The Legend of 1900
written by Giuseppe Tornatore, from a monologue by Alessandro Baricco
Nineteen Hundred: All that city. You just couldn't see the end to it. The end? Please? You please just show me where it ends? It was all very fine on that gangway. And I was grand too, in my overcoat. I cut quite a figure. And I was getting off. Guaranteed. There was no problem. It wasn't what I saw that stopped me, Max. It was what I didn't see. You understand that? What I didn't see. In all that sprawling city there was everything except an end. There was no end. What I did not see was where the whole thing came to an end. The end of the world...
Take a piano. The keys begin, the keys end. You know there are eighty-eight of them, nobody can tell you any different. They are not infinite. You are infinite. And on these keys the music that you can make is infinite. I like that. That I can live by.
You get me up on that gangway and you're rolling out in front of me a keyboard of millions of keys, millions and billions of keys that never end, and that's the truth, Max. That they never end. That keyboard is infinite. And if that keyboard is infinite, then on that keyboard there is no music you can play. You're sitting on the wrong bench. That's God's piano.
Christ! Did, did you see the streets? Just the streets… There were thousands of them! And how do you do it down there? How do you choose just one? One woman, one house, one piece of land to call your own, one landscape to look at, one way to die...
All that world is weighing down on me, you don't even know where it comes to an end, and aren't you ever just scared of breaking apart at the thought of it? The enormity of living it?
I was born on this ship, and the world passed me by, but two thousand people at a time. And there were wishes here, but never more than fit between prow and stern. You played out your happiness, but on a piano that was not infinite. I learned to live that way.
Land? Land is a ship too big for me. It's a woman too beautiful; it's a voyage too long, a perfume too strong. It's a music I don't know how to make. I could never get off this ship. At best, I can step off my life. After all, I don't exist for anyone. You're an exception, Max, you're the only one who knows I'm here. You're a minority, and you better get used to it. Forgive me, my friend, but I'm not getting off.
Kudos and much thanks go to Xesca for this monologue, it is very much appreciated.
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