Rome 2
Rome 1

Votre aéroglisseur est trop large

The film-set was a triumph of plywood which portrayed a time in the future when the world, clearly down on its luck, had mysteriously become exactly like a grimy concrete multi-storey car-park in which people shouted and looked anxious and occasionally cooked blue jelly in a space-age device styled along the lines of a Morphy Richards microwave circa 1980. You have to remember that in 1986 mobile phones were the size of breeze-blocks, computer monitors were like rabbit hutches and everything electronic had big clunky oblong switches made of white plastic. The future high-tech world portrayed by the film mirrored its time: boxy, lumpy, over-sized, analogue.


A girl with a high pony tail and a clipboard pushed her way through the throng to adjust Ernest’s dirty tabard, a garment which seemed, in various shapes and colours, to be the prevalent fashion in The Future. A make-up person mopped his brow; the hairdresser carefully arranged a stray lick of hair. I waited eagerly for the scene to continue but when after half an hour of milling about with the crowd, absolutely nothing had happened, I found a new place to mooch. I had learned two important principles of film-making.

1) It’s two per cent interesting. That means it is ninety-eight per cent boring.

2) There are always three times as many people as necessary to make a film and nobody knows who they are.


These two principles are self-supporting in a way because when your mind completely runs out of things to think about in the doldrums of wasted time, you can fill some of the hours idly trying to figure out the people, distinguishing between those who have a job to do from the vast army of hangers-on. What is that person doing here? Does he have to bring that dog? Are two vets really necessary? Is he wearing a wig? Is that the turkey trainer’s wife, girlfriend, assistant, daughter or none of these? Isn’t the girl who serves on the catering van also an extra in the angry down-trodden crowd scene? These questions are never answered, not that you care about them anyway, and the day drags on.