Sunday, March 1, 2015

We went to the "movie"

Back to when I was still looking for interesting places and different things to do, Matera came out as one of the "must go" places for the city and the Sassi (see Matera Rocks!! post), but also for something else! Apparently its streets and surrounding scenary are great to shoot movies set in the ancient times; the most famous is Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ.  So two weeks after that Internet search, there we were, in the streets that had seen many different filming crews!

When we first arrived we went directly to the booked Bed and Breakfast and met Sophie, the sister of our host. They are both French and really nice! Sophie, with whom we talked the most, was happy to answer our many questions and gave us a news that we were not expecting: "You know, they are shooting another film now! It's the new movie of Ben-Hur! If you go out you might see them!" Of course, that sounded amazing to us! As movie enthusiasts, this sounded like a one of a kind opportunity!

So we went out! The night was already falling but our hopes were up! In the first viewpoint, where we wered amazed by the old city itself, we also spotted a specific area that was highly illuminated. That had to be it! Even in the distance we understood that we were looking to the place where the "action" was happening! So we decided to try and reach that area. I confess that with that distance and with no clue of where they were in a map, I was not too hopeful! A few ups and downs, following some signs (there were actually signs pointing somewhere saying "Location", I still have no idea what location they meant!) and we were at a point where we couldn't even locate ourselves in the map (again, see Matera Rocks!! post for the whole story). So we decided to just enjoy the city for the city itself.

Next morning we decided to head to the most "rocky" place of the old town. When we go around a rock/church, we see these big spotlights being put into place all pointing to somewhere below. In that place below is a set of a ancient Rome-like square and, out there in the distance, a bunch of Roman guards. This was it! This was where they would be filming that morning!

Spotlights over a rock/church
Ancient Rome-like square
Bunch of Romans in the distance
They were actually two sets, just nearby. One of a kind of a market and the other of the Roman square. We just stood by looking into the first one as we chose not to disturb whatever they were doing, and eventually, we started moving again. But to get out of that area we went right through the set of the second set! We even walked pass a couple of Romans carrying another bloodied-face, dead Roman!

Seconds later, and just like Lazarus, he rose! Miracle!! Yeah, it's the miracle of the movies :P. They were not even filming, just rehearsing their scene! As we continued walking into the square, the production team was putting together all the gear. We decided to go behind their "base camp" and watch for a while. People were setting the rails for the cameras, dusting the Roman guards' capes a bit more, rehearsing one time and again with empty glasses and food that was still not there. It was pretty cool!! :)
There are not many photos of it as I didn't want to be kicked out because of that. But here are a few!

1st Set: The market (?)
Andre in set 1

Prepping the 2nd set
Last indications
"Yeah, it still needs more dust"
Before leaving I wanted a proof that I was there :p
From here the two sets were visible. The first is the smoky part, the other is the "busy" area. An impressive view to which the Ben-Hur shooting is only the cherry on top of everything!

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