mercoledì 20 maggio 2015

Vladi and Brigitte Bardot

I first met Vladi in March of this year, in a daytime homeless shelter in Trieste. He was waiting and hoping for a bed assignment ticket, which would allow him to keep a roof over his head for 3 nights. He was friendly, started talking with me and when he noticed my camera asked me for a picture.
I don't know how old he is, neither I asked him about. I just know that he comes from Bulgaria and that he spent a lot of time of his life working as a french-bulgarian interpreter in Sofia and in Tunisia as well. In 1987 he fled from his country to Italy because of his opposition to the communist government.
On Tuesday, while wandering on the promenade, I met him again outside a little pine grove, where he was sitting on a stone bench. He called me and asked me for 1 euro.
He didn't initially recognize me: his memory plays sometimes nasty tricks. Just when he saw my camera he remembered me and invited me to sit down with him for a while.
He started talking about the First World War and asked me something about. He added that in Bulgaria the Great War is also known as "the captains' war", with reference to the fact that those times, in his country, there were not great military generals.
I asked him to tell me something amazing about his country, but he made a wide and nervous gesture with his hand, as if to say "I prefer not to talk about this". He looked sad, and also tired. But all of a sudden a little smile drew on his lips. He looked straight in my eyes and asked to me: "Do you know Brigitte Bardot?".
"Yes I do", I replied.
"I mean: did you ever meet her?"
"No, I never had the pleasure."
"But I had", he said briefly and started to talk about the times when he was working in Sofia. Once (that's at least what I understood) he received a call from his boss, asking him to go urgently to the Film Studios. There he met Brigitte Bardot, the popular french movie star, who was acting in a film together with her second husband, Jacques Charrier. Vladi was their interpreter, stayed with them throughout the filming, and became friends with both of them. His only regret is that he couldn't see Jacques Charrier anymore, even when he went looking for him in Saint Tropez, at Bardot's home. "They were already divorced", he finally said.
While Vladi was talking, I pictured all the situation in my mind and realized that, true or not, this story is the only one the old homeless guy remembers with delight. I was really moved by that and this is the reason why Vladi is today's winner.

That's all.

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