This postcard comes to you from a French movie set. I know it sounds glamorous but really it's no big deal, me being a screenwriter and all. I'm the token American they keep around for reasons I don't comprehend. It beats working a real job and for the most part it's quiet.
Today was an exception. I come out of the trailer, and it's uncanny, what I think might be coming toward me up the Champs-Élysées: a Panzer tank on the move, its tracks gripping the asphalt, turret and canon rotating left and right as though searching.
It takes me an elongated moment to determine whether Polanski is kidding about this, whether the tank actually belongs to his set, but the period is all wrong, the tank being a Panzer of the variety Nazis waged blitzkriegs with, a conjured death object from his long ago past.
I gaze around for anyone with whom to exchange a reassuring glance, or possibly, a bleak comprehension that what I'm seeing actually belongs in the movie because it's not in the script. But I meet no one's eyes for they're also looking at the Panzer, and like me, only half-believing it, tracing the tank's context, sussing out the situation one way or another, what it might mean to them, what kind of delay or obstruction might be expected. And then the tank fires and the whole thing becomes absolutely personal.
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