Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?
The answer to that question is simple – both are true. Life and art are two forces that impress upon each other as they evolve from one another.
And one man’s life is strangely imitating this famous Tom Hanks film.
Tom Hanks ripped the title of “America’s Dad” from Bill Cosby when the star was convicted of drugging and raping unconscious women that spanned decades. You can’t be “America’s Dad” from jail.
Hanks’ film career is the stuff of legends. He’s the only actor to win back-to-back Academy Awards for Best Actor for “Philadelphia” and then for his iconic performance as the titular character in “Forrest Gump.”
The 64-year-old actor has given us some phenomenal films over the years like “Saving Private Ryan,” “Cast Away,” “Road to Perdition,” and who could forget “Big.”
But there’s another film of his that has officially fallen under “does life imitate art or vice versa” category.
Steven Spielberg’s “The Terminal” stars Tom Hanks as Viktor Navorski, an Eastern European tourist who finds himself stranded at John F. Kennedy International Airport when he suddenly becomes a refugee. Navorski’s Eastern European country of origin status is revoked due to a military coup within the country, therefore making him “stateless.”
That means Navorski can’t enter the United States because he’s stateless, but can’t return home because authorities at JFK are required to take his passport due to international laws.
Navorski spends a total of nine months at JFK International Airport before his country’s status is reinstated.
“The Terminal” was already based on a true story
The funny thing about “The Terminal” is that it was actually based on a true story, meaning art imitated life.
But life imitated art recently when it was discovered a tourist actually has been stranded for nearly 120 days since he arrived at Manila airport in the Philippines after coming from Bangkok on March 20th.
Roman Trofimov is an Estonian who had been traveling around Southeast Asia when his passport was taken before he went through immigration – a stark similarity to what happened to Navorski in “The Terminal.”
Even worse for Trofimov, AirAsia wasn’t able to help him return to Thailand due to restrictions with the global pandemic. And just like Navorski, Trofimov was denied entry into the Philippines because entry visas were refused by authorities.
He can’t leave and he can’t stay. And now Trofimov has to figure out where to eat and sleep at the airport, just like Navorski.
Trofimov is understandably infuriated by the circumstances saying, “’I’ve been stuck here for more than 100 days. I need help getting out. The airline said I need to wait for Enhanced Community Quarantine to be over before I am allowed to fly. I’ve been waiting here ever since.”
What would you do if you were stranded in an airport for months?
According to the U.S. Sun, “Roman had an onward flight to Cebu province booked for the same day on March 20 and a return flight to Bangkok for April 2. Both were cancelled due to the virus impacting international travel. The desperate tourist said he had asked his embassy for help but they were unable to [organize] a repatriation flight. He has been sleeping in the airport departures hall and surviving on food and snacks donated by staff.”
In “The Terminal,” Navorski has to scheme to get food. For instance, he discovers that returning a luggage cart to a vestibule will earn him American quarters, so he ends up taking these carts from customers before they’re even done with them. Navorski also befriends an airport employee who gives him food in exchange for helping him woo the woman he loves.
Trofimov added, “I am a person with disability, my health is getting worse because of malnutrition, lack of sun, and fresh air. I have no other choice, but to go public please share with news agencies.”
The Estonian foreign ministry responded to Trofimov’s situation by saying, “It is important to note that he flew to the Philippines during a time when countries had announced emergency situations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had given a travel warning.”
In other words, Estonia’s position is that he did this to himself and it’s not their fault in the slightest.
Maybe Spielberg and Hanks will team up for “The Terminal 2” when Hollywood resumes making movies in the near future.