This simple, contemporary American story is, as the director says, based on facts. It’s a story of the ordinary life of a young man, a successful gymnast, who suddenly meets a man of Knowledge. He is a strange old man working at the gas station, ‘as a service’, as he says to the young man, who one night wakes up from a frightening nightmare about having an accident, goes to the gas station and sees the old man doing something absolutely impossible for an ordinary human being, something that the young gymnast would certainly like to achieve.
Without disclosing the plot it is enough to say that the young gymnast becomes a pupil of the old man and is shown something hidden from ordinary eyes about the world and about himself. He goes through a hard time and his teacher gives him tasks against which he mostly rebels. However step by step he discovers for himself fragments of wisdom that will make his life more human and worthy.
The beauty of the film lies in its simplicity and the balance between hidden and ordinary things and between humor and tragedy. The teacher imparts his wisdom in short sentences at important moments or after a certain demonstration of the secret meaning of an event and the resistance inside the young gymnast. As for example when the old man forces the young one to give some thieves all he has, even though they don’t ask for it. “They might have killed us”, says the young candidate for a warrior but the man of service says: “Death is only a transformation. Death isn’t a sad thing. The sad thing is that the most of people don’t live at all”.
This film evoked a question in me – how far do I myself really live?