|A scuba diver--just visible above the gondolier's hat--in a canal near the church of I Frari|
|A frame from the 1973 film Don't Look Now|
Considering it's a corpse that is brought out of the water in the film, I wasn't sure we should linger and watch what the firemen were busying themselves about. But we have a friend in the fire department here and based upon what he's told me it's much more likely the Venetian FD is called upon to bring a cat (or iguana, as you can read here: http://some-tails-of-venice-fire-department) down out of a tree than a corpse up out of the water.
So we stuck around and, as happens anytime you stop and look at anything in Venice, other passersby stopped and watched, too. (Try it: people are so primed to look in Venice that you need only stop off to one side of a tourist thoroughfare, stare at a blank wall, and you'll soon have company). Then a gondoliere with his fares arrived and, finding his usual route blocked by the fire boat, stopped and watched. Then another gondoliere and his passengers, who also was told to stop by the firemen--as the water taxi in which Sutherland rides in another scene in the film is blocked by police detectives in a small canal.
After a few minutes the two gondolieri got tired of waiting and set off in the direction they'd come from. There was still no indication of what the firemen and scuba diver were up to. There was nothing happening at all, really, as far as we could see, except for the frogman disappearing beneath the water for short periods of time, then reappearing. Sandro wanted to get to his kids' party and I'd gone through whatever frisson was available to me in watching a scene in real life that recalled a scene in a film.
How much of what we are able to see, or notice, or recognize, or value is determined by what we've seen before? Almost everything, I sometimes think, even if the precursor is a cinematic scene of death and you have, in the present, your vibrant child beside you.
And so we resumed our course to the party, to a small ragtag eruption of life in a city of art.