The best way to describe my perpetual state yesterday is “stinky”. But it was a happy stinky. Above you will find a picture of me, behaving like the Beverly Hillbillies would behave if they attended the Venice Film Festival, taking a picture of myself with my press pass in a decidedly unsophisticated way. When I took this picture I was hot, disheveled, a little tipsy, to be honest, and I really did smell kind of bad.
I’d left Rome at 9:30 AM on Wednesday and arrived in Venice around 1:30, apparently harboring some incredible belief that when I stepped off the train the (film) festival would begin. Of course I had to first remember where the hotel was hiding itself on those winding, spooky, canal lined streets and then get over to the island of Lido where the festival is held.
For heaven’s sake those vaporetti are pokey; it took us 45 minutes to get over there. And then, once again, I had the mistaken idea that when I stepped off the boat it would be immediately clear what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to go.
I saw a bus that said “mostra biennale” (film festival) so I figured, what the heck? I jumped on it, and immediately started wondering how I’d know where to get off. I looked around the bus for filmy, intellectual types and decided to follow them, and it worked. I got off, saw a girl with a press pass around her neck and I went up to her and said, “That thing around your neck – where did you get it?” Why be coy, after all?
Fortunately I have no false pride and I’m never above begging for help or looking stupid, so I threw myself at the mercy of the real journalists and asked people what the deal was. And God bless ’em because it’s a mad house around here, and, to be honest, I was a little stressed out. All the tickets were gone for that day but I noticed that there would be, that night, an outdoor showing of Emanuale Crialese’s Terraferma in Campo San Polo back in Venice at 9:00 so I rushed (as quickly as one can rush on a vaporetto going 5 miles an hour) back to Venice and got in line to get a ticket for it. The line was long and we had to wait a half hour for the box office to even open, but I got my ticket.
All in all I’d say the festival is pretty well run; it’s chaos, but organized chaos. I’d never been on Lido, and I’m completely surprised by this completely different world out here, away from the madness of Venice in the high season. There are wide, tree-lined streets and a beautiful beach. I had no idea the amount of hotels, restaurants, and stores that would be here and I just thought it would be smaller, somehow.
I’m writing about Terraferma and will have that up later today, but the big news is that I got not only tickets for the Controcampo awards presentation today, but for tomorrow when Bernardo Bertolucci awards Marco Bellocchio the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. You can’t see or hear me right now, but I am jumping up and down and screaming with excitement about that.
The only famous person I’ve seen so far is Japanese director Masahiro Kobayashi but I’m on the case. Don’t worry. Below, a picture of a red carpet ceremony that I happened upon for a film called Hahithalfut (The Exchange). Pretty exciting to see, even it I’d never heard of it or the actors or directors.