I never fully understood my parents’ passion for singers “of their times”, but I remember with pleasure that my first concert was, with them, that of Platters or, better, a part of them since the group officially disbanded in 1970. Probably the name Platters doesn’t say much to some, but I’m pretty sure that almost everyone knows the song “Only you“And that, reading the title, they are humming” only you- u- u – u …. “
Of that summer evening – in which, contrary to our family habits, mom and dad loaded me into the car to drive tens of kilometers and sit down to listen to the music played by the American group – I clearly remember feeling of amazement and fun in seeing my parents singing happily at the top of their lungs as if they were 18; and it is one of the most beautiful and tender memories I have of them; somehow in that instant I was their present and their future, but I felt I had peeked into their past as well. Although certainly not a contemporary singer to me, I still loved and appreciated Elvis Presley since I was little. His chronological age put him next to my parents’ generation, but somehow I have always been fascinated by the power of his music that I perceived as revolutionary.
For this reason, as soon as the opportunity presented itself to do so, I grabbed the ball and went to see, together with Marco, Elvis, the film by Baz Luhrmann starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks. Immediately clear the field of any doubts, it is an incredibly beautiful and masterfully acted film where everything; scenes, costumes, sound, photography and every other small wheel of the machine, helps to create an enchantment, do not miss it).
In addition to the pleasure of enjoying a night out alone with my son, I was curious to understand if even a sixteen year old today he would have perceived Elvis and his music as I did as a teenager. Once in the room, Marco’s and mine’s emotion for the father-son evening that we had organized was palpable. For the first time we went to the cinema alone he and I to see a film “grown-up”, a sort of rite of passage.
Marco, who is precise in his soul, before sitting down to see the film he wanted to document himself, he had read who Elvis was, why he was so loved and everything that revolved around him, including conspiracy theories who give him for never dead and, in reality, sipping fruit cocktails in some bar in Hawaii at a crowded table where Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and who knows how many other myths that we do not know to admit have also left the earthly life. The lights go out, the film begins and we find ourselves catapulted between the 40s and 50s with a very young Elvis who becomes famous; but Luhrmann’s skill is to tell the story from another perspective, that of the controversial, controversial and questionable manager of Elvis, Colonel Tom Parker. We see a fragile boy with a dream and a passion, a complicated family, but united as there are many, a talent, however, like few. It turns out and it is clear what was the revolutionary strength of that white who sang like a black, of the undermining power of an apparently simple sway or of dressing in bright colors, of how dangerous Elvis appeared in the eyes of a system. Marco and I follow the film kidnapped.
As was the case with the thousand thousand cartoon films that he and Giovanni showed me, he does not allow me to get up from my chair until the last closing title scrolls. We go out and, unusual enough, he absolutely wants a picture of the movie billboard, he wants a memento of that day. And I am happy, and curious.
Marco, what do you say, did you like it? I ask. Yes, Dad, even if his being a revolutionary after a while seems almost to be put aside. What governs the film is the relationship he has with the colonel; he wants to do one thing – the colonel won’t let him do it. It’s a toxic relationship, the control a manipulator had over the will of a boy who flaunted confidence, but was actually weaker than he wanted to appear. Elvis had a troubled life filled with difficult crossroads. I think about his words, how true they are, how much he has hit the mark. As much as Elvis’ music, precisely because it was born from that situation, can still speak today to a 16-year-old boy.
Do you know how the Platters concert night ended? My parents and I found trampolines and jumped on them for hours; at that time my parents and I were the same age. Do you know how my and Marco’s evening at the cinema ended? We stopped at a fast food restaurant, he taught me to order from the totem pole at the entrance, we sat at a table and chatted a lot, even betting on the Oscars that he would win the film; at that time my son and I were the same age. Power of good music. Of the Platters, of Elvis or anyone else.