Sunday, October 03, 2004

Rome Travel Diary, Day 3

I got a lie in this time, until 7 a.m., because the others had some filming to do I don't remember where. They picked me up at 8 and we drove down the Appian Way to the catacombs. A little filming outside but most of it was inside the catacombs; lots of walking up and down not talking for all the in-between shots, some walking and talking, then the main piece on Mark was filmed in a spot next to a fish and Chi-Rho symbols. The questions on Mark were the same sort of thing as for Luke and John yesterday, though now with particular stress on Mark as the first Gospel. Why did he take this radical new step? Who was he? Where did he get his materials? As far as I understand it, this sequence in the catacombs will come after the material on Paul, featuring Eddie Adams out in Ephesus and filmed last week. We linked it in by talking about Rome and about persecution, and persecution as a possible back drop for Mark.

It was a bit nippy down in the catacombs and this rather focused the mind; had to make sure I didn't delay things by needing to retake anything. One long pause was caused by a camera lamp breaking, just before we were to film the Mark material. After that, we had to use the ordinary electric lightbulbs on the ceiling, and it is pretty dim down there. So Robert and I stood directly underneath the light, quite close together. Apparently it looked quite good, so I'll be interested to see it.

In between the Mark shoot and the Matthew one, it was great to get outside and bask in the warm sunshine just for long enough to thaw out. Like yesterday, I was ravenously hungry throughout -- getting up early, only a croissant for breakfast, on your feet, trying to concentrate; whatever it was I was really ready for lunch later when we got it.

We did the whole of the Matthew section inside the Sebastapol chapel and sitting down. Same format, but as with each one some specific focus on the Gospel in question. With Matthew, we really focused on the question of its Jewish nature and I attempted to explain, in response to Robert's questions about anti-Semitism, that in order to understand it we need to read it in its intra-Jewish context. I also talked a little about Matthew "re-Judaising" Mark's Jesus. Just after this interview, we did lots of shots of our walking to that spot from different angles, and so on, and Robert fell up some steps. Just after that, when he asked a question, I started giggling and the others all did too. Having gone through that barrier, it became difficult to be serious again and each time I looked at Robert, he or I or one of the others giggled. Unprofessional, perhaps, but it was quite a happy few minutes; it was so close to the end of the shoot that perhaps there was something of relief in it that we were getting to the end and that all had gone well.

I am sitting at Rome Ciampino airport now, finishing this travel diary. I have too long a journey home, with a train ride from stansted to Birmingham longer than the plane journey from Rome. But I have the paper to read, one book left, and an article to write which was due last Thursday, and I have a lot of sleeping to do. I've enjoyed keeping this travel diary and may repeat the experiment on a similar work-related occasion. Otherwise, back to normal blogging again.

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