mercoledì 27 giugno 2012

Goodbye, Nora!

I really can’t believe Nora Ephron left us.
I had the chance to meet her last January in New York, where we were seated in front of each other during a dinner at my friend Antonio Monda’s place. I was at first intimidated by the fact of having her at the other side of the table, but Nora was so kind and smiley that after literally 10 minutes we were talking and laughing together like we were old friends. It was quite easy to find a common ground: she was crazy about cinema as much as I am. That night, we were discussing about TV series. She was a huge fan of Homeland, a series I still had to see at that time (and when I saw it, I completely agreed with her), while she didn’t like The Killing, that I actually loved, and so we discussed a lot about plots, constructions, dialogues. She was very curious and genuinely interested in knowing my opinion, and this was very nice to experience. I remember she was incredibly witty: every now and then she was saying something so funny that every person around the table couldn’t stop laughing and looking at her sparkling and smiling eyes.
The only time I saw her a bit sad was when I asked about her new projects. She said she was writing and actually had some things ready but that it was very hard to find the money to produce them. I thought it was quite incredible that she had troubles finding money. 
I mean, Nora Ephron was not only a reputed filmmaker and screenwriter of great comedies, but also a committed artist, a feminist, an important novelist. There must be something rotten in the reign of Hollywood not to give enough space to a woman like that! Don't you think?
Before she left the apartment that night (together with her lovely husband Nicholas Pileggi, the screenwriter of Goodfellas and Casino by Martin Scorsese... hey, what a couple, by the way!), I managed to tell her my admiration: I do believe that When Harry Met Sally has been the last perfect American romantic comedy. And I also let her know that the first time I decided to visit New York (back in 2000), was immediately after having seen You’ve got m@il. I told her: once I saw New York in that movie, I just couldn’t wait any longer to come here! She seemed happy to hear that.
I’ve always been in love with that movie: the streets of New York in autumn, the bookshop of Kathleen Kelly: The shop around the corner (of Lubitsch-esque memory)... ah, the deception when I found out it wasn’t real!, the apartment where Kathleen lives, Kathleen and Joe’s chatting, the presence of Indie actress Parker Posey in the role of Joe’s girlfriend, the café where they met the first time (Café Lalo, and that was real, because I went there immediately!)… everything was so charming, adorable, funny, and incredibly romantic. But never cheesy, because Nora Ephron was too smart to be cheesy.
There was this sentence, simple but really special, that was stuck in my memory for ever and was almost a compendium of what New York means to me: Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

I think that if I knew Nora's new address, this is what I would send her today: a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils, with a short note: Thank you!

9 commenti:

  1. I have so much to say about this, I don't even know where to begin. First, you're so lucky you got to go to a dinner party and were seated next to her! I totally believe that she is as disarming and wry and sharp as she seems in interviews. Second, I totally agree with you that When Harry Met Sally is THE touchstone romantic comedy that other movies have tried to emulate but never even come close. It's funny, sweet, the character progression is totally believable, and the dialogue is eminently quotable (one of my favorites: "Everyone thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor, but not everyone could possibly have good taste"). And Sleepless in Seattle... another movie I love to quote. Funnily, You've Got Mail was an acquired taste for me, but it finally got me under its spell. I really loved Meg Ryan's wardrobe in that movie (I think it was Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis?). I still can't believe you got to discuss film with her! Wow!

    if you want to read another funny piece from her, she wrote a great cookbook review on Food 52 that still makes me chuckle whenever I see the cookbooks in a store.

    1. Dear Josephine, yes, I was SO lucky to seated with her at that dinner. I will treasure that memory for ever. She was really special, and I don't say this now because she passed away. She really was really special! I'll read the piece you indicated to me, thanks.

    2. Please give us a link Josephine.
      I can't find a thing on Food 52...

  2. THANKS so much for sharing your personal experience with Nora.
    I love your line,
    'Nora Ephron was too smart to be cheesy'
    She was so the best of New York for me.
    merci carolg

    1. Thanks! It is nice to see how much she was loved!

  3. Che bel omaggio che hai fatto a questa donna... I love the bouquet of newly sharpened pencils ;-)
    Baci, M

  4. What a fantastic tribute Zazie... she will be missed... her humour and her understanding of females was brilliant... xv

    1. Thank you, Vicki! She will be missed a lot...


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