Rome Film Festival I

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Rome’s so hot. Blue and hot and as evening settles, very muggy.

This morning I rushed across town to our apartment. (As usual for the Film Fest, we’re staying in a hotel in the north of the city.) Roman matrons were, naturally, wearing their furs if they have them – it is November after all – or their shiny padded jackets if they don’t (how long is that fashion going to persist? when will they begin to look back on these years as a time taste forgot?) They managed not to look like they were wilting in the heat. I don’t know how they do it. Pale-skinned northern tourists, on the other hand, were in t-shirts. Some were in shorts. The mix was typically Roman.

I remember the November when I was expecting C. 1989. Our French friends Helene and Pascale came to stay with us in Rome and the weather was much the same. Helene was pregnant too. I recall walking along the Tiber embankment near Porta Portese, with them amazed that it could be quite so hot quite so late in the year. That must have been a Wednesday. Because the next day we turned on the television and sat, stupefied, on the end of our bed, watching people tearing down the Berlin Wall.

For the first time ever yesterday evening, I found myself wishing that I knew more (or knew anything at all) about plastic surgery. We were at the MAXXI, for the Grand Gala dinner for the opening of the Film Festival. It was quite mesmerising: I would have loved to be able to begin totting up the value of the faces around me. There was something slightly tawdry about the event, perhaps, for me, because of those groups of women in their sixties – the same blond hair, the same mouths bloated and twisted and with little resemblance to real mouths, the same surprised eyebrows, tattooed on and at a level where most un-worked-on people’s hairline begins. Then there was the sprinkling of sad young girls, over-made-up, over-coiffed and hoping to land a film producer. Good luck to them. I don’t think there were any there worth catching.

There was lots of food and alcohol, though the plug was pulled abruptly when everyone was expected to leave. But nothing had been done otherwise to inject a party spirit into Zaha Hadid’s swooping lobby. What there was, was rather a splendid exhibition on Le Corbusier and Italy. M. Jeanneret, for me, is responsible for many abominations. But he was a remarkable, delicate draughtsman, I now know. And a fantastic observer.

It made me wish that I could take the time and effort to scribble things down on paper. And of course that I had the talent. It made L wonder what was wrong with film people, in that so few of them had bothered to take advantage of the open gallery. In fact it confirmed his sneaking suspicion that he is fast growing out of that world, where the adepts think movies are the only thing worth living for.

Main dans la main (Valérie Donzelli) Quirky and charming, and very French. The premise – two incompatible people inexplicably linked to each other, quite literally, and unable to be more than a couple of metres apart – sounds silly but it works, mostly because the script is intelligent, the mood funny and the performances excellent. A pity, then, that it unravels slightly towards the end, when the director doesn’t seem to know how to bring it to a close. Still, very enjoyable.


About Gardens, Food & Umbria

I am a garden designer, working throughout central Italy. I have lived in Italy for over 30 years – for many years in Rome but now in the wilds of Umbria where I have fixed up one wreck of a house, am working on another, and tinker endlessly with two and a half hectares of land, some of which is my garden.
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