When I was a kid I had fantasies about coming to Hollywood to take on Shirley Temple’s boots, to meet Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, and all the other idols.
Hollywood was only for movie stars, cameras, big trucks and backdrops. I was contemplating huge scenery where the human would get lost and only the magic of the mind would keep me afloat addressing one of these untouchables. We would share a glass of wine or a cigarette, just for the hell of it. I would find the cars ugly but they had to be there as part of the decor.
Watching one of these full-length films on TV was a privilege and an experience I would enjoy again and again.
I would sit in my chair and forget for one hour or two the world around me. I would be right there where the action was and live each instant as if my life was depending on it. The characters in the movies would become my buddies and I would talk to them as if they were old pals. Together we would change the storyline and make it the way I thought it should end up.
But the dream did not endure. My parents moved out to another place and suddenly, there was no more TV, no more other reality. The Hollywood world evaporated as the best actors went to the hereafter.
Later, not yet through a decade, I experienced the infinite pleasure of sitting in front of a theater curtain waiting impatiently for the movie to start, in vain. Along with the rest of the disappointed crowd, I left the room to find refuge in the enjoyment of an ice cream.
My next experience was one Sunday afternoon. My mom and dad had taken the four of us to watch The Longest Day that had finally arrived to our little town, years after it had been released and had won 7 Oscars. This movie brought back into existence the phantasmagoric world that motion pictures had created when I was 3 or 4 years old. My interest for cinema grew and I became an avid reader of the film section in my dad’s newspaper. I knew it upward and downward, backward and forward and I could answer up on film details better than if I had watched it.
One day, my dad brought a TV home. I watched with passion and enthusiasm all the Westerns. I wouldn’t miss one and if two different films were playing at the same time on two different channels, you would hear me cuss the TV programmers.
Many years down the road, I returned to the theater. It was a large and majestic theater with a lot of moviegoers. It had long black curtains, a ceiling simulating a star sky, comfortable seats. I watched back to back, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Brian De Palma’s Carrie. I walked out of the theater in some kind of shivering daze and my fascination for movies grew stronger.
Many more years later, I became involved in movie making… but that’s another chapter.