8 Aug 2019 - The 'Pain and Glory' Premiere

August 8th, 2019.

Somerset House usually hosts one premiere per year, and that is the opening night of Film4’s Filmfest. IN prior years those premieres have been variously sized, and variously accessible. Last year, for ‘The Wife’, all fans were held back behind distant rope barriers and only allowed access to the stars when they indicated a willingness to sign, but in prior years only a small ‘wedge’ of barrier space was made available (‘2 Days 1 Night’ and ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’), or the premiere was literally too small to even have barriers (‘Pattycake$’).

But for this one… erm…. Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz (Oscar Winner), and Pedro Almodovar (Oscar Winner). BIG…. and inevitably things would get weird. Here’s how it went down:

“I don’t know what to tell you.. the carpet will end where it ends… tis not for you nor I nor anyone to tell a carpet what it must or must not do.”  I’ve tried to argue with a carpet. It doesn’t work.

“I don’t know what to tell you.. the carpet will end where it ends… tis not for you nor I nor anyone to tell a carpet what it must or must not do.” I’ve tried to argue with a carpet. It doesn’t work.

There have never been quite this many fans at a Somerset House premiere before, and it is very clear that any hopes that an entire edge of the three sides of this rectangle will be bestowed upon us are entirely unrealistica. Typically interview media gets the ‘right and left’ edges, and paparazzi get the edge facing the doorway. The question is… what happens to us?

There have never been quite this many fans at a Somerset House premiere before, and it is very clear that any hopes that an entire edge of the three sides of this rectangle will be bestowed upon us are entirely unrealistica. Typically interview media gets the ‘right and left’ edges, and paparazzi get the edge facing the doorway. The question is… what happens to us?

I join you know from my spot at this premiere : OUTSIDE the premiere. In this case, the only place outside the premiere where you can get views INSIDE the premiere is the convenient San Miguel summer bar set up right next to the premiere. Two pints of beer and a small whiskey-glass of salted almonds doesn’t give you much change from a crisp twenty pound note… but here I am.

I join you know from my spot at this premiere : OUTSIDE the premiere. In this case, the only place outside the premiere where you can get views INSIDE the premiere is the convenient San Miguel summer bar set up right next to the premiere. Two pints of beer and a small whiskey-glass of salted almonds doesn’t give you much change from a crisp twenty pound note… but here I am.

My view to the hallowed doorway of Somerset House is not what you’d call “ideal”, and I’m too scared to remove my Nikon D4 and its trusty 80-200mm f2.8 lens from my backpack too soon lest it draw unwanted attention. On the other hand… I’m a paying customer, my beer is delicious, and if I want to take selfies with the most ridiculous camera-and-lens-combination imaginable, who’s to stop me?

My view to the hallowed doorway of Somerset House is not what you’d call “ideal”, and I’m too scared to remove my Nikon D4 and its trusty 80-200mm f2.8 lens from my backpack too soon lest it draw unwanted attention. On the other hand… I’m a paying customer, my beer is delicious, and if I want to take selfies with the most ridiculous camera-and-lens-combination imaginable, who’s to stop me?

“This pole is NOT a euphemism, damnit!” - I actually brought my monopod AND my GoPro-on-a-selfie-stick to the premiere, but based on my current spot the ideal camera and lens is my Pentax with a mid-range non-zoom lens which actually looks like something a normal person might carry into a bar. (Code for : I’ll remove the Nikon when I know I can do it discreetly!)

“This pole is NOT a euphemism, damnit!” - I actually brought my monopod AND my GoPro-on-a-selfie-stick to the premiere, but based on my current spot the ideal camera and lens is my Pentax with a mid-range non-zoom lens which actually looks like something a normal person might carry into a bar. (Code for : I’ll remove the Nikon when I know I can do it discreetly!)

It’s Antonio Banderas! He’s arguably still best known for playing ‘Zorro’ in ‘The Mask Of Zorro’ and ‘The Legend of Zorro’ and a large percentage of those ‘Shrek’ movies (75%? 80%? I don’t know…).

It’s Antonio Banderas! He’s arguably still best known for playing ‘Zorro’ in ‘The Mask Of Zorro’ and ‘The Legend of Zorro’ and a large percentage of those ‘Shrek’ movies (75%? 80%? I don’t know…).

“You have never watched those Zorro movies? Then I must insist you do so. Now if you don’t mind, your camerawoman is very pretty and I am obliged by my Spanish heritage to flirt with her…”  I took a grand total of 116 frames on the Nikon at this premiere, which at 10 frames per second suggests I used it for approximately 11.6 seconds in total. Actually, it was slightly longer - steady, controlled bursts are definitely the way to go.

“You have never watched those Zorro movies? Then I must insist you do so. Now if you don’t mind, your camerawoman is very pretty and I am obliged by my Spanish heritage to flirt with her…”
I took a grand total of 116 frames on the Nikon at this premiere, which at 10 frames per second suggests I used it for approximately 11.6 seconds in total. Actually, it was slightly longer - steady, controlled bursts are definitely the way to go.

“I’m not sure why she’s grabbing your arm and not mine… where am I going wrong here?”  Antonio Banderas looks confused.

“I’m not sure why she’s grabbing your arm and not mine… where am I going wrong here?”
Antonio Banderas looks confused.

“I don’t care if those headphones are drowning out all ambient sounds or what, my good man… but she clearly likes you more than me. It might make no sense, but you insult me if you don’t make something of this budding relationship”  Antonio Banderas will be checking your relationship status on facebook after the premiere.

“I don’t care if those headphones are drowning out all ambient sounds or what, my good man… but she clearly likes you more than me. It might make no sense, but you insult me if you don’t make something of this budding relationship”
Antonio Banderas will be checking your relationship status on facebook after the premiere.

Well, it’s finally happened. I’ve now become someone who photographs people through bushes. I always kind of hoped it’d be for Scarlett Johansson, but no, turns out it’s for Pedro Almodovar. Then again, he HAS won an Oscar. And    my feud with Scarlett Johansson    has not yet ended.

Well, it’s finally happened. I’ve now become someone who photographs people through bushes. I always kind of hoped it’d be for Scarlett Johansson, but no, turns out it’s for Pedro Almodovar. Then again, he HAS won an Oscar. And my feud with Scarlett Johansson has not yet ended.

If you can tear your eyes away from the blurry Antonio Banderas in the foreground ( ,…. ladies,   ) - Penelope Cruz might finally have finished doing interviews at the far end and could be moving over here. And I might take another sip from my San Miguel as she makes her way over.

If you can tear your eyes away from the blurry Antonio Banderas in the foreground (,….ladies, ) - Penelope Cruz might finally have finished doing interviews at the far end and could be moving over here. And I might take another sip from my San Miguel as she makes her way over.

Penelope Cruz, like Pedro Almodovar, has an Academy Award to her name. But there’s a rope barrier, two metal barriers, two Security and at least one guy with a fetching vertically-striped shirt between us. Regrettably, while I’m on two pints of the Amber Liquid and may have just enough confidence that stupid ideas work, I’m probably not physically nimble enough to carry them out.

Penelope Cruz, like Pedro Almodovar, has an Academy Award to her name. But there’s a rope barrier, two metal barriers, two Security and at least one guy with a fetching vertically-striped shirt between us. Regrettably, while I’m on two pints of the Amber Liquid and may have just enough confidence that stupid ideas work, I’m probably not physically nimble enough to carry them out.

“Well… your loss”  Well… damnit.

“Well… your loss”
Well… damnit.

“Have I ever considered a return to black’n’white film? Never more than now, if I’m honest”  Pedro Almodovar is regarding that cameraman’s amazing shirt with about a third of the awe it should really be entitled to, in my opinion.

“Have I ever considered a return to black’n’white film? Never more than now, if I’m honest”
Pedro Almodovar is regarding that cameraman’s amazing shirt with about a third of the awe it should really be entitled to, in my opinion.

“Swing round again… is that PENELOPE CRUZ??” ”I have no idea… but that is SOME SHIRT that guy is wearing”

“Swing round again… is that PENELOPE CRUZ??”
”I have no idea… but that is SOME SHIRT that guy is wearing”

“Neither of us are trying to look at it directly…. but it’s not like we don’t know it’s there”  I just want to know whether that shirt should be worn out in public. Shouldn’t it, like, be in a museum or something?

“Neither of us are trying to look at it directly…. but it’s not like we don’t know it’s there”
I just want to know whether that shirt should be worn out in public. Shouldn’t it, like, be in a museum or something?

“If I could ask you a question about anything other than the shirt my cameraman is wearing?” ”Any question on any other subject would be an insult to that shirt, and I won’t have it…”

“If I could ask you a question about anything other than the shirt my cameraman is wearing?”
”Any question on any other subject would be an insult to that shirt, and I won’t have it…”

Penelope Cruz and I share a moment that will echo through the ages, but I’d be lying to myself and everyone if I cropped THAT SHIRT out of the picture.

Penelope Cruz and I share a moment that will echo through the ages, but I’d be lying to myself and everyone if I cropped THAT SHIRT out of the picture.

Between you and me, I know that this website and these journals’ views don’t really justify the amount of time, effort and money I spend on hosting these images. In a hundred years, will anyone care to remember premieres from the opening decades of the 21st Century? Maybe not… but if war, or famine, or global warming or zombie apocalypse were to destroy this shirt and my photo of it one day assists in its reconstruction… it will all have been worth it.

Between you and me, I know that this website and these journals’ views don’t really justify the amount of time, effort and money I spend on hosting these images. In a hundred years, will anyone care to remember premieres from the opening decades of the 21st Century? Maybe not… but if war, or famine, or global warming or zombie apocalypse were to destroy this shirt and my photo of it one day assists in its reconstruction… it will all have been worth it.

…. but until that day, I’ll be happy with this photo.

…. but until that day, I’ll be happy with this photo.

So… that was that. A premiere photographed from a paying, semi-unsanctioned vantagepoint, and on 2 pints of beer. Was it worth it? (If your answer is “yes”, feel free to track me down and let me know… sometimes I forget).

Until next time!

And as usual, it’s +1 to the archive, and an invitation to follow me on Facebook, or on Twitter, or on future Social Media Platforms yet to be devised once they come online and I can be bothered to join them.