A few days ago I attended the Melbourne premiere of the much publicized Italian film, Anita, at the Australian Centre of Moving Image in Federation Square. The film premiered at the recent Italian-Australian Film Festival held in Sydney where quest of honour Sophia Loren added a certain aspect of Hollywood glamour (even if, in my opinion, she looked like a character from The Muppets).
Anita recounts the story of Italy’s national hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man who united Italy into one nation in the 1800s, and his encounter with a young Brazilian woman who he falls in love with in the years preceding. The movie in itself was a simple production without the razzle dazzle of Hollywood names and effects and such was poorly held together with too many plot holes. But even with these shortcomings the film still managed to tell the story of Italy’s favorite hero in a way that kept you interested and perhaps even a little inspired by Garibaldi’s passion. The intelligent editing of a particularly squeamish torture scene was one of the highlights from a director with great potential.
Attending the screening with a couple of friends, we went in with minimal expectations and came out with more than we bargained for. And most of it wasn’t even from the film. After a brief introductory speech from a representative of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Institute of Culture), the director, Aurelio Grimaldi, was introduced to the packed auditorium. Dressed smart casually as only Italians know how, Grimaldi spoke passionately about the film, his inspiration and the subject matter. All the while, his button fly was completely undone. And it was obvious to all.
The poor man spoke at length about the film and the whole time the auditorium whispered amongst themselves about the Italian’s fashion faux pas. No one dared say anything. Finally after what seemed an eternity, the film began and so we saw Garibaldi and his lover give each other extreme pash rash over and over again. Less than two hours later, the film ended and question time began.
Of course, all the old wogs in their Sunday Best had to share their archaic opinions of Garibaldi and the film, such as why didn’t Grimaldi make a film about Garibaldi uniting Italy, while others questioned the directors next projects and how he was enjoying Australia. But again, throughout question time, the director’s fly was undone. No one had mentioned it to the man during the film or prior to coming out for questions. He answered every question enthusiastically but again, oblivious to his gaff.
It probably didn’t help the situation that the Italian Consulate General was also at the premiere, which, for the audience, made it even more awkward for the poor oblivious director. As question time ended, the hordes of wogs left the cinema, the director’s fly still open and cornered by the Consulate General. We eventually left the cinema talking about the fashion faux pas and the film itself in the chilly Melbourne night.
The next day I was contacted by my friend who said she kept thinking about the film and the poor director. I wonder if Aurelio Grimaldi was ever told about his fly or whether he walked into the busy Federation Square with his package open out for the whole of Melbourne to see on a Friday night? Oooh that would have been nasty.