lunedì 31 ottobre 2016

New York Stories

The last week of October I was in New York for my job.
It is always amazing to be in this city, which I really adore. 
One of the things I like most is that, very often, incredibile things happen. More easily than in other places. I have no idea why, but I just love it!
This time, I found out completely by chance that my favorite actor of all time, Jeremy Irons, was in town, and I was lucky enough to be invited (by one of the most adorable human beings I know, Sally Fischer, who is Jeremy's agent) to a special screening of the movie The Man who knew Infinity by Matthew Brown, followed by a Q&A with Irons himself at the IFC Center!
The movie relates a true story, the one of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a very poor Indian guy from Madras who happened to be a genius in mathematics. Discovered through a letter by the Cambridge professor G.H. Hardy, he is invited to join the prestigious Trinity College to show his work and theories. The moment is not the most favorable one, though: First World War is about to break, and indifference or, worse, prejudice towards foreigners in the UK is at his highest peek. Thanks to the help and support of Hardy, Ramanujan's work will be recognized and he will become a Fellow of the Royal Society. Having left a young wife in India and being affected by tuberculosis, Ramanujan will go back to his native country, where he died in 1920 only 33 years old. His contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions are even at the base of black holes discovery.
I confess I didn't know anything about this man and I was fascinated by his story: the movie is well crafted and well made, even if it's not exactly my kind of cinema. I thought the Indian part was a bit too weak (the whole wife/mother story wasn't convincing) but by far the best thing of the film is the relationship between Ramanujan and his mentor, G. H. Hardy, brilliantly played (useless to say) by Jeremy Irons.
At the end of the screening, as promised, the actor was in the theatre for a Q&A moderated by an American film critic. Funny thing, Jeremy's dog, Smudge, was at his side all the time. He was very quite and actually slept from the beginning till the end, in a very sweet way, at Jeremy's side:
The Q&A was a lot of fun: Jeremy answered to all different kind of questions, from his method of approaching a role, to the challenges of this particular movie, till the fact that he has scared almost all the children of the planet playing Scar in The Lion King. To somebody who asked him if he enjoyed playing the bad guy in a Die Hard with a Vengeance, he replied: I loved it, they payed me so well! Irons perfectly knows how to entertain and amuse an audience. It is not by chance he is such an incredible actor. 
After the Q&A, Irons talked and took pictures with a lot of fans who came to see him. A warning: don't ask him to take selfies because he doesn't do that! Just ask for pictures, he will be very glad to take one with you.
I didn't ask for one this time (not that I didn't want to!) because the theatre switched off the lights and the next minute Jeremy and Sally were kind enough to get me out with them from a secondary door. When Sally told me they will get me back to my hotel with their car I just couldn't believe it. 
Now I know that my idea of paradise is to sit on the back of a car with Jeremy Irons at my side. I know because I had it.
And yes, dear readers, it was HEAVEN!!!

Another little, funny and incredible story that happened to me in New York, was about one of my favourite things in life, the TV Series MAD MEN (as all my readers know).
Last year in NY, always by chance, I bumped into an antique shop that sell beautiful collections of cocktails sets from the '50s and '60s, and I noticed they had whisky glasses very similar to the ones used by Don Draper. I didn't buy them at that time because I have fallen in love with some other kind of glasses, but I kept thinking about them and so I went back, hoping they would have been still around.
The owner of the shop is a lovely old man, very elegant, who could be easily chosen to play a role in any period drama, and so I started talk to him (he said he remembered me from my last visit, but I have no idea if he was telling the truth... how could he?). I told him I was coming back because of those glasses, that reminded me so much of the glasses used in Mad Men.
I wasn't prepared for his answer: "Oh, well, my dear, actually, it is not that they remind you of those glasses... the production of Mad Men bought them from me. They ARE the Mad Men whisky glasses".
I looked at him in disbelief.
"Well, in this case, I want four of them!"
And then I called the air company I was flying with: "Do you mind if I have two suitcases plus a hand luggage with me on my flight back to Paris?"
Because dreams, as you know, are very fragile, and it is safer to carry them with you.
Old Fashioned, anyone?

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