The love that fits in a PowerPoint | Opinion


Almost at the end of Under the weight of the law, the film by Jim Jarmusch that narrates the adventures of three unfortunate escapees from a Louisiana prison, we witness the love affair between the character of Roberto, played by Roberto Benigni, and that of Nicoletta, played by Nicoletta Braschi. In a scene of rare beauty, Roberto and Nicoletta, who met the day before and have just gotten out of bed, dance in their pajamas, cheek to cheek, sometimes touching lips, messing up their hair, or looking at each other as if they knew each other from all over the world. life, leaning on each other, as if they were two sleepwalkers unable to separate themselves, while it plays on the record player It’s raining by Irma Thomas. The other two protagonists of the film, Jack and Zack – John Lurie and Tom Waits – observe the newly lovers with a mixture of mockery and healthy envy, which is how emerging couples are usually looked at.

This scene, one of my favorites in cinema for its ability to capture love from the simplicity of the encounter, the spontaneity of the gestures, came to mind while I was reading a report a few weeks ago by the french magazine Society about a trend on TikTok that consists of publishing a love summary of the year using graphs and statistics in a kind of PowerPoint. He hashtag #Datingwrapped has accumulated more than 100 million views and is clearly the antithesis of slow of Roberto and Nicoletta: a cold succession of slides in which data appear such as the number of dates, the proportion of encounters that gave rise to more or less lasting relationships, the platforms used to meet each other, the places where the dates occurred, the countries of origin of the potential lovers , among others.

Some are funny, like that of that woman whose love year is summed up in “a chlamydia infection and self-esteem problems,” after 13 encounters, each one more disastrous, or that of that other girl who, thanks to the data obtained over 20 dating has objectified “a clear weakness for subnormal guys with ridiculous names.” I also found the one about a grandmother funny influencer 93-year-old man who managed to flirt at a funeral and who experienced the ghosting in its most authentic version after death premature of one of his flirts. Others left me cold, like that woman who made a graph of everything her flirts gave her (trips, nights in luxury hotels, jewelry, etc.), or that man who presents himself as the unluckiest bachelor in the world after 69 meetings and having spent an average of $80 on each of his first dates, that is, a total of $5,520 to end the year just as single and with less purchasing power.

Even though I am aware that in capitalist society love has died, giving way to a purely mercantile and utilitarian vision of it with the arrival of applications like Tinder and growing individualism, as Eva Illouz has theorized, I find the effort to love striking. rationalize an experience—the encounter with the other—from the purely quantifiable, as if it were the accounting balance of a company. This may even be the safest way to never experience anything that comes even slightly close to a feeling of love that is not based on consuming the other in a market dominated by uncertainty and the accumulation of options (people). A social space “without rules in which everyone seeks their own interest,” in the words of Illouz, and that generates anxiety for those who compete in it because they feel that their own value depends on the demand they are capable of generating. Perhaps to the followers of love PowerPoints, Jarmush’s film and the love of Nicoletta and Roberto seem like pure science fiction.