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selected from shoot diaries spanning three decades

To Anghiari with Talent TV

17th June 2004

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Having spent months moaning to all and sundry about the making of yet more films about football, Tony Humfreys, one of the sundry, caught me unawares with the offer of a lifetime: three short films for NHK Japan, to be shot in a Tuscan hill village, subjects to be determined, but all to look delicious and promote the virtues of High Definition and to be shot using kit supplied by Tokyo. High production values, top DoP, full crew. The community of Anghiari have seen the value of this publicity and are putting us all up in their mediaeval home, and feeding us in local restaurants. 

Within ten minutes of leaving Forly airport, it becomes obvious that despite what he says, Tony's Japanese side-kick, the mysterious import/export tycoon and occasional TV producer Aki Tagaki, last seen six years ago in Scandinavia, does not know where the village is, and that following his advice has us very hot and very lost. The Fiat Punto has not been made that can safely contain a simmering six-foot Humfreys. Tagaki is lucky to be alive, especially given his habit of removing his seatbelt so as not to spill chocolate crumbs on his Comme des Garcon trews. 

Eventually, we arrive and the recce begins. Today it has involved meeting Communist councillors and rather more centrist landowners, climbing spiral staircases, riding on tractors through tobacco fields and sampling olive oil. Followed by a four-course dinner inside the Mediaeval walls, atop a stony hill, beneath stars so bright we don't need candles.