Streets of Fire: A Rock & Roll Fable

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Streets of Fire: A Rock & Roll Fable

Just like a fantastic movie, Streets of Fire begins giving us temporal and spatial coordinates: well, undefined coordinates. In fact, Another time, another place, sounds familiar to a good cinema-lover. It seems to recall us the famous A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away… but please, don’t let you deceive by an opening title!

Unknown by a big audience part, a clamorous failure on its release date, Streets of Fire is one of the movies I love the most. Talking about that film, Walter Hill said that he wanted to realize the dream of his adolescence, a mixture of rock, kisses in the rain and fast cars. And I can say that he had realized his purpose. This film has everything to be loved and adored, not only by young dreamers, but also by grown, rock-lover and romantic boys and girls. When I first saw that film I was a ten-year-old girl, unconscious of the world and totally ignoring what love could be. But rock, rock is made to be understood by stupid girls like me too!

When I saw Ellen Aim (the fantastic Diane Lane) singing on the stage, I was not thinking she was just an actress who pretended to sing with someone else’s voice. What I thought in that moment was a pathetic, though sincere "I want to be like her!". Leather pants, a surrealistic dress, long brown hair, so slim and so tall, Ellen Aim has been my aim for a great part of my adolescence. And some years later, when I looked into the mirror, instead of seeing a funny fifteen-year-old girl, I was always hoping to see Ellen Aim.

The story is quite simple, I know, just like in fairytales. During her concert, a famous rock singer is kidnapped by an evil motorcyclist (Wilhelm Dafoe) and his gang. The ex-boyfriend of the singer, Tom (Michel Paré), will try everything to set her free, helped by McCoy (Amy Madigan), a soldier woman who is never scared. The simplicity of the story must not deflect us, since the great human questions, across the centuries, are always the same: love, jealousy, power, money. The rock theme, written by Ry Cooder, impressed me like no other film theme. From the beginning of the film till the ending titles, the music makes you desire to be with Tom Cody and McCoy, running on fast motorbikes and fighting against The Bombers, the evil bikers who have imprisoned Ellen.

Striking punches and kicks, being beautiful and damned, escaping from a wicked motorcyclist… yes, rock can make you do everything. I’d really would have the courage of McCoy, at least once in my life, to steal a red, fabulous car, saying that I have found it because someone must have forgotten it! I cannot force all the world to love that film and probably is not what I want to do. I won’t be tired enough to listen to Nowhere fast, dreaming of fighting together with my heroes, with some old blue jeans and a gun ready to shot. I would like my life to be like that film: a baroque, without time, rock fantasy.