Rome Film Festival III

Tuesday 13 November 2012

This morning Giuseppe the Bulldozer Boy called to say that all you can see in Chiusi station carpark is an expanse of water, with a couple of car roofs poking out of it. That’s where our car is. What can I do? Take a deep breath. Hope the waters recede. Speculate, idly, about whether, if the car goes again, it will stink forever of muddy flood water.

It rained hard here in Rome but not like that.

Our cleaning lady couldn’t get to our house yesterday morning: part of Mario’s upper field had slipped on to the road. Then, presumably right after she had manoeuvred herself out, a far bigger chunk slipped down higher up, from the house of the handlebar moustache man with the distressingly vicious retrievers.

It has all been patched up now, we’re told. In wonderful small-town fashion, the CdP website has posted the cellphone numbers of just about everyone, including the mayor, whom you can contact if you’re having difficulties. Poor Giuseppe – who sounded like he felt personally responsible for the fate of our car – said in a voice croaky with exhaustion that he hadn’t been to bed last night: since dawn on Monday he has been digging.

In a tram, pulling up to a red light beside a line of cars which have already stopped. In car after car sits a single occupant/driver, talking into and gesticulating around a mobile phone. Except in the first car, where a middle-aged man is very intently filing his finger nails. He makes a lovely picture.

Over drinks with my friend Victoria, she explains why she thinks this right-leaning northern suburb (from walls everywhere,  photos of recently deceased fascist bigwig Pino Rauti, with his over-sized accountant-in-the-1980s glasses, stare out at you) is remarkably clean and no longer carpeted in dog shit. It’s the crisis, she reckons: even the alta borghesia can no longer afford filippino dog-walkers; they are having to take pooch out themselves, and can’t risk the opprobrium of their neighbours. My explanation is simpler: Rome’s right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno only bothers to send cleaners regularly to areas where he knows people will vote for him. Testaccio, the cove of Communists where our apartment is, is filthy.

Goltzius and the Pelican Company (Peter Greenaway) 128 minutes of pretentious scatalogical tedium. It’s time for Peter Greenaway to stop making films. If a wannabe-trendy sixth-form teacher sought to ingratiated himself with the youth and epater les bourgeois – probably earning himself a suspension or maybe the sack – this might be the kind of thing he’d come up with. Desperately aiming to be a raunchy retelling of some potentially scabrous Bible stories, all acted out for a princeling by a 16th-century printing company and its hangers-on seeking finance for a new printing venture, it makes sex and debauchery about as exciting as a long queue at a supermarket check-out. The accents were very Inspector Clouseau but didn’t elicit a single chuckle.

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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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