Movie Legend Sir Christopher Lee at Opening of Rome Film Festival 2009

Sir Christopher Lee at Rome Film Festival 2009
The fourth edition of the Rome Film Festival began yesterday on the very day that the balmy Indian summer that Rome had been previously enjoying ended abruptly, so it was a very chilly walk up the red carpet for the stars attending the European premiere of Danis Tanovic's war movie Triage. Possible because of the sudden December-like temperatures, crowds were noticeably thinner for this opening event than in previous years, and there were rumbles of disappointment when it became clear that the film's protagonist, Colin Farrell would not be appearing. However, the director Tanovic, and Farrell's co-stars Paz Vega and a true living legend of cinema, Sir Christopher Lee, were there. I'd rushed over to the Auditorium, in fact, when I heard that the recently knighted Christopher Lee would be appearing! He was greeted with spontaneous and respectful applause as he made his way up the red carpet, whilst Paz Vega signed autographs and posed for numerous photographs. The famously shy Margherita Buy, the Italian actress who is the “Madrina” of this edition, looked stunning, if visibly cold, as she braved her way through her obligatory photo call.

With Richard Gere, George Clooney, Meryl Streep and the Coen brothers lined up to appear later this week, hopefully the festival will gather more momentum and draw bigger crowds.

In what is almost a tradition at this festival, there was also a noisy political protest just prior to the arrival of the VIPs, when Gabriele Paolini - well-known to anybody who has watched the news on Italian television, for his attempts to disturb reporters by standing behind them during live outside broadcasts – suddenly appeared, megaphone in hand, and shouted a tirade against Silvio Berlusconi.