Film festivals are a fantastic forum to see films that normally don't get distributed. This past weekend, as R and I discuss which films to go to at the Montreal International Film Fest, I'm cautious about choosing whereas he, more optimistic, claims we've never seen a real stinker. Ah no? What about that Turkish film where we sat through ten minutes of a camera closeup on a woman screaming? Or that Portuguese film that bored us to nausea?
Reading the write-ups is a lesson in good and bad advertising. The Finnish film I chose Saturday only barely resembled the blurb for content and not at all for tone. Believe me, I would not knowingly pick a feel-good, fluffy movie. I was reluctant to see the German film R wanted to see Sunday because the photo was so over-the-top melodramatic--a grief-stricken man, hugging a young woman to his chest as a young man stood by, red-faced and weeping. But it was a quirky funny-sad film.
In Montreal you get the chance to read both the English and the French blurbs which are sometimes so different, you wonder if they're even describing the same film. So that's neat--the different angles.
On the whole, my rule when choosing is to pick films I don't expect to have the chance to see again. Those small budget films from the Netherlands, Morocco, Argentina, South Korea. See them now or see them never.
Normally I'm allergic to crowds, but I understand perfectly that at a film festival--a good film festival--there will be lineups to buy tickets and lineups to get into the cinema. I accept the conditions.
I don't even mind when we see a movie that disappoints. You pick a film. You go. The 106 minutes that follow are the luck of the draw.
My BIG GRIPE is with the asshole ignoramuses who FRICKIN TALK THROUGH THE MOVIE. Can't they wait until they leave to start discussing it? Are they so mentally challenged that they constantly have to ask each other who the characters are and what's going on? If they ask what he just said, then they won't hear what she's saying now. NOR WILL I. They are not in their own living room. They are in a public cinema.
Some people don't get it. (Granted, they can't follow a simple plot. Why should they understand the difference between public and private behaviour?) I turn around and tell them to be quiet and they still whisper. R turns around and hisses and they stop for a few moments only to start again. There is never a cinema where someone in the audience isn't whispering, convinced that whatever insight or question they compulsively have to share is worth disturbing those who sit nearby.
One day there will be a story in the news about a woman throttling an innocent stranger in a cinema. The victim won't be innocent. The victim was TALKING.