Il bidone

Friday, 08 March, Year 11 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Il Bidonei is one of the best films ever made, nothing less than that. In its field of interest it is doubtlessly the best ; as it happens that field is of little consequence even though perhaps it sometimes commands a little more (but not so much more) attention than it warrants, especially among the new.

Il Bidone tells the tragic story of the con man. The problem with being a swindler, you have to realise (as sooner or later you will, if you give the matter any consideration at all), is that deceit is not a free option one writes himself. You don't get to choose, freestanding and independently, whether to tell the truth or to lie, just like that. It's not even that you "have to" at the same time also be the sort of person that lies or tells the truth. You don't enter in it at all : if you choose to tell the truth in any whatever instance you perceive this wholly hallucinated choice before you, you therefore told the truth, but therefore just as much were he that told the truth. There's no cleaving of these, if your room is well lit there's also light in your room, you can't have a well lit room with no light in it. See ?

The swindler, the con-man, Il Bidone... he gains something for his trouble. A professional perk, or call it racial ability if you prefer : he is now immune to the civillian, to the man in the street, to the random nobody without a clue. The woman can no longer hold him down with her common, everyday lures, sufficient entrapment for so many others. The workshop or the orchard, the field or the forest hold no spell to him, speak not to him, draw him not one whit. Nothing anywhere can lay any claim to him, he's, after a fashion, free. And they pay him rent, all these things, a day's work readily lifted off a poor, old man working a gas pump. A year's toil, offered willingly by the old man, saving to give his crippled daughter a capital, so she may eat after he dies.

The swindler also loses something in exchange. For all that grandiose immunity to the world, the con-man pays, perhaps dearly : he is now vulnerable, to other con-men. It'd be poetic to say "to himself", but not particularly truthful. There's no "himself" left, you see. Existence is predicated on activity, which is to say interacting with the world. The only thing properly called "existence" would be the smoke that raises when one's toil meets the resistence of the medium. If the world's lost all capacity to hold one down, if there's no friction left anywhere... how's one to exist ? In what sense would you say he exists, and how close to madness is this existence ?

So no, it's not that the con-man ends up swindling himself. It's rather that in the end, there's nothing left. Not in any meaningful sense, at any rate. And so it goes.

This thing truly should be the official film of the Republic.

  1. 1955, by Federico Fellini, with Giulietta Masina, Broderick Crawford, Il Matto (Richard Basehart). []
Category: Trilematograf
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2 Responses

  1. Ha, one of the very few films I actually like and I can't find fault with the description either.

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    Mircea Popescu 
    Friday, 8 March 2019


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