Ciro Discepolo | English corner | The Airport In Our Contemporary Life


The Airport In Our Contemporary Life
by Ciro Discepolo

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 topic.


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 Catherine Zeta-Jones).



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 sexual meetings.

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 the family.


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 George Clooney.