At a rich person’s penthouse apartment the other night, Charlotte Rampling was feted for her new documentary, Charlotte Rampling: The Look.
Rampling is the extraordinary presence who’s pierced the screen with her intelligence from Georgy Girl and The Night Porter to the current apocalyptic wedding film Melancholia.
It’s fitting that our brief and bizarre encounter was like an outtake from an arthouse movie.
Me: Nice to meet you, Ms. Rampling. I’m a fan, and I liked you in Melancholia.
Her: Thank you. [To publicist] He liked me in Melancholia.
Me: Let me get you before they all pounce on you.
Her: Are they gonna pounce on me?
Me: Absolutely. Was your documentary authorized by you?
Her: It had to be.
Me: Is your secret to good acting always going for the truth?
Her: You could say that.
Me: So you never bullshit?
Her: [Pause] Not very often. Three very good questions.
Really? I felt it was going so awkwardly I wanted to jump off the expensive rooftop.
A photographer then took three very good photos of Charlotte and I together and she murmured, “They told me this is called a pig in a blanket,” as she glamorously dove into a canape.
“I have to leave and see Godspell,” I muttered.
And then they pounced.
Bizarre stuff — surreal, almost — yet way lovelier than my screaming encounters with Anita Ekberg and Jeanne Moreau.
For illumination, I later looked up the Times review of the documentary, which described the actress as “enigmatic” and said of the movie:
“Ms. Rampling is presented as an endlessly watchable mystery, an aloof but affable sphinx.”
Yep, sounds right.