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A well-lived life is made up of moments that emotionally enrich us.

VSOP peacock article

Perhaps the Bellboy lacked the words to describe the generative force that the event of yesterday, the unexpected encounter, carried with it.
And sure, it all started when he got out of the see-through elevator and arrived at the ground floor. Yet another service saw its end nonetheless; the sticky residue of that day chose to stick to his fingers, and he may have been a touch dismayed by the sensation.

"Something unpredicted, unplanned, unexpected needs to occur to interrupt the sequence of the already-known, the already-been, already-seen," he thought to himself while passing by the hotel bar.
From the corner of his eye, he notices a lone woman sitting at a table with a green chess set, and his view of social gamesmanship and the forceful desires that those glittering games both conceal and express, became the essence of his poetic vision of the night. Little did he know that they were about to change.

VSOP Paolo Sorrentino image campaign article

The gazes of the two meet obliquely, as if by magic, through the clear colours of the night, with the sound of the bartender preparing cocktails at a close distance. They could not help but follow one another, each drawn to the other like a magnet.

"Is this seat taken" he wondered, all while the woman known to him only as the Chess player pointed to the empty chair facing her, inviting him to join her while ordering cocktails. Intrigued, the Bellboy joins her and takes a sip of his drink. It has a taste of the future, of one that has never been before, of a party where the explosion of forbidden joy derails the ordinary.
Without thinking twice, the Chess player reveals a beautifully detailed drawing of the Bellboy with a peacock next to him, and he looks at it with amazement. "This feels like an invitation to something special, " he thought. Suddenly, the Chess player leaves her seat in a rush, "experience every moment as if it was to be a party", she thought to herself, all while smiling at the Bellboy, beckoning him to follow her.

VSOP visual characters playing chess

"Open from midnight till late", the neon letters flickering on the wall indicated. It's precisely this sensory and intellectual overload that gives rise to the misperception that something unexpected can only be static, fussy, or tight, but that misperception will soon be shattered as we find the Bellboy and the Chess player entering an elegant, quite bewildering restaurant in a giant staircase.
On first viewing, they risk having their perceptual circuits shorted. Then the Bellboy stands up, puts music on the jukebox and invites tunes from a different era to fill the room. For all its meticulous preparation, a bunch of people start swinging to the tunes, spontaneous, unhinged, unexpected. The ice tinkles in the drinks, and the gossip rolls. All this is played out with a cool detachment by curious minds, all wrapped up in their own life stories.
The dancing is interrupted by an anxious, preoccupied man, later known as the Peacock Master. With only a facial expression, he discloses his story while zipping through a narrative in his mind.

VSOP Paolo Sorrentino music box

As he crosses the Bellboy's path, he pulls out a poster from his pocket that says, "LOST PEACOCK: EDGAR", and the Bellboy can see how desperately the Peacock Master is trying to mitigate his deepest loss: that of a beloved peacock.

The dancing stops as if somebody pushed the 'stop' button, only to be replaced with the search for Edgar. The Bellboy and the Chess player are trying to make an effort to make sense of what's going on. They try to parse the action of the Peacock Master into its constituent elements, assemble its narratives, moods, and ideas, and then quickly decide to join him on his quest into the street.

VSOP Paolo Sorrentino image characters

'Click': they discover a rather curious-looking photographer with a strange camera, who, after his breakthrough, lived under tremendous pressure, at first combined with all-too-pleasant opportunities but later decided to devote his time to taking pictures of the night wildlife. Good looking, elegant, camera around his neck. Upon getting an inkling of his great talent – and feeling the spark of connection between them – they take him and his talent firmly and sternly in hand for their own long-term purposes, and the Peacock Master shows his poster to the just-met-photographer, pointing at the lost animal.

VSOP Paolo Sorrentino characters focus peacock

The Night Wildlife Photographer takes a few seconds to think, then pulls out polaroid photos, photos that lead to inevitable overstimulation, and an increase of brimming cinematic energy hits the Peacock Master as he flips through the intriguing mere snapshots. He stops at one.

Could it be Edgar?

The Peacock Master is prepared to go to any lengths to find his beloved bird. It has becomes his obsession, and the others are constantly painfully aware of that as they let the night consume them, running through a beautiful public garden nearby in search of Edgar.

A beam of light blinds them, a spotlight out of the blue, lighting up a mysterious façade of a woman, beautiful, well-dressed, a diva, with her own personal theatre spotlight that seems to follow her wherever she goes. A feature that is the most hyperbolically artificial of all features and also the most sharply poignant.

The relationship between the Diva and her spotlight is somewhat intensely sensual where the language between those two feels blissful, beyond effort.

VSOP Paolo Sorrentino characters focus diva

Is that Edgar in the distance?

They all gasp for air, smirking at dazzling stagecraft and ingenious artifice that the search for Edgar has imposed on them, all while feeling that the goal, the hunt, the pursuit is intruding and soon to be over.

There he is, the distant Edgar, the host of their quest, who, by keeping a low profile, reinforced his reputation as mysterious, unexpected, grand, prowling around the edges of society and creating movements. The Diva, the Wildlife Photographer, the Peacock Master, the Chess player, and the Bellboy buzz around the evening's central figure, the elusive Edgar, and they let him lead them to another exclusive place. Awed by the lurching and gyrating celebration, the inflated splendor of the room, all the colorful clothing and elaborate personal styling, the unexpected meeting gets a hold of them, allures them; it's enticing, fun.

An unforgettable night

VSOP Paolo Sorrentino characters

The Chess player and the Night Wildlife Photographer

The Diva and the Bellboy. Unexpected encounters.

The Diva and the Bellboy

Unexpected encounters.

Unexpected encounters

"Edgar has been found safe; it's time to celebrate," the thoughts went and shortly after, the whizzing revelry fills the room with lots of motion and seduction; the party is unforeseen, promising, with hundreds of acquaintances gathered for nightly orbs of music and cocktails.

It was the most exquisite party, without holding in on the allure of magical, unexpected encounters.


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