23.30 15 down 10 to go
It had to happen sooner or later. There was no avoiding it.
At some point during my film festival marathon, the pretentious art house film was going rear its ugly head and finally it did, in the form of Turkish drama, Climates.
It's not that Climates was a bad film, I've definitely seen worse. It's just that nothing happened. For two hours, we sat waiting, anticipating a climax that never eventuated.
Instead, it was just an endless series of close ups, zoomed in on perplexed looking actors that never said anything but sighed a lot, interspersed with panoramic long shots of various Turkish landscapes.
Apparently it won one of the top awards at Cannes, which just confirms my initial reaction. Pretentious.
I rather wish I'd seen Harry Potter instead.
The good news, however, is that I have passed the halfway point and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. As long as I don't encounter too many more desperate tales of woe, I think I can go the distance.
I think my brain may have adjusted to this madness now, and instead of
trying to take everything in and analyse it, I seem to be able to watch a film and forget about it.
Or perhaps today's films were simply less thought-provoking than yesterday's line up...
Hmm, riddle me that.
20.05 14 down, 11 to go
Finally - a documentary that sticks to the point. Timing in at a very reasonable 76 minutes, Run Granny Run was long enough to discuss the subject matter in full but without straying into superfluous, repetitive territory.
The story of one woman determined to make a difference, Run Granny Run highlighted the corruption and breakdown of the American electoral system, without being overly political.
We had low expectations entering the film and were pleasantly surprised. I'm still not convinced I would vote for 94-year-old politician but I admire Granny D's gusto. The woman's got balls.
So now it's on to the final film of the day - Climates (yes, the one I mistakenly thought I was going to see last night). According to Flicker, it is a romantic Turkish film with a dark twist. But as I learned earlier today, what the book says is not necessarily what you get, so it will be interesting to see just how this pans out.
Fortunately the film is screening at SkyCity Queen St cinemas, which means the comfort levels will be far superior to that of the Civic or SkyCity Theatre. Plus, they have popcorn.
All in all, today is going much better than yesterday. The happy vibes from Priceless have stuck with me throughout the day and I am feeling far less drained. My eyesight is also holding its own today - as opposed to last night's blurred vision.
Also, I met Chris Siverston before and will have his Q&A up tomorrow. For someone who made such a disturbingly dark film, he was a surprisingly sweet guy. In fact, in a moment of pure delirium, I actually told him that. I think I said "Yeah, I thought you were going to be some kind of dark, twisted creep, but you're not not..."
Fortunately he laughed. Lovely man.
17:05 Well, that's an hour of my life I'll never get back...
Billed as "wacky, poignant and hilarious', Build a Ship, Sail to Sadness would be better described as painful, nonsensical and dire.
Take one crazy Dutchman, put him on a moped in the Scottish highlands - covered in snow - and film his bizarre conversations with the locals, trying to convince them that a mobile disco in a caravan is just what the community needs, and you essentially get this film. This grainy, budget, visually repellant film.
Yes we laughed but only because we couldn't believe anyone had made such a ridiculous film.
Needless to say I didn't stick it out to the end. I left after 40 minutes to come and tell you all how bad it was before I interview Chris Siverston, director of indie horror flick The Lost, which screens tonight.
Must dash now. Report back soon!
15:15 Ahh . . . peace has been restored to my world.
As quickly as the deeply depressing Children deflated my spirits last night, Priceless managed to restore them this afternoon.
A typically French romantic comedy, Priceless was just what the doctor ordered. Audrey Tatou returns to her roots and is simply delightful as a calculating gold digger.
Though the rom-com genre is one not typically seen in a film festival line up (it is to film what McDonalds is to fine dining), the French manage to get away with it in a way that no one else can. What would be cheesy and over-the-top in English is irresistably charming in French.
Even the out-of-work actor adored it. In fact, he laughed harder than I did.
Before that, there was a 70s comedy Smile - an inside look at the mystical world of beauty pageants. The fact the film stood up, 30 years on, and could still make people laugh, is a testament to the quality of writing - and just how stupid beauty pageants are.
It was however a touch on the long side and I had to run out before the end, to make the 1pm screening at The Civic,
After seeing Priceless, which ran close to two hours, I decided that the comfort levels of The Civic's seating directly correlate to the entertainment value of the film.
My fidgeting was at a minimal level throughout the French flick, as I was consumed by the story before me . . . As opposed to last night's film Golden Door, which saw me shift and shuffle constantly and at one point actually sit on the floor in an attempt to regain feeling in my backside.
So - two down for the day. Things are vastly improved from yesterday's misery. This afternoon's treats include a Scottish film about a man on a scooter with a travelling disco (yes, you read that correctly) followed by documentary on an American grandmother running for congress.
In other news, I had an epiphany last night. I realised the reason this assignment is such a strain is because it is removing me from reality for more than ten hours a day.
Every time I enter a screening, I enter an alternate world, sealed off from outside thought. Where normally I would spend my day working and thinking a billion different thoughts, I am solely focused on what is before me. Thus when I get out, my brain is trying to catch up on all I've missed. Hence the temporary insanity.
Okay - that's all for now. I will report back soon with news of the travelling disco . . .