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Max von Sydow,
Si jeunesse savait, si agesse pouvait ... (If Youth only knew, if Age only could)
The story tells of a respected journalist who on the eve of his 90th birthday decides to award himself with a final crazy night of love - with a teenage virgin! His Madame of note, Rosa, who had not heard from him - whom she calls El Sabio, her Wise Old One - for 20 years, agrees to provide such a rarity for an additional fee of a pitiable couple of pesos.
So the arrangement is made, but when El Sabio is left in the maiden's bedroom, where naked, with gaudily painted face she is sleeping under a herbal sedative, he is touched by her appearance and vulnerability. His heart is moved by the situation, and other than to touch her hair and to sing a little song to her sleeping form, he does not attempt anything physical with her. He leaves some money on the pillow and takes his departure.
He informs Rosa of what passed, who asks if he wants his money back; no, he is not that stingy, but he asks to have another assignation with the girl, whom he calls Delgadina. This is arranged by Rosa, but the outcome is as before - she sleeps through his visit, he sings to her. And that is the core of the story - he realises that, for the first time in his long life he is in love. What follows I will not reveal, so as not to spoil the story for you; but I assure you that it is sweet, touching and beautifully told.
A feature of the telling of this story is the use of time-shift - we flicker from present to incidents vital, trivial, funny or sad at various times in the past, mostly memories of El Sabio's mother and of his interactions with the whores who serviced him and the fellow clients whom he recalls for one reason and another. It is a cleverly made pastiche that builds up into a richly coloured image of this man and of his long life without love, made almost tragically bitter-sweet by his realisation of what he has missed at this late hour of his life.
El Sabio expresses this in the line: 'Sex is the consolation for those that have not yet found love.'
For what it is worth, I heartily recommend this film - and I leave you to find out what happens in El Sabio's love affair for yourself. You will thank me for it!
My English subtitles for this are available at allsubs.org - enjoy!
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