As I look at my BAFTA wristband I can’t help but think: why am I here, in front of the Royal Opera House, standing in the rain at 3 degrees all wrapped up in 5 layers of clothes which don’t seem to work very well as my hands are already swollen and red?

BAFTA Film Awards 2013 - Press Room - LondonIt may happen once a year, but the day London stretches the red carpet on Bow Street in Covent Garden, is a well-awaited one by thousands (!!) of fans, people who go to the cinema with a passion but now want to see their favorite characters from the past year coming off the screen. To earn that spot by the red carpet some have been camping in the street for a couple of days and some others like me, still did something outrageous, taken into consideration the fact that I just like any other decent human being care a lot about my comfort and sleep (especially on a cold February Sunday), and joined the queue at 6am only to wait to get the wristband for another 3 cold hours. When I finally get it and find out that I’m in the first 300 I somehow experience this rush of euphoria. But then it hits me: why do we do this? What is it about the red carpet and the stars that will walk on it that keep us in the freezing cold here?

I look around me and see people of different ages and nationalities all sharing a common passion for contemporary cinema but more than anything we all worship these people to a much higher degree than the rest. We see them as these gods of our real world, ghosts of the screen, incredibly inspiring characters and put them on a pedestal and then emotionally bow to them. Today we are all here because we want to see them with our own eyes and reassure ourselves that they are real, that they exist off the screen and they walk and talk just like us. It is this illusion of brief physical closeness that keeps us in the streets – we thrive off the idea that by the end of the day we will have seen, maybe had a picture with them or even get a signature and then flaunt it in our friends’ faces on our social media peers as if saying: look, I’ve been touched by a divine force, I have met the guy from the “You Name It” film. But even if I do acknowledge the degradation degree of the situation, still, here I am proud and happy to have earned my wristband.

…there are people with experience in this humiliation…

BAFTAAs we return and take our places by the barriers another 4 hours before the stars arrive are bound to pass. Around me there are people with experience in this humiliation – people who have been through this years in a row and now share their experiences of their interactions with the Hollywood stars, as if they have them on speed-dial.

“Oh Jessica Chastain is so lovely and kind.”

“Nah, you should hear what Brad Pitt told me…”

…the stars make themselves so approachable…

So there’s another observation: more than being able to be close to their favourite stars for a brief moment, these people, aspire to something else. If originally the actors in the films were meant to inspire the viewers in aspects of how they lead their lives, to give them that kick to achieve their dreams regardless of where they come from or even as simple as fashion-wise, these days the fact that during the awards season and at the big premieres of their films, the stars make themselves so approachable (or do they?…). Us, the mere mortals begin to aspire to somehow be part of their entourage, we like to talk about them as if we knew them personally even if the only time we could talk to them is when we thank them for their signatures if we are lucky enough to get one!

Again I must return to my previous point: we live this life in which we are caught up in what seems to be a dull and mundane living, always complaining, nothings ever good enough, there always seems to be a problem but when we take two hours and emerge in a film we see a piece of life that usually ends well and it gives us hope and see those people on screen as people who manage to have a better life than us. It doesn’t take a degree in Film to make the difference between the character and the actor but even I sometimes like to think that there is a bit of those actors in each of their characters so I automatically associate them, together they are one, no difference whatsoever.

…I had been screaming Bradley Cooper’s name for about 10 minutes…

BAFTA3So we place them in this halo in which they shine and then we jeopardize our health for 8 hours in the freezing cold to be able to be closer to Abraham Lincoln, to Jean Valjean or Django just for a minute, but then our lives will suddenly improve: we will be able to say: “I have seen Daniel Day-Lewis in the flesh on Sunday. He waved at me!”. This mirage is what keeps us going time and time again and fill those spots by the red carpet. However if we could see ourselves from the other side I bet the view would be absolutely hilarious. I myself have caught myself in a moment where I had been screaming Bradley Cooper’s name for about 10 minutes without stopping, at the top of my lungs, holding in my hands above me a pathetic poster I made that said “Bradley, please come over.” It was snowing by now and my poster was wet, and even if he did come over, I didn’t even know anymore where my little notepad was to grab it and have it signed. But still I was trying my best – and I did it so well that I managed to interrupt one of his interviews from the red carpet.

When I say “I” I mean all the people around me that joined me in my chants to get him over to sign things for us – this only got us a cheeky over the shoulder look from him and nothing more: he couldn’t be bothered to ruin his tux in the snow for us. And again, I can’t be mad and start stomping my feet because I try to see things from their point of view: they are humans just like us, they might have their problems not be in the mood to smile and please their fans, even for that one day, they might not feel well, or they might have a strict PA – who knows: on mount Olympus (in this case the hills of Hollywood) things don’t work like they do on Earth…

…woken up on the pavement wrapped in plastic bags…

At the end of the day as I squeeze the water out of my clothes I think of the difference that barriers make: on one side there are the people who have woken up at noon in a Savoy room overlooking the murky Thames, jumped in their designer clothes, been pampered by the best stylists and ate the best food. On the other side there are the people who have woken up on the pavement wrapped in plastic bags, ate McDonald’s and jumped in too many layers of hideous warm clothes – all for one moment with these stars. If unluckily the weather doesn’t allow them to have that moment for the mere mortals this day was taken as a defeat whereas for the others it’s been a wonderful crazy weekend in London, which included a star-studded gala in the Royal Opera House where their work has been acknowledged and rewarded by those who do see them as artists, people who make this world better through their art.

About The Author

I am slowly but surely making my way to achieving my ultimate dream: to make films and/or music videos. Therefore I am now a Film Studies student in London. Trusting that a film maker needs to know a bit of everything, I have tried throughout my life to gain that vast knowledge (before I even knew what my dream was) - from playing the piano, to performance swimming, to directing plays and short films, to reading everything I could. All the pop music that I've listened to and all the movies that I've seen have only managed to broaden my imagination which became my favourite tool when I sit in front of a piece of paper with the pen in my hand. I love words and I think they are the easiest ways to clear your mind: whether it is a film/album review or a sincere approach to a certain topic, I like to write whenever I can. With a very personal, feminine, a bit eccentric, very detailed and often poetic style, I will try to come up with as many fascinating articles as possible.

One Response

  1. Magda

    yes indeed – I been there and really …waited in the rain and sleet..but I come a long way so after all it was worth !

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