Saturday, June 8, 2013

Now and Then: Guns n' Cigarettes

Last Fall, I was lost in my thoughts, exploring some quiet back lanes in Istanbul I've seen described as "gritty."  Just as I was about to walk into a busier area, someone tugged on my sleeve, stopping me in my tracks. 

A bizarre scene unfolded in front of me. First some men in suits walked out from a side street towards some men seated at a cafe table. A punch-up ensued, then out came the guns.

I had been witnessing the shooting of a soap opera: the camera and crew were out-of-sight down a side street. Everyone in the above picture is an actor or an extra.

I was thinking about the "Istanbul Shooting" today, which revived memories of another shooting I had witnessed back in the summer of 1970:

I was backpacking around Europe and was now in front of the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. The scene started with the nannies holding their right hands high in the air. Then, to a heavy beat, they jerked their hands down to eye level, and looked with joy and amazement at what they discovered in their hands: packets of cigarettes.

I had been watching the shooting of a cigarette commercial. Today, the scene is so wrong on so many levels.

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