Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LFF: Week One

Still from Mic-MacsSeeing as how I am sort of cheating on myself by contributing LFF reviews to other parties (see Sound on Sight), I thought I really ought to make it up to myself by delivering something substantial to Kunstblog. So, fresh from tonight's Screen Talk with Jane Campion, I can report on the inner workings of an auteur.

Actually, Campion wasn't that illuminating, and, as I haven't seen Bright Star, her latest (the clips I have seen of wan young things quoting poetry to each other didn't really pique my interest), I can't do justice to her comments on that work. Suffice to say, a lot of thought went into the sound and the palette.

Interviewed by festival artistic director Sandra Hebron, Campion seemed a bit nervous and giggled a lot, which was surprising for one of such gravitas. She revealed she still gets anxious in the run up to a shoot--"terror" was the word used, and that her break from feature directing was something of a mid-life reassessment. Once back on set, she couldn't remember what to do! Warming to the evening's task, she told some great on-set anecdotes, including how she handled sniping by junior crew.

She also graciously accepted a DVD from a cheeky actress in the audience touting her wares. Amazing the woman got close, given the burly security men seen guarding the door earlier. The LFF has bouncers now! In fact, I was tapped on the shoulder and informed gruffly that "she doesn't want to be filmed" when I tested out the sound capability on my new compact camera. Funny profession to go into then, isn't it?

Generally, I have found the festival a bit user-unfriendly this year. Not just the bouncers (guarding what?), but the reams of uninformative information, scanners used at the Delegates Centre, rooms closed off for private functions and the refrain of "availability permitting". It feels a bit repressed. Loosen up, film people!

Of course, there are loads of cinematic delights to counter the lapses in presentation. My favourites of the first week are the US indie charmer Dear Lemon Lima, (seen on preview) and Jeunet's Mic-Macs, wildly imaginative, if lacking in logic.

Biggest flop is The Exploding Girl Never has a title seemed so inappropriate, for this treacly slow, monosyllabic slackerfest. Him: Hey. Her: Hey. Him: Hi. Her: Hi. I seriously considered getting up and walking out, I was so bored.

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