As I'm in Berlin for just
one night, I try desperately
to stay on New York time. This morning
I read Proust to sleep--and isn't
all of Combray at heart a paean
to sleep?--and midafternoon I arise
to scoop up all the messages
shoved under the door. There's one
from Nancy, who must have called
at 5 in the morning, her time.
"I was writing notes to send out
with the bound galleys." At 5 o'clock?
"I was anxious."
For the next hour, Sig runs calls for me
from the office. CAA, UTA, ICM--
I check in with everyone's agents.
Sig: "It's two thumbs up--congrats."
How high up? And up what?
Tonight is Sig's guest appearance
on Law and Order. I ask Anne to order
him flowers, and grab an hour
for a glorious walk through
Berlin's mundane streets, circling
vaguely in the direction of
Ka De We. The bright sunlight clarifies
next to nothing. There are buildings going
up and down everywhere; workers,
on their breaks, sprawl out on the sidewalks
by the various imbiss (imbisses? imbissi?),
talking on their cell phones. At
the department store, I ride up
to the children's floor, but first,
on impulse, I buy a lipstick ("True Red")
for Nancy, and, for the first time
I can remember, a bottle
of eau de cologne (Kenzo Pour Homme) pour moi.
What was I thinking? I never use
the stuff, but had a vague sense that
I should smell like something
for the festival on Friday. It's probably a sign
of middle age. Or an homage to
cologne-obsessed James Schuyler,
whose poetry I try to imitate.
I call Kutlug at the production office.
Eurimages has turned down the film for
financing. "Let's discuss
the depressing stuff when we meet tomorrow."
At the Akademie, before the screening,
Martin impassively relays the news of
today's disaster from the film he is shooting
in Hamburg. It seems that the lead actor
has a second career as the head of a major
drug-smuggling ring, and in the middle of
the second week of shooting, a dozen police
swept onto the set and hauled him off.
"They don't have insurance for that."
Martin is sending lawyers to his arraignment
tomorrow to beg the court for six days
to shoot him out. Otherwise the film might
get junked. And I'm worried
about party tickets? I catch the first half-hour
of the film, then go upstairs to Ulrike's office
to make calls. It's a rotary phone, and the
dialing, dialing, dialing is oddly calming.
Click click click click click. There's a fax from
Stanley Kwan on her desk. He must
have finished shooting by now. I wonder how
he's taking the first chilly whispers
of Chinese rule in Hong Kong, free spirit
that he is. Back in the deserted cafe,
there's still a half-hour before the screening ends.
I eat some kind of empanada, which,
the waitress tells me, has "fleisch and vegetarians
in it." I cautiously probe it with a fork,
only to look up and see Maria Schrader
running toward me. We made a movie together
seven years ago, and now she's a wonderfully
big star in Germany. "They just
told me you were here." I would have called
but Arndt told me you were all in
Düsseldorf. "I am, except for tonight." It turns out
a film she's in will screen right after
the Ice Storm reception. "But you don't have to
sit through it." By way of a lucky accident,
the print they're screening is subtitled in
English, so I stay. It's a love triangle,
and Maria gets more than one tour-de-forcey type
scene. For all the emotions, it's
pleasantly restrained, modest--though those
Germans sure do go for male frontal nudity
at the drop, so to speak, of a hat. Is all the showering
some kind of national obsession,
a residual echo from all those health films
from the '30s? Afterward, my driver
and I wander around the Tiergarten looking for where he
parked the car. Happily, he doesn't seem
embarrassed, as I wanted a walk anyways.
The bed is turned down--there's a chocolate
on my pillow. I suppose I've earned it.
As I'm in Berlin for just