Friends, amici: the festival, I am happy to report, has been a non-stop freight train of cinematic delights. However, the idea of sitting in front of a computer for an extended period of time has seemed less and less appealing as my days here are turning into hours and minutes… My wish, now, is to savor every bit so that I can share many exciting things in the coming week. For now I couldn't resist posting these two stories from the growing backlog, both occurring today, November 15th:
- Festival co-director Roberto Turigliatto, at my solicitation, introduces me to French cinema thinker extraordinaire Jean Douchet. Humbled, I ramble a few words in French and then ask, in an attempt to dig myself out of an embarrassing monologue of incomprehensible compliments, if he speaks English. Douchet responds, sardonically (in French), "No, I'm one of the few Frenchman who doesn't speak other languages." I make a second attempt at French, this time telling him simply that I'm an admirer of his writings and that I have some friends who speak very highly of him as a person. This was plain enough, and voilà, Douchet understood, immediately turning to the person next to him and saying, "This young man has paid me a very nice compliment!" The person stuck his hand out to greet me. And that person, who had escaped my vision though I knew was lurking around somewhere, was, to my rapture, Claude Chabrol.
- Yesterday I phoned the cheery and obliging staff of the international press office to see if I could get an interview with Nanni Moretti, in town promoting his latest film, Il Caimano. Though I haven't seen the film, I wanted to talk to him anyway, as a lover of his early oeuvre. One of the fest employees, Martin, told me that Moretti wasn't doing any interviews, bu tthat he would inquire. Since I hadn't heard from Martin, I lost hope. Today, however, I spotted Moretti having a coffee in the Cinema Ambrosio. I wanted to tell him that his La Messa è finita is one of my twenty or so favorite movies (which is absolutely true). He, like Douchet, also doesn't speak English. And I stumble much harder in Italian than I do in French. Luckily there was someone around to translate. Moretti's response was, "What are the other films you like?" I thought he was referring to his own films, soI said, "Palombella Rossa, Ecce Bombo, Bianca—" "No, no, no…" Moretti said shaking his head, "What are the other films on your list of twenty?" So I said, "Well, Ozu's Early Summer, Bresson's Balthazar-—""Basta,basta [enough, enough]…" Moretti interrupted again, "I just wanted to know if I was in good company."
Olaf -- who, to answer Zach, likely sees more than 400 new films a year (though I will ask to be sure) was standing next to me. I asked him to take a picture of us, and, well... Olaf's exemplary camera skills can be seen below: