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  • Writer's pictureGustavo Azevedo

Di Soppiatto (Sneaking In)

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

In late October of 2021, the Rome Film Fest took place. Apart from film screenings, it also awarded big names such as Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) and Tim Burton (Beetlejuice). Some of the newspaper staff decided to attend.

After minor research, we found out that the closing film was Marvel Studio’s Eternals. I quickly bought the tickets for me and my two accomplices. To protect their identity, we’ll call them “Blank” and “Organ.” The date and time were set, and we were excited.

Initially, we thought we were lucky enough to watch the movie weeks before its global release. Turns out, the majority of the cast was going to attend the red carpet. This included: Chloe Zhao (director of Eternals), Angelina Jolie (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), and Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians). Our new goal was set: get to the red carpet.

Plan A was simple: acquire tickets for the red carpet. Unfortunately, they were sold out. With Plan A quickly out the window, Plan B was a little more complex; re-use tickets from the previous night. The festival area presented extra blockades. Due to the sea of fans waiting for the cast, security was increased. Going around the guards wasn’t an option, for there was a long walk and we’d be met with two to three police officers at the end. We faced all of this before even getting near the red carpet. And this was the easy part, since we did have tickets for a film that was going to be screened that night.

With the red carpet being at 6:30 p.m., we arrived around 5:30. This gave us a good hour to scope out the area and find possible trajectories. We walked up to the first line of guards; there were three of them, and a supervisor hanging back. Once they checked our tickets, we were in. Now, we attempted to reach the actual red carpet seating. It towered over the sea of fans, fancy outfits and red carpeting below. It was our best chance to see the full cast together.

Walking up to the usher, I sent Organ a screenshot of my ticket, hoping that they wouldn’t check for two Gustavos. Order was key to our operation. Organ went first, then Blank with his own ticket, and then me. Organ’s ticket was immediately denied, it didn’t scan. Looking like three oblivious tourists, we bring up our actual tickets for the screening. No dice. Fortunately, we had a few minutes to find the best spot by the press and plant ourselves there for the night. Luck was on our side.the perfect place was secured; no bush or person in front of us. All we had to do was sit and wait.

About 5 minutes in, a mix of impatience and adrenaline took over my body. I couldn’t stay still. Looking around, I noticed that some people were given a poster to be signed by the cast. Immediately my Gen-Z brain shifted my goal, I needed to get one of those posters. In a hurry, I told Blank and Organ to look after my spot. I exited out of the area, went up to the first person that had a poster, and asked where I could get one.

“All out,” he said.

Disappointed by the loss of a great souvenir, I made my way back to the entrance. To expedite the process, I went directly to the guard that let us in. I handed him the same ticket I did before.

“Your screening is not here,” he said, already hailing the next person in line.

“I know, but you let me in 5 minutes ago!” I said, panicking.

He then shrugged and started talking in Italian. My oblivious face made him pull another guard in. I showed him my ticket again and he just repeated what the first guy said. The screening is not within the festival area. It was at a separate theater. Did I just miss out on the red carpet because of a poster? To make sure the answer to that question was “no”, I tried to come up with something.

“Ah, I see,” I told him. “Crap, I need to let my friends know, then.”

“Call them,” he said.

He’s good.

“I can’t, I’m not getting service. You and me, let’s go get them.”

This birthed another problem. Was I about to get my friends kicked out of the red carpet? In a moment of panic, I came up with dozens of plans. What if we don’t “find” my friends? What if I simply lose him in the growing crowd around the red carpet? The guard got someone to cover his spot and started leading the way. As we walked down towards the crowd, Blank made eye contact with me. Since I was standing behind the guard I took my pointer finger and placed it in front of my mask, telling Blank to not say anything. The guard and I walked right past him. We made it all the way to the crowd when the guard turns around.

“Do you see them?” He asked.

I shake my head.

“Alright, I’m going to take you back out, we’ll find another way to get them,” he said.

Suddenly, Blank tapped me on the shoulder.

“Gustavo, everything ok?” He asked.

Seeing my plan go down the drain, I acted as surprised as I could.

“Ah! Here, sir, this is my friend.” I said.

“What about the other one?” The guard asked.

He's really good. I could see Organ from where I was standing, she was not aware of what was happening. Maybe I could act like I don’t see h-

“Oh, she’s right there!” Blank says.

At this point, we were all getting escorted out. I told them about the poster, not being let back in, and that our screening was across town. With our heads down, we accepted defeat. As a way to cheer ourselves up, we remembered that we still get to watch the film early. As our excitement came back, we didn’t notice that the guard who was escorting us got distracted helping other people before he fully escorted us out. We looked around and all the guards, including the supervisor, had their backs to us. Luck was on our side.

We looked at each other and without saying a word, we speed-walked back to our spot. After 10 minutes of tension, the guard never came back looking for us. The excitement started to creep back into my veins, we made it (again). With the lesson learned, I planted myself at my spot and patiently waited until the cast arrived.

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