“Like trying to steal the bloody Mona Lisa,” Timothy Spall’s character, Charlie, utters in disgust when two thieves burst into his Bury Street antique jewelry shop hoping to smash and grab.
Calling themselves Cameron and Clegg after the British Prime Minister and Deputy, and played by Kevin McKidd and Josef Altin, their target is a butterfly brooch Napoleon commissioned for his mistress. The brooch is worth over a million pounds; however, as Spall’s character points out, its value lies in its history, not in its gemstones. History is a lot harder to sell on the black market. “The film is about preciousness and what the definition of preciousness really is,” writer and director Simon Aboud insisted when we spoke with him last December in London. Buying a piece like Napoleon’s brooch “is not like buying a ring at Tiffany’s, [it’s a] generational thing; you buy it so you can keep it, so someone else can get it.”
Filmmaking is not for the impatient. After making its debut at the Berlin Film Festival in February, last night’s New York premiere was the last stop on Comes A Bright Day‘s nine-month press tour. With British Airways sponsoring the screening (guests were greeted by air hostesses), the atmosphere was one of British pride—a global company eager to bring British art with it. We were a little confused when we arrived on the red carpet outside the Bryant Park Hotel—a crowd of paparazzi and people waving Beatles vinyl records spilled out onto the street, not the sort of frenzy you’d associate with a small, independent film by a first-time director and writer. Then Aboud’s father-in-law, Sir Paul McCartney, strode past. Plenty of friends and family came to gleefully support the filmmaker, including the aforementioned Paul, Simon’s wife Mary McCartney, and Steve Buscemi. After the screening, which was sponsored by British Airways, guests headed to a very appropriately located afterparty at Christie’s New York.