Red Carpet

Yesterday, while snapping photos around Piazza del Popolo, I bumped into Monica Bellucci, or as Francesco (her driver) calls her, La Belluccia. It's not every day that I see celebrities, much less recognize them. My only other crash meeting was Karl Lagerfeld circa 2005 in front of the Hotel Hassler- and to be honest, I was checking the boy behind him.

I am far from my former Hollywood life where celebrities were every where (from hot tubs to hot houses) and the prerequisite was to pretend that they were either invisible or unrecognizable. For that matter, the only celebrity I ever bumped into was Macaulay Culkin and I did not recognize him until he introduced himself. My younger sister, the academic, had constant incontri with Brad Pitt, Jude Law, George Clooney, Britney Spears, and on and on.

Yesterday, the Monica Bellucci meeting was a lovely serendipity, a reminder of the start of the Cinema Festival. She is beautiful. She is polite. She is Italian-- the ideal poster girl for the festival, archetypal face of Italy and probably the girl you want as a best friend. My allegiance to Monica started with the very second film I ever saw with her, L'Appartement (first film was Dracula), and her future husband Vincent Cassel, my favorite French actor. A tragic love story that you want to watch over and over again. After meeting Monica, merely a "oh hello, sorry to have bumped you," I realized I was standing in front of the Hotel de Russie (hide-out for Cinema Fest celebrities), next to my favorite top-hat and tails doorman. I clicked my heels and proceeded on my merry way down Via del Babuino, reminding myself that this is the week to see film in Rome.

Later on in the evening, The Professor and I headed over to see the Focus India art show at the Auditorium, part of the Cinema Internazionale Festa. Again, another beautiful serendipity. The art was provocative, contemporary and edgy. Does anyone have any idea what the subcontinent is doing? If not, take a look. Also, take a glimpse at the Otani and Fellini shows, and the "red carpet"-- a floral undulation made from hundreds of potted plants.