The father-son relationship represents the vertical side. So that is why love between the father and son never changes. Isn't it so in the history of human beings? Love between husband and wife has a nature of four sides since it's a connection of the horizontal side. Tha is why parents can never abandon their children and children never abandon parents. (147-275) credits
This is the aspired theory. In reality, we all know things work differently and many of us aren't that lucky. Starting from myself, there're lots of people who have estranged fathers and, for some of them, the lack of paternal figure is destructive for their emotional lives and leads to constant insecurity. Many take years before finally confronting their demons, others are destined to a lifetime estrangement. Like me, more probably. The least thing I want to do is wasting my life showing my parents I'm better off without them, because I AM better and I don't need to remind them.
Celebrity spotlight offers many examples of difficult relationships. It took Angelina Jolie a family of her own and lots of humanitarian actions to finally reunite with her estranged father, actor John Vuight. We all know how promiscuous and borderline her teen and early adult years were due to this. Michael Douglas waited until the imprisonmnet of his son Cameron for drugs dealing before admitting he failed as a father. Prison made this actor ralize it was time to patch things up. I wonder if he still stands for his son now that he was found guilty of drugs possession in jail and may face 20 extra years.
These two examples, with a happy and bad end respectively, show how a troubled relationship with fathers is potentially disastrous. Both father and son are guilty through the years, but the origin of all the danger comes from the paternal figure indeed. It's fathers who should know that it's through responsibilities and commitment that they bond. That having a son is just the beginning and that fatherhood has a lot more than just giving your name to a new life and providing with the basic necessities. Being a father means helping a child grow up to become a man from day one, with a special emphasis in teen years, when we can spoil our life completely if we aren't guided properly.
The father-son relationship, and the potential for dysfunction within it, is a theme that inspires many film makers. Italian Paolo Sorrentino's last movie, This must be the place, greatly explores the dephts that this lack spread into a former rocker's life. His resentment imprisoned him in both his mansion where he retired and lives disconnected from the wolrd and in his odd dressing up. When he receives the phone call that changes his life, annoucing that his father is dying, he embarks in a journey that is more than searching for his father's Nazi torturer. It's an investigation that will help him search his identity.
I love the way Sean Penn emphasizes Cheyenne's movements to accentuate his incongruence with the world. His only connection with reality is his interest in his stock options and his only concession to middle-age is his reading glasses. It's also nice the way his pragmatic wife balances all this in him.
Many blame that the characters aren't deep enough and too eccentric, and that everything is Cheyenne-centred. Well, Sorrentino always loved unsual people, to whom he watches with great humanity. Particularly, he is fascianted by old people, because he was raised by old parents, who had him late. To this I answer that these people are only there to balance the main character and make him discover parts of himself. It's like each character he meets on his way helps things fall into place like every missing puzzle.
Critics also said that when Cheyenne moves to America the film becomes derivative. We may have watched many on the road movies, but it surely doesn't annoy anyone to see those places again through Sorrentino's baroque eyes. The film's visual aspect is impressive, the key for silent movies like this, depending on landscape perspective, beautiful rock and roll soundtrack, excellent composition of scenes (thanks to the collaboration with cinematographer Luca Bigazzi) and superb acting.
Plus, his dialogues are never banal. That's because Paolo is a writer before being a director. He knows how to tell a great story. And when your mind is set up, all scenes flow perfectly. All makes sense here, even the lonely Indian who asks for a lift and gets out of the car and runs in the fields.
I'm not defending Paolo because of nationality pride or fan-love. No. It's just respect for someone who detaches from the rampant vulgarity and is audacious enough to venture in a difficult field, both in terms of plot and characters. It's happyness for an Italian who is recognized for his art and talent and not blamed for his connection with mafia and usual negligence for once. It's admiration for a man who admits to love the elders because he himself was raised by old parents. Finally, it's love for someone who put a lot of his personal life in a movie. Featuring old people doesn't pay in movies, let's face it.
As Sorrentino admitted, "With This Must Be the Place I wanted to use some autobiographical elements as well. And seek out a more essential approach to directing (...) I’m the son of older parents, they had me late. My observation pool, in the period I was growing up, were not my peer but my parents’ peers. Which is why I think I’ve always been outdated, and always fascinated by middle-aged men". credits
As soon as I saw this gorgeous movie, it enterd in my Top 5 Movies immediately, straight near Into the Wild. Both have biographical elements and Sean Penn in them. And it's not coincidence at all. Mr Penn is my favorite actor.
This must be the place still has to hit theaters in the US. Since many of my readers are Americans, I highly reccommend to watch it when it comes out. Please let a talented Italian tell you a great story, with a beautiful soundtrack and impressive cinematography. You won't regret the choice!