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Venice Filmfestival
By Paola Ferrante

Dearest JCO surfers, you won't believe what I'm going to tell you! I just can't realize how happened what happened! I went to Venice, at the Film Festival, together with my sister Giovanna and... we saw Jim, we photographed him, we met him, we asked him two autographs, we told him we had been running a web site dedicated to him, we thanked him for coming to Italy, we hugged him, we even kissed him!!! And, that's really unbelievable, my sister interviewed him during the press conference!!! He's so gentle, and humble, and he's so kind and so handsome.

I went to Venice on the 5th of September morning. It was an awful day. There was a nasty weather, stormy and windy. Nobody could tell me if Jim was already in Venice or not... and the only thing I could do was to buy a ticket for "The Truman Show" premiere that was on the day after.

On the 6th' morning, my sister and I decided to go to the Lido very early. On the boat, Giovanna saw a guy with a photo pass for the Film Festival. So she decided to approach him and ask him if he knew something about Jim. We knew that Jim was near to come to the Lido, or better to the Excelsior hotel harbor. So we decided to go outside the Excelsior hotel.

Jim arrived at about 11 a.m., together with Linda, and probably (I don't know her) together with his hairdresser, Paulina. People could see the boat arriving in the small harbor of the hotel from a terrace located outside the hotel, on the street. Instead photographers could wait for Jim just where he arrived with the boat. The access was denied to fans, and only people with a special pass could wait there. There was a locked gate and a little road that led to the harbor where Jim's boat was going to moor. Unfortunately there was a security man outside the gate... but as soon as he turned his head on the opposite direction Giovanna jumped over the gate and ran towards the harbor. Once reached that place, she was 'safe' because she was surrounded by so many photographers that no security guy could see her. Unfortunately when I tried to do the same thing, a security guard saw me, so I had to see Jim from the terrace. So I saw and photographed him when he arrived.

He stopped for a while with some journalists, then he entered in the hotel. Giovanna was able to approach Jim; she hugged him and also kissed him. She asked him to autograph her ticket and if it was possible to have a pic together with him. He said there was no problem. He hugged her, he smiled and posed for the pic, but the guy who took the pic didn't press the button, so he didn't take the photo. As soon as Giovanna realized it, she asked Jim to pose again... and he did it. He was very very nice and sweet. Then Giņ thanked him for coming to Italy and she told him that together with me she had been running a Fan Site dedicated to him. He was very happy to know that Italian people loved him... and he seemed a bit surprised to know that even in Italy there were a Fan Site dedicated to him. Anyway, after that he entered in the hotel, and so did my sister.

After 5 minutes, she phoned me and told me to go to the back entrance of the hotel. So I did. When I arrived there Giņ let me enter in the hotel and took me to the press conference. After 5 minutes Jim arrived together with all "The Truman Show" staff (actors and director). We reached the seats of the first rows and took some other pics. Jim had a big smile on his face and very messy hair. He recognized my sister, smiled and said "Hi!" to her. Journalists started interviewing Peter Weir, and nobody asked anything to Jim... So Giovanna put her hand up in the air and a hostess asked her if she wanted to ask something to Jim. So Giņ told him... "This was the first time you worked together with a director who's more famous than you..." - and Jim said, ironically: "What? Who's more famous than me?"... and Giovanna answered: "I'm sorry. I love [you]. I just told that because the director is here!" So everybody started laughing. Then she said: "Were you worried about not being allowed to express your own ideas?" Jim replied with a very long answer, looking at her during all his reply. He was very polite.

Anyway, I attended the conference and then we tried to follow Jim when he posed together with Peter Weir for some photos. I was able to reach Jim and I said hi to him and I pinched his cheek. He really is a rubber-faced guy! He smiled to me and said "Hi!"

After his photo session, my sister rushed up to him again and asked him to autograph a pic. As there were a lot of people, Giovanna was pushed and pressed and so Jim. Jim was very worried, in fact he told her it was safer not to stop to sign the autograph: "We'll both get crushed!" he said. As she insisted, Jim wasn't able to say no and signed the photo. You can't imagine how kind he is.

Later he had to be interviewed by reporters. The most interviews were located on a balcony that looked on to the beach and there a lot of young Jim's fans started calling him. He appeared at the balcony and as the fans couldn't reach him, they threw him papers and notebooks. Jim kept all the stuff and signed it, then he threw it back. It was fun because some notebooks really hit him, so he delighted his audience with his inimitable funny faces. Anyway then I left the Excelsior and came back to my hotel.

I went to the premiere. At 0.30 a.m. Jim arrived dressed in a blue suit. Jim spent a lot of time waving and shaking hands of all the people who stayed in line behind the barriers near the catwalk. He arrived at the premiere together with Linda.

Regarding "Truman"... It's so beautiful and Jim's superb. He really deserves an award. Everybody after seeing "Truman" said that if the film had been in competition, it would have won the Gold Lion and Jim would have won the award, Coppa Volpi. All the Italian newspapers wrote that Jim was bravo, fabulous. Everyone clapped and cheered after the projection for more then 8/9 minutes. I was so happy. While everybody was applauding, Giovanna approached Jim again and gave him a letter where she thanked him for being so nice with her.

The day after we decided to go to the airport. I didn't know if Jim had already left Venice or not. Anyway, I saw some photographers and I asked them about Jim. They said he would leave Venice at about 1 p.m. I waited from 10 a.m. since 1.20 p.m. ... when I saw him coming on a boat, with sunglasses and his hair combed with grease. He was so beautiful. Jim and Linda bought a lot of things in Venice. Jim bought Tods' shoes and Hogan's shoes. He also bought about 10 lamps of Murano's glass. I saw all his luggage at the airport. I said goodbye to him when he entered in the restricted area.

Well, that's all. We were lucky, but if he wasn't so gentle we wouldn't be able to talk to him and to photograph him.

Thank you again, sweet Jim.