This must be the ultimate mood setter for my Roman holiday
In less than one week I’m heading to Rome for a short vacation in company with my 18 year old daughter. Usually I barely ever open the weather app in my smart phone, but now I’m obsessing over it, checking it out at least once every hour to see if there’s any change. But the closer to the take-off we get, the more certain does the app seem to be in its prediction. We’d better bring an umbrella. Or at least be prepared to buy one from the umbrella sellers I assume are swamping the streets, if it’s anything like Athens.
This isn’t how I pictured it. In Rome you’re supposed to stroll around in ancient quarters under an eternally shining sun. When you need to cool yourself you have an ice cream or take off for a romantic ride through the city on a vespa. If you get wet, it’s from sweat. Rain is unheard of. At least in the movies I’ve seen.
Earlier this year I watched Allen’s latest movie, To Rome with Love, which I probably liked more than most others because of my upcoming trip. Even if some of the stories are a little thin, it’s excellent as a tourist leaflet. Last night the turn came to another movie taking place in Rome: Roman Holiday.
I insisted on that the young lady I’m travelling with should watch it too. It appeared to be a part of the preparations for the journey, as essential as localizing our passports and getting some local currency.
Classic or not, I wasn’t entirely sure of what she’d make of it. I knew she was open minded, ready to embrace movies outside of the box office hit lists, but maybe this was to stretch her tolerance too far? Black and white, almost as old as her grandmother – maybe it was too old to be enjoyable?
But I needn’t have worried. This film hits your cinematic vein like a glass of champagne. Soon enough she was sparkling as much as I was. We were charmed by Audrey Hepburn, we fell in love with the love story between the princess on the run and the man of the people and we laughed at the lighthearted comedy.
It brought us to a different world, where cell phones didn’t exist and people talked to each other and watched the street life rather than keeping updated with the updates of acquaintances on Facebook. A world where even the shadiest of paparazzi would observe codes of honor and duty. I’m not sure it ever existed in real life, but so what? Sometimes a well told fairy tale is what you need most.
I’m afraid watching Roman Holiday hasn’t helped a bit to set our expectations right. I’m now more convinced than ever that Rome will be beautiful, romantic, sunny rather than polluted, noisy and rainy. But so what? I’ll happily remain in that bubble of belief for one more week, until reality hits us.
And when it does, I will recall one of my favorite lines of Gregory Peck (labelled by the 18 year old as a “hunk”):
Well, life isn’t always what one likes, is it?”
Roman Holiday (William Wyler, US, 1953) My rating: 4,5/5