I was having an apéro with a friend, tonight.
Kind of a new friend, who doesn't know much about my past life. We have in common this passion for TV series, and we talk endlessly about them (especially Mad Men). We usually see each other at the Bistrot à vins of the Cinéma des Cinéastes, one of my favourite cinemas in Paris. We were walking down the stairs after a couple of Macon Blanc when he stopped, looked at me and said: "You know, we (meaning he and his girlfriend) have tried to see this British series, Life on Mars, yesterday but... I don't know, there's something about it... I don't get it. I simply don't get it". For a moment, I stopped breathing. I looked puzzled at him. I couldn't speak. When I managed to talk again, I just said: "I love that series, it saved my life".
I know that, usually, when you say things like that people tend to think you are overdoing.
But I'm not. I bought the box set of Life on Mars - Season 1 on the saddest day of my entire life. When I bought it, I didn't know about it. And so, I always guessed that some weird cinema gods looked down at me on that particular day and made me buy it.
It was October 2007.
I had read few days before in a cinema magazine about this series. They mentioned the plot: Manchester cop who has a car accident on 2006, woke up in Manchester on 1973. I bought it, straight away, without even thinking twice. I have been raised at bread and British TV series, I didn't need any further detail to be convinced. The reason why it is called Life on Mars is that the cop in 2006 is listening to the Bowie song on his I-pod, while when he woke up in 1973, it is the hit single he could hear on his Ford Mustang radio.
If it wasn't for Life on Mars, that night, I would have probably walked slowly from Montmartre to the river Seine and drowned myself in some spectacular places near the Pont Neuf. But I dind't, because I started to watch Life on Mars and I wanted to see how it keeps going (and, plus, I knew there was a Season 2 to be seen!): I was already in love with John Simm character, with Philip Glemister character, with Manchester in the '70s, with the witty and intelligent dialogues, with everything.
After that night, I sometimes think about the other myself who is still somewhere there, on the bottom of the river. Like Ada MacGrath in The Piano by Jane Campion imagined herself at the end of the movie: the other self, the one that remained in the dark depth of the ocean. With all that silence around her.
Life on Mars brought me back to Life on Earth.
And this maybe finally gives an answer to the famous Bowie question: Is there Life on Mars?
Apparently yes, there is.
At least for me.