Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lamberto, Sister Elena, and the High-Res Proofs

I hate to scroll past our little photo feature so soon, but there is some more up-to-date information that needs reporting.

First of all, I was very pleased to receive an e-mail from Lamberto Bava congratulating us and expressing his interest in having Donna and me come to Italy later in the year to present the book. I don't know what "presenting" a book entails, but my arms deflate like rubber bands at the thought of all the copies of this 12-pound book we should take to Italy with us if we go, to present to various interviewees and research associates. But where there's a will, there must be a way.

My friend Daniela Catelli, who interviewed Carlo Rustichelli on my behalf and also translated many important documents for the Bava book, met Lamberto the day after our e-mail exchange while he was doing a press junket for his new film GHOST SON. She e-mailed me the day after to let me know that Lamberto told her that his aunt Elena -- Mario's older sister -- passed away after a long illness about three months ago, at the age of 95. Sister Elena, the Mother Superior of the Order of the Sacred Heart in Rome, was one of the most important interviewees for the Bava book, as you might well imagine. Back in the year 2000, I asked her grandniece Georgia if she could forward a letter to Sister Elena, in which I asked for her memories of her brother, which resulted in a lovingly compiled jackpot of reminiscences and pictures that gave me everything I needed to write the book's earliest chapters. She wrote with great, twinkling animation, full of spirit and excitement; it was obvious why her family had such great affection for her. In 2002, Lamberto told me that it was fortunate I contacted her when I did, because she was quickly succumbing to a condition that left her unable to communicate sensibly. Thanks to her, I was able to report so many valuable details about the family history, the circumstances of Mario's birth (even the name of the doctor who delivered him!), his childhood nickname, their years of working with their father at the Istituto LUCE, to name just a few things. I salute Sister Elena for her great gift to posterity.

In the days after I posted the photos of Donna and myself examining the low-res book proofs, we received two separate further shipments from Hong Kong containing the high-res proofs. Wowee wow wow. Going through these has been a much more absorbing process; I was able to page through all the low-res proofs in about three hours, but the high-res proofs held my attention for more than a minute per page -- I'm not talking about fact-checking, as we're now well past that stage, but in terms of soaking it all in, appreciating what's there. I will be posting more pictures in the days ahead to give you a better idea of what I mean.



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