8 June 2020 | paopinardos
The tragedy of mid-age infatuation
Casanova, "the most powerful man in the world," the adorable phallus, in his mid-years, infatuated with a young woman half his age who doesn't give him enough attention. Isn't this the classical tragedy during all human existence, say from the Bible's King David to the numbers of fifty-year-old divorces nowadays? The sexual power young women have, even the ugliest or less talented one, drives crazy so many men and makes them put in risk their reputation, money, even their own life. Casanova here insists it is more than mere infatuation, and he is correct, his situation is far more complicated than that. What is the truth of his desire then? Is it about some power this particular woman intrinsically has? The movie rightly shows her ambiguously; she is attractive, yes, but also vulgar and manipulative. Therefore, is it something unsatisfying that he sees in himself? Maybe yes. Casanova is a libertine who has built a reputation as a womanizer; he has money, social influences, ex-lovers are fond of him. However, we see him here precisely on the verge of self-humiliation and degradation, risking losing everything just for the sake of receiving care and attention from a love that is impossible only for him.
Casanova, "the most powerful man in the world," is the only one who cannot have this woman. This puzzle may be the punishment he unconsciously inflicts on himself, following the legend of Don Giovanni, the quest for moral redemption through self-inflicted spiritual and sexual pain. This movie is a masterpiece, for it shows the moment of realization that all human beings have, at some point, seeing the finitude of their lives. The film is also profoundly humanistic. It shows how and why power relations are complicated and bi-directional, far from what the current MeToo wave of childish self-victimization has popularized in the Anglo-American culture. Script and direction are precise and dynamic here, and the photography is evocative and technically perfect. Actors Lindon and Martin deliver enjoyable parts; they succeed at making this power game vivid and tragic.