Paolo and Francesca…

a novel about beautiful people in Italy.

Month: February, 2014

courting investors.

Il Deserto Rosso, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni

“Do you have samples of your work?”

She pulled another folder out.  “These are just a couple things I’ve done recently.  My CV lists all of the stuff from before—the magazine covers and global ad campaigns and that kind of thing.  But I’ve been working with a new perspective now, so these shots are examples of what to expect going forward.”

He studied each in turn.  “This is Giulietta,” he said when he’d come to the one where she stood by the frozen canal, Leo at the edge of the frame.

“She was gracious enough to model for me.”

“It’s beautiful.  She’s so—I don’t know, you’ve captured something in her.”

“There’s an old Antonioni film—Il Deserto Rosso—with Monica Vitti, and it’s about the environment, and there’s a still from that that I had in mind, let me see if I can find it—“

“Don’t bother.  I know what you’re talking about.  She’s with her child, walking on the road.”

“Yes, that’s the one.  Something like that.  But instead of the focus being on the environment, I wanted it to be on her internal conflict.  Which is a lot to expect from a picture, particularly when it’s primarily for commercial purposes, but I think it’s important for you to know the thought process I had.”

“You speak very well about your work.”

“Thank you.”  She paused and sipped her wine.  “It’s important to me.”

“But this one—“ he held up her Christmas Day self-portrait, the nude in the mirror.

She blushed.  “I wasn’t going to include that.  I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.  But I think it’s important—that was when I decided to do this whole thing, and that one is representative of my new perspective.”  She squinted at the picture.  “You can’t really see anything, anyway.  And it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.”

“I think you’re exploiting my weaknesses to get me to invest.”

“I would do nothing of the sort.  Give it back to me, you don’t have to see it any more if you don’t want to.”

“That’s not what I said.”  He took off his glasses and cleaned them with a handkerchief.  “But take it anyway, that way it won’t distract me from our serious business conversation.”

thoughts on Woody Allen.

an excerpt from an email conversation I was having with a friend.  these thoughts have little relevance to my writing, but this blog is really my only platform to share them.

I have never had any opinion about Mia Farrow, except that I really liked her hair in Rosemary’s Baby.  I think, based on her recent behavior, she’s probably a crazy person.  but she also had a lot of crazy things happen to her (I will never get over Soon-Yi, so I don’t understand how she could).  but I don’t think she manipulated Dylan.  
 
I honestly, honestly believe the statistic that of all reported sexual abuse / molestation crimes, only 8-10% aren’t valid.  so by that mathematical calculation alone, Woody Allen is guilty.  but further: it is no surprise that this man had a penchant for young girls.  after all, my favorite of his movies, Manhattan, opens with him in bed with a high schooler.  for me, it’s well within the realm of possibility, and I am always going to be more apt to believe a female accuser than the man she’s accusing.
 
further still: even if it is a false accusation, I have no problem with this one highly visible false accusation taking the place of thousands of unspoken true accusations.  and maybe this makes me a horrible person with no true sense of justice, but I don’t care.  white men have gotten away with abusing women for far too long, and it is no skin off my back for one of them to go down, even unjustly.
 
I read the Daily Beast article.  but at this point, I don’t think there’s anything that will change my mind, especially not one man rationalizing or defending the actions of another.
 
I’ll miss watching Manhattan, and Annie Hall, and Hannah and Her Sisters, and Midnight in Paris, and Blue Jasmine.  I really will.  I loved those movies, and I loved the performances he coaxed out of those actors.  but at this time in my life, I feel more strongly that we are responsible for stopping the cycle of men abusing women.  there’s lots of movies out there I haven’t seen yet, directed by people who haven’t allegedly used their position of power to abuse someone considerably weaker.  so I’ll watch those instead.
 
Francesca was, in all drafts of Rule of Thirds, Dodge and Burn, and Parallax, a huge Woody Allen fan, and there are scenes where she’s watching his movies (particularly in the second book, she watches Manhattan).  I’m rewriting all those scenes.
 
enough of my soapbox–I’ve probably made you sorry you asked.  I absolutely respect your opinion, and I think the big disadvantage of this situation is that it’s one person’s word against another’s, about something that happened a long time ago.  I don’t see any resolution, but I hope that whatever happens will improve the way our society addresses child sexual abuse in the future.