When I went to watch DALIDA two days ago, I wondered if the movie would make everything that I had read in French magazines and watched on French TV since her suicide tie in together.
I mean yes, her life was a series of failed love stories, followed by an abrupt encounter with death. We all know the most interesting facts about the highs and lows of her life, the men she loved and her everlasting legacy.
I had little expectations, to be honest. As little as the degree of crispness that popcorn has to offer in that ‘vintage’ movie theater where DALIDA was showing.
Well, being a philosophy aficionado, I was pleasantly surprised to see that DALIDA the movie was anything but a mere biopic; it’s a documentary, an accurate representation of human condition.
We all know that DALIDA’s life possessed the concept of love just like her suicide possessed the concept of solitude. The movie is an enthralling waltz dance where the dancers are no other than love and death. Eros and Thanatos intertwined.
Damn you philosophy books
When DALIDA was discussing Heidegger and his ‘Being toward Death’ concept with her lover at the very beginning of the movie, the first thought that came to my mind was “damn you philosophy books”. Had I read Barbara Cartland and Danielle Steel as I was growing a mind, I would have been somewhere else today. Probably married to a conventional guy who doesn’t question anything either, raising 4 conventional kids, waiting for summer vacation and getting all excited about the first snowfall, instead of tripping on the meaning of life and lack of while sipping my morning coffee, and tossing and turning in my bed at night trying to wash away the sort of thoughts that keep you up at night.
Since I was a teenager, I had a philosophical disposition; this concept of ‘Being toward Death’ has been the background canvas of my humble existence. Like Marguerite Duras says “Very early in my life it was already too late. At eighteen it was already too late. I aged. This aging was brutal.” (Except that to me it was at 13, even more brutal).
Though extremely nebulous, what one can totally grasp from this Heidegger concept is quite easy to understand: The fact of being alive is the fact of going towards death. It’s hopeless. It’s an oxymoron. It’s absurd.
And nevertheless, I saw a ray of hope when DALIDA – with all her candor, said to her lover Luigi – a big Heidegger fan: “I don’t agree with Heidegger. To me it’s not the ‘Being toward Death’; it’s the ‘Being toward Love’.
I do believe in that too; I am a firm believer in the fact that it is only love that transcends death. It’s Viktor Frankl’s meaning of life. And that’s what the movie also tries to say.
This is why, although filled with death, the movie is not macabre; it’s in no way a story about despair. Quite the opposite, actually. Yes, it does remind us of our lonely fate and proved Heidegger right, because yes, no matter how popular we are, no matter how many friends we have and no matter how exciting and bustling with fun and activities our life is, at the end, at the very very end, we are all alone. “On n’a jamais fait un cercueil à deux places » (No one ever made a coffin for two) sings DALIDA.
Go watch it. And don’t buy crisps or popcorn. You don’t want any outside noise to come between you and the movie.
And although Dalida dreaded Sundays, I wish you a peaceful end – or beginning of the week.