I have ever been in love. I answered; yes, as a teenager! My theory is that the female beauty that can make me fall in love has a limited age ranging from 17 to 23 years old. In fact, at this stage there is aesthetic maturity, the human being of a female nature stops being a child and at the same time is not a woman yet. There is something in the look of girls of this age that highlights this thing I have described. To give an example, for me beauty and absolute perfection have always been Jane March in the movie "L’Amant". If one day I were to meet a person who from an aesthetic point of view could remain forever like her, at that point I could really think about getting married, loving and being faithful! This doesn’t mean that aesthetic beauty dies but simply changes, matures and personally cannot make me fall in love. In all this, even the passing of years, in other words "life" leads to being less predisposed to sentimentality in favor of physical need. Personally, I am finding this type of America in promiscuity as a demonstration that I cannot be predisposed towards a single person. At the same time I don't give up but obviously the more time passes the more that range I have described goes completely out of reach.
But "America" is above all a condition of youth and I learned this by living. During the course of our life, we also have many negative experiences that disappoint us but in the end we learn from the errors. This is because when we are young we see things differently, more magical and more beautiful because our imagination tends towards beauty. But then as we grow up we discover them from the real point of view and our capitalist society increases this aspect. The result of this is what we call "growing up", becoming an adult, which they call experience. In a sense, we give less importance to things that once seemed serious to us. It’s a bit like giving up "America" but in this way there are no shocks. I don't know if I'm in this phase, probably not and I understood this by taking a cue from another movie that I love very much. Better to say, even now I see myself as the same as a character I identified with more than ten years ago when I saw him in the film for the first time. This character will be the starting point for the next post and in a way will complement this one.
Probably "America" is not a goal but a youth dream, however this dream does not walk in a straight line but in a circle. Precisely for this reason it recurs from time to time in different forms; an unexpected job offer, the discovery of a talent we thought we didn't have or after meeting a twenty-year-old waitress who speaks three different languages.
Pictures: Maria Chiara Malara