Saturday, 17 March 2007

Vivian Hsu: The mystery of The Red House


Yes, Casa Rossa is small and it may look kitsch with its remains of the roman past of the Island in a pretending moorish architecture. It is nevertheless one of the landmarks of the village of Anacapri and one of the interesting sights of Via Orlando.


Its recent history has been quite eventful, underlining the strifes between the main city of Capri and its rival up in the hills. Once the home of Maxim Gorki, the dilapidated estate had been given a facelift when it was decided that it would become a "pinacoteca", ie a gallery of paintings acquired by the city. And there are indeed a few gems to be found among the canvases as far as Internet sources have revealed: landcapes and scenes of everyday life on Capri from the Raskovitch collection.The following pictures come from a web-site.


But it didn't take long before some parts of the building had to be closed to the public and finally, the whole estate seems to be left unattended. Once you are no more in the shot of the tourist's camera, the red walls appear in a very bad condition, stained with humidity and the garden behind the house is a real jungle.


Some 13 years ago, the Casa Rossa was still visited by a good number of tourists, among which a group of Chinese people coming all the way from Taïwan. They were allowed to enter the inner courtyard, where to-day only playful sunshines can venture behind the iron gates. They also visited the rooftop with its crenels and they used the stairway that can still be seen if you are nosy enough to catch the hidden sights through the bars and the fences.(the first two pictures have been found a while ago on the Web).


Among them was a shy young girl, a bit disorientated and quite scared by the idea of modelling inside this red museum. But Xu Ruo Xuan, better known as Vivian Hsu, had come to Italy with a team of photographers in order to make a photobook and she would do what she had committed herself to.


By revealing something of her youth and her beauty to the world, she would become a celebrity, but she would also face the misunderstanding of quite a number of her relatives and close friends. But she never deserved the kind of titles that are usual on the Web when mentioning the start of her carreer.


On March 19th 2007, Vivian Hsu will be thirty two years old. The pictures shot here in Anacapri endeared her to millions of young people in the whole world, just as her songs and her dances endear her every year to the heart of her fans in Taïwan. She may have lost her freedom to be an ordinary woman, her right to hide in a husband's house with her own children, but we are forever grateful to her because she represents a ray of hope and loveliness, a myth of neverending youth and never vanishing splendour. She is the closest representation of the beneficial effet of a smile.


As I walked through the narrow lanes of Anacapri, I wished I could meet her there and wish her in my poor english and my inappropriate words a very blessed and joyful birthday. Maybe she will come across this blog some day - it happens once in a while - maybe she will read it on Monday... Happy Birthday Vivian!(this collage uses a picture taken in Taïwan by one of Vivian's numerous fans)

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About Me

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I could be one of the last mutineers of the Bounty, with my eyes enlighted by the wealth of nature and the grace of God the Creator, amidst a large family where hope plays the part of affluence. ***** Un des derniers révoltés du Bounty, les yeux illuminés par la richesse de la nature et la grâce de Dieu, au milieu d'une famille nombreuse où l'espoir joue le rôle de l'opulence.