Roma …

This week I was (and am) in Rome covering the Rome Film Festival. It’s really good to be back in Italy. So much about this country makes senses to me – the taste of the food, the warmth and informality of the people, the beauty and authenticity of the living history – just to name a few.

Sophia Loren
The festival itself has been fun although it goes without saying that the organization is … creative. One thing that stands out as unique compared to other film festivals I’ve shot is that each time we shoot a photocall or red carpet, the organizer makes a serious effort to tell us all what designer the star was wearing. He (Roberto) gets all of our attention and then in earnest says something like “Reese Whitherspoon was in Armani with Ferragammo shoes.” Only in Italy.

Here are a few experiences I’ve had during my visit so far:

I stumbled upon a nice looking hair salon and they said it would cost 35 euros for a mens cut and I agreed. Turns out I was there for almost 2 hours and I really loved the experience. First a lovely Romanian girl washed my hair for seriously 25 minutes. She gave me a message down my neck and on my head. I almost fell totally asleep. Next Marco went to work on my hair. Marco would cut for a few minutes, then talk loudly in Italian, then cut then talk. All I could understand was the word Viagra! It was really fun to watch. It turns out that he’s a pretty famous haircutter. Last festival he did Richard Gere’s and Robert Deniro’s hair and a few others. So I really got lucky getting him. There was even a French coiffure who worked there who would translate between Marco and me. It was really fun. Marco had great attention to detail. At one point, he put on a latex glove (which frightened me) and reached into my ear to pull out 1 hair and then said with a smile “Italian waxing”. And in the end, I sat with some fancy automatic MRI-like hair dryer surrounding my head for about 10 minutes. I really enjoyed the authenticity and the characters of the place.

One evening in a pizzeria I confused the Italian word for garlic with the word for anchovies – the words are quite similar. I was really hungry and looking forward to some good eating so imagine my disappointment when my pizza arrived topped with smelly anchovies. Just from my look of utter sadness the waitress asked me what was wrong and I explained the mistake I had made. Without hesitation she took the pizza away and brought me the garlic-filled one I had meant to order … and didn’t charge me for the first one even though it was clearly my mistake. It wasn’t so much that she didn’t charge me that impressed me but more her sensitivity to noticing I was disappointed without me even saying anything. I’m doubting this experience could have happened at Appleby’s.

Not many images that I can post this week since I don’t have a lot of time. More next week …

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