In the movie The
Interpreter (USA, United
Kingdom and France,
2005) by Sydney Pollack, the protagonist, Nicole Kidman, asks Sean Penn:
“Have you ever been to Africa?”.
And the FBI agent: “Many airports, no lions…”.
How many of us are in the same condition? I was, at
least, three times in the Tokyo airport,
even for nine hours consecutively, waiting for other connection flights,
but could I say that I was in Japan?
The same thing for many other cities in the world.
Actually, what is, indeed, an airport, in the
imaginary and in the realty of today’s life?
Here are two movies that let us reflect about this
In Steven Spielberg’s The
Terminal, USA 2004, Tom Hanks is a citizen of a small ex Soviet republic
who, once arrived at JFK, is informed that his country is without a
government and he is stateless in this mega-store that, probably, wants
to be, in the great American director’s intentions, a metaphor of the
melting pot of cultures, races and religions that cross hastily in every
corner of the whole world and try a possible way to total integration
(represented in Spielberg’s movie by the happy end of this story with
the love between the stateless man and the irresistible flight assistant
Some more reflections, and in a more complex context,
about the airport as an icon of contemporary life is offered us by,
instead, Jason Reitman in Up
in the Air, USA 2009, starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga.
Clooney is a corporate head-cutter who flies for over 270 days a year to
go and fire thousands of people. Unmoved, with a face to slap and with a
softly controlled voice, he fires in a moment thousands of people behind
whom there are thousands of families and as many stories of devotions
towards the same corporation for a very long time, unquestionable
professionalism, endless dramas…
But all this doesn’t interest our executioner that
every few minutes draws a black line on a list of names.
The subject also has a hobby, if we can say so. He
philosophizes and he is called everywhere to hold conferences about the
“empty rucksack”: go, always, around with an empty rucksack ready to
catch new opportunities and without dragging behind the ballast of the
past or of any kind of ties.
Everything appears to fit the “logic” of this
personage who, to remain in the topic, also has exclusively occasional
Then one day he meets a woman and…
I don’t desire to reveal the end, which is moreover
quite obvious, but I wish, only for a moment, to attract your attention
on a particular almost in the movie’s ending.
Some of the “freshly fired” by one of the seven men
in the world with a 10 millions flown miles card, answer to a
hypothetical interview and declare that in the tragedy in which they
fell down they would certainly have been overwhelmed if they did not
have a husband or a wife or a family by their side…
An apology of the family?
I don’t think so or not only or not so easily because
for Clooney the idea of the “empty rucksack” becomes firmer again.
Here the airport is a negative metaphor of the
concept of individuality in comparison with the concept of the clan, of
For us who believe in Active Astrology it is above
all a wonderful place which let our dreams come true or defend ourselves
better from head-cutters even if they are charming and seductive like