Lights, Camera…Action?

Today in La Repubblica, one of Rome’s daily newspapers, was an interesting article about the closure of the Piazza del Popolo – an important square in Rome. I wrote about the Piazza del Popolo on my blog this past April, but now it is in the news for a different reason. The piazza is featured in the new movie, Nine, a remake of Fellini’s 8 1/2 starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, and Penelope Cruz and directed by Bob Marshall.

While it is not uncommon to find locales in Rome used for movies, what has drawn the anger and resentment of many citizens is that the piazza is closed! That’s right, closed to the public from 6am to 5pm — that’s almost 12 hours that one of Rome’s most beautiful and bustling piazzas is closed to the public. This past Sunday all residents were barred from crossing or entering the piazza, angering many. One resident, as quoted in the article in La Repubblica, said: “Ma è possibile che per qualche ciak si debba paralizzare il centro storico anche di domenica?” (“But is it possible that for some takes the historic center should be paralized also on Sunday?”)

Rome’s populace is angry because this part of the city is a popular transit point, and, with it closed off, many people have had to change the way they reach their destinations, specifically the Piazzale Flaminio, which is home to the Flaminio Metro Stop as well as a connecting stop for tram service. Residents claim that they were given very little notice of the closure, which has only infuriated them further.

One resident even wondered why the piazza couldn’t be partially recreated on the set, as have so many other monuments and Roman locales have done? It’s an interesting debate — do you allow popular locales and piazzas in Rome to be used for movie sets, risking damage to some of the most beautiful piazzas and monuments all for the sake of art and cinema?

*The original article in Italian can be found here:
**photo: Piazza del Popolo, June 2004; by Erwin Roodenburg