What is more Italian than watching great films? Some would argue pizza, but I wouldn’t. Living like a local here is more than just knowing which cafe’s have a higher ratio of locals than tourists; it’s about going to events you’re interested in and seeing people that have the same interests as you. Just like if you were at home, you wouldn’t meet local people from your college going to Disneyland or visiting Alcatraz Island–you’d see them around your city.
A couple friends and I took the bus up to the more north-side of Rome to attend the festival over the course of a couple days. We had tickets to see a Joel Coen and Frances McDormand talk; a talk with Wes Anderson and writer Donna Tartt where they discussed their creative process, Italian directors, and Italian films that inspire them; one of the early premiers of the movie Freeheld and Junun; and last but not least (as it was my favorite film of the three), Mistress America.
Wes Anderson and Donna Tartt’s talk was amazing to listen to. Both equally quirky people, they discussed Italian directors, films, and cinematography choices that influenced their careers. Interspersed in their talk was clips from obscure Italian films that they both picked out to show the audience and to discuss.
What I find curios about film festivals abroad is the language barrier in the Q&A’s. The Joel Coen talk lost much of the rhythm that Q&A’s naturally have because both the interviewer and the interviewees had to stop after they asked a question, or replied, so that the translator could repeat in Italian for the audience. This wasn’t to say that the talk was jolting to hear, but it was definitely a reminder that English is not the dominant language everywhere.
After the Joel Coen talk, we grabbed food at one of the many stylish places to eat the festival set up. We chose to do aperitivo, the classy way Italians grab a drink with an all you can eat buffet*
*it’s tacky to eat a lot, so really one full plate and a couple extra dessert items later.
All in all, the festival was stylish, exhilarating, and classy. I’m so glad I went and got to hear some of my favorite directors discuss what inspires them to create.