Meet the Godfather

At the Godfather shooting site with the great John Cazale and Marlon Brando

I was a bit of a cynic lining up to get into the theatre. So what? He is visiting. I really haven’t seen his work lately. What’s he up to anyway?

Then he was at the stage center, no emcee. He talked about his new project. He talked about what inspired him and his research. Then he began talking about his dream. The man was born in 1939. And he still has dreams, big dreams. I shifted in my seat.

He is extraordinary. I thought to myself.

I then recalled my most esteemed professor said he greatly admired the director. “He was broke twice making the movies he believed in.” I felt his love for film when he talked.

As he wrapped up, he added an anecdote—

My father played flute, but all he wanted was to be a composer. I direct films, but all I ever want is to become a writer. There are people born with talent that most of us have to trade with hard work. Born into a family like mine, I have to work hard to prove that I am something. So I direct and I work.

For the first time, I realized that having a house full of great artist relatives is not fun to be around. Fortunately, he didn’t flinch. I thought that came from some great parenting. Or it’s just great gene?

Before fading out from the stage’s side door under the spotlight that resembles the God in Bruce Almighty, he turns around and told us a joke about a legendary teacher of his time encouraged his film students to call him by his first name. Pause.

“You can call me Francis.”

Cue the longest applause.

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