My Brush With Fame

Lucky me had the privilege of attending the opening night of the Melbourne International Film Festival on Friday (thanks to my clever friend for inviting me, and David, for the tix).

I haven't been to one of these does (do's? dos? they all look wrong) for many a long year, and for some reason on arrival I was quite startled to see an actual red carpet and lots of famous people being photographed. At least I assume they were famous because I didn't recognise most of them. However I did see John Safran and Derryn Hinch so that was a thrill.

Later on (having been ushered down the plebs' section of the red carpet, not past the photographers) the most exciting event of the evening occurred: Sandra and I were coming out of the toilets, chatting away as you do, and barrelled straight into Jose Ramos-Horta, President of East Timor, and his entourage, including a bodyguard with very impressive gold braid looped all over him and a don't-mess-with-me hat.

President Ramos-Horta was in attendance because the Opening Night film was Balibo, the true story of the murder of six Australian journalists during the invasion of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975. It was a harrowing story, all the more so because we knew that members of the journalists' families were in the audience, as well as many East Timorese who suffered terribly during the years of Indonesian rule. It must have been almost unbearable to watch.

It seemed massively inappropriate to file out of the film and into the huge opening night festival party, with footage of the real Greg Shackleton (one of the journalists) from 1975 flickering on a big screen. However the food was fabulous and the crowd certainly glittered and a good time seemed to be had by all.

I hope I can make it to at least one more session of the Festival; I want to take Alice to Coraline.

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