Monday, January 23, 2012

The Italian movie 'The Golden Door', by Emanuele Crialese, tells the story of Sicilian peasants leaving their homeland for America, at the beginning of the 20th century. It's very beautiful - I highly recommend.

At the beginning of the film there is a scene which particularly moved me: the three main characters are preparing their crossing. As shepherds they have always lived bare foot, wearing their simple mountain clothes. Knowing that they are about to leave for the New World, a man in the village takes them to a room containing wooden chests. Inside are leather shoes and sunday clothes, which have been carefully preserved after their owners passed away. The man proceeds to distribute a pair of shoes and proper garments to each man, so they can start their journey with adequate attire.

There was something very touching about seeing people put so much value into these items, because they were rare and costly. Seen from the point of view of a middle-class consumer of today, such care is surreal. Transmitting a pair of shoes. Keeping it for the next generation. Owning only one pair, and keeping them for Sundays.

How precious must the world's production seem, when seen through those eyes. When there is rarity, objects that are well done, materials that last, and few things to look at. This scene told a humbling story of respect for things, and at the same time of respect for people - I was imagining the shoemaker, the tailor who had made these in the first place, of how their work was being honored by this care.

Wishing there was more of that. Yeah that post was totally artisan-crafty-nostalgico.