Blonde at the Bar
Our resident blonde Joanna Hunkin on dating and the social scene

Blonde at the Movies: Sanity intact after day one

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22:30 Five down, 20 to go
Ha! Day one is over, my sanity is intact, no diseased people breathed on me and I have yet to see any cinematic disasters.
The last film for the day, Audience of One, was an inside look at a group of religious zealots, intent on making a multi-million dollar feature film, described as Star Wars meets the Ten Commandments. Riveting.
Unfortunately, said zealots had absolutely no experience making movies and were relying solely on God to show them the way...
What started off as an amusing and unbelievable tale soon became wearing as the film-makers deliberately sought to portray the religious group as the lunatics they clearly are.
Unfortunately, anyone with half a brain could work that out in the first five minutes, thus the remainder of the film became repetitive and tedious.
Still, it could have been worse. The main point is I have survived my first day of film festival madness and am feeling remarkably more confident that I can go the distance and see all 25 films.
Watch this space...
20:00 Four down, 21 to go
I'm not sure what's more incredible - the fact Gary Huswit spent the past two years of his life making a documentary about a font. Or that more than 500 Aucklanders headed out on a wet and windy Monday night to see a documentary about a font.
That said, it was slightly less surprising once the director asked the audience how many of them were graphic designers - and half the room raised their hands.
Quirky and unique, Helvetica was as amusing as it was informative.

Earlier today, Huswit told me what made the film such a delight to make was meeting people who were so passionate about their chosen field. Having now seen the film, I can see exactly what he meant.
As one interview subject said: "Some people like women's bottoms. I like type."
Yes, they are geeks. But they are happy geeks.
So just one more film to go. I will admit I'm starting to hit the wall a tad. There was definite fidgeting going on during the last film.
Next up - Audience of One
18:00 Three down, 22 to go
Right, so I finally have a minute to think. There is an hour before my next film screening so, for the first time today, I have the chance to update you properly.
I just saw TV Junkie - a film compiled from years of Rick Kirkham's home video diaries, edited down to show the rise and fall of the established television journalist and crack addict.
Leaving the theatre, my head is filled with questions.
My first thought watching the film was: "What kind of narcissist films themselves every day for more than a decade?"
Did he always intend to turn it into a feature film and if so, wouldn't that have affected his behaviour and response to situations, thus making it contrived and not an accurate portrayal of reality?
Throughout the film, Rick's wife comments on the presence of the video camera and implies that Rick has altered his behaviour because he's "on tape".
Which then led me to ask: "Is Rick's narcissism a by-product of his decade long drug addiction, or is it that very character trait that saw him become an addict? Did he believe himself to be invincible and think he wouldn't become a victim of the drugs?"
I realise this doesn't make much sense if you haven't seen the film, so I encourage you to head along - and send me your thoughts when you do.
It has been an afternoon of anti-drug sentiments. Both TV Junkie and Sherry Baby have confirmed Whitney Houston's immortal words - crack IS whack baby.
As for other festival goings-ons; I have been impressed by the numbers turning out for film screenings - even in the middle of the day.
From students to grandparents, business men in suits to mothers with pushchairs, it seems everyone is making the most of the line up.
Running between SkyCity Theatre, The Civic and SkyCity Queen St cinemas has been a bit of a pain - particularly in the wet weather. However, I have devised an ingenious route through the Atrium on Elliot and up through SkyCity Convention Centre, which has kept me reasonable high and dry.
It's coming up to 6pm now and my sanity is still intact.
The thought of another two films doesn't exactly fill me with joy, but neither am I filled with trepidation, so all-in-all it's going well.
So far the major downside to this experiment is that I am unable to fully take in each film and reflect on it, before I have to sit down to the next.
Switching from the atrocities of the holocaust, to the drama of a recovering drug addict trying to win back her child, to an egomaniac spinning out of control, is more than my poor brain can handle and I find myself trying to watch one film, while still consumed by the previous one.
Still, as far as work goes, it's not half bad.
Next up - Helvetica. Woop!
15:34 Two down, 23 to go.
Two thoughts.
One, my feet are cold. Damn rain, crappy shoes and air conditioning do not a happy combination make.
The fact that this is all I could think about throughout Sherry Baby did not bode well for the film.
Second thought is, though it was well acted and well made, Sherry Baby had the distinct feel that - barring the graphic sex and nudity which was largely irrelevant to the plot - it could have been a made-for-TV special.
That said, without such gratuitous shots of Maggie Gyllenhaal's breasts, I doubt the film would ever have been included in the festival line up.
As the out of work actor accompanying me said, "it's aaaaart darling".
However I may be alone in my thoughts; as we walked out several women were overheard raving about the film.
From my point of view it was a poor follow-up to the outstanding documentary I Have Never Forgotten You, which began my viewing for the day
Next up: TV Junkie. Here's hoping things improve.
In other news, my bum is surviving surprisingly well. SkyCity Theatre appears to have improved its comfort levels in recent times.
13.14 One down, 24 to go.
All I can say is wow - what a way to start my movie marathon.
I Have Never Forgotten You is a documentary on Simon Wiesenthal - a holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to hunting Nazi war criminals.
The film is his life story, comprised of archive footage of interviews with Wiesenthal, newspaper clippings, photos and interviews with his family, friends and colleagues.
Narrated by Nicole Kidman, the film draws heavily on original footage from Nazi concentration camps.
Disturbing, raw footage, the likes of which I have never seen before.
It is real life version of The Pianist.
While the film opens with Wiesenthal's traumatic tale of survival, the following hour and a half looks at his life and how he dedicated it to catching Nazi war criminals - including Adolf Eichmann, the man who conceptualised The Final Solution.
I may find myself repeating this sentiment throughout the festival - but I really believe this is a film everyone should see.
I would elaborate more but I'm running late for the next film - Sherry Baby.
Oh also - I interviewed Gary Huswit this morning, producer and director of the documentary Helvetica (which I'm seeing tonight).
Delightful man. I am very much looking forward to seeing the film now.
Will post Q&A soon - Promise!

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