Feeling rather tired and been working (on work stuff!) this evening – end of financial year is generally a very busy time for me and probably my busiest time of the year. Part of my job for June is to handle several hundred renewals, a whole bunch of new business, not to mention regular support questions…by the end of the 30th. Throw into that a few last minute additions including a webex and a teleconf plus associated bits and time suddenly disappears.
However, I have realised that I never quite round to doing a round up of my film festival experience and recommended flicks. Last Saturday night was an unusual event in that we, that is those of us who sit together each year, got together for an evening *outside* of film festival. It was a really lovely evening and it was good to hang out and chat, mostly talking film and other bits and pieces. More importantly, we weren’t restricted by tight timetabling, queuing, and smuggled wine. We were also joined by one of the projectionists, who has stepped down after doing the job for 29 years so he may well be joining us in the seats next year. Splendid company all round.
Filmfest was a fairly tight affair this year, with most movies having relatively short gaps inbetween. This made it difficult to find time to duck out and grab food or fresh air – though I did manage a reasonable diet of soup and sandwiches throughout. While there was the occasional annoyance with queuing, it didn’t seem as pronounced as the year before. in 2009, people were made to queue for 45 minutes outside in the cold while the festival hosted a private function in the foyer as part of the premiere of The September Issue. Regulars were either stuck inside the theatre with no clue as to what was going on, or if they did duck out were forced to join the ginormous queue that snaked around the block.There was nothing of that sort of excess this time thankfully. A few odd times when I was trapped in the foyer for what seemed to be little reason, and a couple of times when they decided to clear everyone out of the cinema…which seemed pointless to regular diehards like myself.
As for the movies themselves, it seemed as if smoking had become a lot more popular. There were films where the folk on screen were smoking constantly, and some films where the sexier/more interesting characters kept lighting up. I’ve not really paid attention to film smoke before, it just seemed more noticeable this time round and I don’t know if that was intentional or accidental. Anyway, here are my picks for the fest, in no particular order, including links to my brief reviews:
- Me, Too, directed by Álvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro – Spain [review]
- White Material, directed by Claire Denis – France/Africa [review]
- Prince of Tears, directed by Yonfan – Taiwan [review]
- How I Ended This Summer, directed by Alexei Popogrebsky – Russia [review]
- Home by Christmas, directed by Gaylene Preston – New Zealand [review]
- Dracula, pages from a virgin’s diary, directed by Guy Maddin – Canada [review]
- I Am Love, directed by Luca Guadagnino – Italy [review]
- Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik – USA [review]
- Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by Banksy – UK/USA [review]
- Moloch Tropical, directed by Raoul Peck – Haiti [review]
- Kawasaki’s Rose, directed by Jan Hrebejk – Czech Republic [review]
Not a bad list and a very broad mix of movies. All up, I saw 30 movies in the week and a half of festival. Though it sounds like a lot, I think this is my lowest number ever. It reflects how much the subscriber programme has shrunk as even a year or two back it was around the 35-40 movie mark.
Though I’m happy not to return to my early days, when I was still a student. In those days, my subscription pass got me into everything in the subscription package (evenings during the week and all day on the weekends) and everything in the alternate cinemas. I effectively spent two weeks watching movies from 10 in the morning to close to midnight, occasionally 1am. In those days, my festival tally was probably around 90 or so films in two weeks. I don’t have the stamina these days…and actually I didn’t have it then either, as I would regularly fall asleep in some of the documentaries. All up, I have now been to 18 consecutive filmfests which still means I’m something of a young’un with the crowd I was with on Saturday night :-)