Yesterday night I had dinner at some friends’ place in Rue Monge, 5ème arrondissement of Paris.
My friend Patricia and I were supposed to bring the wine, but we couldn’t find a store near them and so, since she was carrying a lot of bags, I told her to go straight to our friends’ place, while I would have gone in search of the wine.
I started walking, but strangely enough the famous “Nicolas” sign wasn’t anywhere to see. My only chance was to go towards Rue Mouffetard, a street full of shops. Once I approached the road, I realized that something was going on. At first, I just thought that half of the population of the 5th arrondissement was out, taking an apéro en terrasse, but then a young woman got close to me and politely asked me to go on the other side of the street, because "it wasn’t possible to go any further". I probably looked at her in disbelief, because she looked back at me and she asked me the same thing in English. It was just at that moment that I understood I stumbled upon a film set.
The little piazza and the final part of Rue Mouffetard were plenty of big trucks, technicians and curious people. They were filming in front of a fruit & vegetables little store, not particularly nice, I have to say. At first, I just thought they were shooting an advertisement and I didn't pay much attention. Plus, on the opposite side of the street, I finally saw the wine store sign. I managed to cross the piazza, and once arrived where the people were gathering, I recognised Owen Wilson standing outside the shop. Oh, this is a movie, after all... and it must be a Wes Anderson one! – I thought. But then somebody near me started whispering: C’est Carla! I looked back: as a matter of fact, Carla Bruni Sarkozy was talking to Owen Wilson. Oh, this must be the new Woody Allen movie, then! My eyes now were looking for him. And there he was, one of my favourite film-makers, watching what he just filmed on a small screen. He was so concentrated: he looked like the outside world didn’t matter to him at all. I know this could sound stupid, but in a way it felt so natural to have found the set of a Woody Allen movie just around the corner, here in Paris. Because this is how life should be. The whole time, I mean. I could have stayed there forever, just looking at the lovely mess all around.
But then I remember my friends waiting and my mission: the wine! I entered into the shop: every single person, the owners as well as the customers, instead of looking at each other or at the bottles of wine, was looking outside the shop windows. Everybody was talking about what was going on in the street. The Parisians, for once, put aside their proverbial discretion and were talking to strangers.
Since what time have they been filming? – I asked to the shop guy.
Since 5 pm. Are you Italian? My accent ruined the whole thing, again, I thought.
Yes, but I have the wrong surname’s colour, I replied.
He looked at me inquiringly: he didn't pick up the joke.
He couldn’t know that, instead of having a Bruni in front of him, he just had a Bianchi.