The qualitative leap

Alcohol teaches us and in what unpredictable ways! Some of these teachings are forever lost in the nebula of the day after. Others, nonetheless, like pearls painstakingly mined from the depths of the unconscious magma, remain and accompany us throughout the years. We could say that they grow old with us; and, in a strange way, protect us from making bigger mistakes in life. Those are warnings and, paradoxically, they cannot be learned except through our own mistakes.

The film “Druk” or “Another round” in English, talks about mistakes, the path of self-learning and self-transformation. What is alcohol, after all, if not a kind of transformation? I would like to share with you why it seems to me that Druk offers a mirror to look at our decisions from a different standpoint.

Let me start with a story. One evening, after a meal with my friend Ricardo, and while we were talking, laughing and drinking our second bottle of wine, he suddenly proposed: “now is the time for the “qualitative leap”, do you dare?” Qualitative leap meant to stop drinking wine and start drinking spirits. In other words, go up to the next level.

Qualitative leap, in Hegelian`s philosophy, refers to the transformation process in which one substance becomes a different one, preserving its difference and losing it at the same time. Example: a seed that falls to the ground and, after germinating, it becomes a plant. It is a plant in which the seed reached its limit, exceeded the seed form and became a plant. The extraordinary thing about Hegelian thinking is that the seed, once it has been transformed into a plant, cannot return to being a seed; it must continue its evolution and face extreme negativity, the death of its old form. There is no way back.

The movie “Druk” is about this sort of qualitative leap.

Four friends, high school teachers, who live a kind of dark and routine lives, decide to try to improve their lives by making an experiment which consists in maintaining a constant, functioning, level of alcohol in their blood. Everything is going well, and with a blood alcohol level of 0.05, things seem to improve for them. They like being with their families now and their work as teachers takes on a new boast. They drink only during working hours and with it they experience decreased stress and anxiety; in fact, it feels like a new lease of life. Pondering the good results, the group decides to increase the level of alcohol to 0.10. The qualitative leap occurs, and, after a crazy night of drunkenness, the group decides to end the experiment.

After stopping drinking alcohol, two of the members of the group are confronted by their families which accuse them of having been drunk for weeks, and one of them finds out that his wife has been unfaithful to him. Another member of the group follows his career towards alcoholism and dies in an accident. The film ends with the funeral ceremony of the dead friend and the three remaining friends looking suspiciously at the alcohol that is offered to them. In the final sequence, Madd Mikkelsen (probably) dances drunk in a kind of Bacchic dance and throws himself into the sea. At that moment, the camera freezes, and Madd is suspended before falling into the sea, that is, before going from being dry to being completely wet and under water.

The last image of the film freezes the moment of the qualitative leap in which one thing becomes another. That moment in our daily life could be shown with the question that was asked to me that night: do you dare? Today I know that not daring is another way of daring.

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