The acclaimed film director spoke recently with Antonio Spadaro, S.J., for La Civiltà Cattolica about his experience over the last few months. Maybe you can relate:

Everything was simplified, and I felt a sense of relief. And it focused me on the essentials of my life. On my friends, and on the people I love, the people I need to take care of. On the blessings I’ve had — my children, and every moment with them, every hug and kiss and every goodbye…on my wife, and how lucky I feel to have found someone I was able to grow with and raise a child with… being able to do the work I love.

I remember that we talked about some of these same emotions and realizations when you interviewed me around the time of Silence.

That interview was really important to me. I’m very grateful. I remember those emotions and the things we said to each other.

But now I felt them with a greater urgency. Because here we were, suddenly living with the realization that the very air around us, the air that sustains us, could kill us. And for me and for my loved ones and my friends, the circumstances drew us closer together. They cut through all the formalities, all the euphemisms for “friendship” and “community” that have sprung up around us on social media and that often seem more like filters or even barriers to the real thing. And then, something was revealed, bestowed upon us. The old habitual questions — “How are you doing?” “Are you okay?” — became immediate and crucial. They became lifelines. We found that we really were all in this together—not just in the pandemic, but in existence, in life. We truly became one.

What have you learned from this time of pandemic that you would like to communicate to a youth who is opening up to the future right now?

And I think that for young people, right now, I would love to tell them how fortunate they are to be alive at such a clarifying moment. Many of us think that everything will just go on the way it always has, and of course that’s never really the case — everything is always changing, as this moment reminds us with such force. And it can inspire us to recognize our own ability to effect change for the better. That’s what’s happening right now with the mass protests all around the world — young people are fighting to make things better.

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Photo: by Siebbi, Creative Commons license, Wikipedia Commons