Film Scouts Diaries

2004 Taormina BNL Filmfest Diaries
Good Morning, Taormina

by Philipp Hoschka

Taormina, June 17, 2004 -- So here's what a typical morning at this year's Taormina Film Festival looks like: you get up at eight in the morning. You quickly step on the balcony to check out what Mount Etna is doing - everything seems to be OK, no nightly eruption, only a little smoke, so no need to put your evacuation plan into action yet.

Relieved, off you go, into the next-door grocery shop that is just opening up. The shop is full of Sicilian delicacies, but you're only interested in getting a bottle of water, and one of these delicious parma ham sandwiches that the shop owner prepares for you.

You take your water bottle and your sandwhich up to the Palazzo dei Congressi, a quite unattractive concrete building in which most of the festival films are shown during the day. You try to find a space on one of the benches in front of the Palazzo, squeezing in between the old men and the taxi drivers that usually occupy these benches. Eating your sandwich, you watch the unfolding Sicilian morning life as well as the Sicilian film students that are arriving to participate in the Festival's "cinema lesson" this morning.

When you get into the screening room, there are already about 200 people sitting there, even though it is only 8:45, all waiting to see a movie by the director or actor who will give the "cinema lesson" of the day. Today's lecturer is director Jane Campion, and they are showing her 2003 movie "In the Cut". Watching this cross between "Silence of the Lambs" and "After Hours", you wish you had had a coffee before the screening, since at nine in the morning, movies involving various cut-up body parts require a certain stamina.

The movie is followed by a 1.5-hour lecture, in which Jane tells you about how to manage actors, and about the special importance of rehearsals in her work. In yesterday's lesson, Peter Weir told you that he avoids rehearsals. You are getting all confused, and in even more need of a coffee.

So after the lesson is over, you quickly run out into the sun, and into the nearest street cafe, order a delicious Italian Cappucino, and start thinking about at which restaurant you will eat Spaghetti Carbonara for lunch today. At the hotel restaurant? Based on experience, better to be avoided. At the beach restaurant? Taking the cable car down to the sea might take too long for catching the afternoon movie. So let's make it "La Botte", a restaurant close to the Palazzo that is essentially the festival's canteen. You will lunch under orange trees, and try to plan the rest of the day, but most likely fail, since you will have to meet and greet many of the people involved in the festival that come there for lunch as well, including some of the guest stars.

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