The narrator of Niven Govinden’s Diary of a Film is a middle-aged filmmaker referred to only as ‘Maestro’. Visiting an unnamed Italian city to attend the premiere of his latest work, a ‘liberal adaptation’ of William Maxwell’s 1945 novel The Folded Leaf, he meets Cosima, an art critic and tour guide. They immediately establish an intense connection, with Cosima revealing that she once wrote a novel. Over the next three days, in which the festival (together with the novel) takes place, Maestro becomes resolved to use Cosima’s novel as the basis for his next film.
Diary of a Film is a portrait of a mind in a kind of grief. Filming wrapped eight months ago. Maestro’s charismatic lead actors, Tom and Lorien, have moved on to other projects. He is chasing the memory of ‘breaking-light-of-dawn shooting’ in the Italian countryside. For Maestro, film is a