Teuton chronicles: Modric climbs onto Woody Allen’s train

Teuton chronicles: Modric climbs onto Woody Allen’s train

Day trip in Germany and what better way to do it than by train. Trains are the best way to get to know a country, its people, its customs. There are few places more revealing than a train station. You just have to open your eyes and listen, which in the past made journalism a wonderful job. Once the journey begins, the trains give you a huge window through which to discover everything that cities or roads don’t show you. The entrails of the sites, the anatomy of a place. Its fields, the patios of the houses with their clotheslines full of clothes and their barbecues, the backs of those towns that look at the roads, the rivers that meander in the valleys… Germany is green and leafy. Thousands of paths cross it along which walkers come and go without apparent hurry. Or kids on bikes being chased by happy dogs.

Poster for the movie ‘Memories’ by Woody Allen / Cinesa

I like taking trains, of any kind. They do not need to leave platforms like 9 and a half at London’s King Cross station, where JK Rowling’s parents met, which the writer later turned into kilometer 0 of Harry Potter. I’m more into anonymous or remote trains, like the one in Patagonia. An evocative train to nowhere. Woody Allen paid tribute to Federico Fellini by getting on a train in a movie called ‘Memories’ (Stadurst Memories) with a distressing message: no matter which train you take, you always end up in the same place. A kind of railway version of ‘The Exterminating Angel’ by Buñuel. I would dare to say that it is an accurate reflection. That’s why you have to enjoy the journey, squeeze every drop along the way.

Modric’s journey

If there is someone who is enjoying the journey, it is Luka Modric. A child of the war who fled through the back door of his house when he saw some soldiers enter. The same ones who took his grandfather, whom he never saw again. Modric has rebuilt the pride of his people around a ball. We are all a little Croatian because of him. “Football owes this Euro Cup to Luka,” commented Ivan Rakitic. Nobody can argue it. That’s why seeing him with the Ballon d’Or in his hands made our souls happy. Just as it was difficult for him not to shed tears when he saw him fall in the World Cup final in Russia. Life is what happens while we cross paths with Luka.

But trains can also be overwhelming. Like those who arrived at Auschwitz loaded with Jews. Those remember the worst of the human condition. Walking through Berlin is comforting in that sense. It is admirable the way the Germans have used History to honor the fallen and keep the memory of the Holocaust alive so as not to fall into it again. An exercise in revisionism especially necessary in these dark days in which the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the genocide in Gaza once again bring out the worst in our condition. Today a Euro Cup starts in which Ukraine will be there, which has earned on the field the right to carry that flag that we have cynically abandoned in Old Europe.

In Woody Allen’s film, Sandy Bates, his character, boards a train where he discovers that all the passengers are marked by suffering and agony.. But through the window she discovers another one full of happy, beautiful and cheerful people, among them Sharon Stone. Sandy tries to get off to change trains, but they won’t let him. And just at that moment, the two begin to move in opposite directions. Bates becomes desperate and tries to jump. But it’s impossible.

Trains make you think, they let you write, they allow you to talk to strangers or interact with strangers. Trains are empathetic. Doctors should prescribe at least one train trip per month. Trains promote the production of dopamine and serotonin, compared to cars, which generate tons of cortisol. I wish there were more trains and less rush. And more Lukas Modric

2024-06-14 14:39:20
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