I want to begin this entry with a statement of apology to the people out there in internet land. This has been one of the craziest weeks of my life and I have had no time whatsoever to formulate this post. Between going to class, studying, and going on small but tantalizing adventures I have not even had time to sleep.
To continue on to the actual topic of this post, the London Film Festival is on right now. This is one of the biggest film festivals in the country, and I am in London when it’s happening, which I might add is pretty cool. Anyway, I am neither a film major nor am I a huge movie buff, but I do enjoy a good film every now and then; therefore where better to explore that idea than at the LFF. The whole premise of the festival is to bring a strong mix of huge blockbusters and small time productions to the British Film Institute, and show them off to the public. Films as big as The Ides of March, with George Clooney, are playing as well as ten minute animated features like Acorn boy. As one can see the film festival is a panoply of filmy goodness, and I had the pleasure of seeing two films at the film festival, Coriolanus and Shock Head Soul.
Coriolanus, starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes, was a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. The film was a stunning representation of Shakespeare’s work through Fiennes’s brilliant cinematic vision, but the film was not even the best part of the viewing. First of all, we attended a 9:30 am viewing of Coriolanus which happened to be the preview for the film; therefore I was a member of the maiden viewing of a Ralph Fiennes classic. It also just so happened that he is one of my favorite actors, so that made the day super special for me already, but wait, there’s more. Not only was I a member of the first audience to see the film, but the writer, John Logan (Gladiator, Sweeney Todd, The Aviator), was also there to talk about the film afterward. The breakdown of the epic-ness of this screening was great movie, first viewing by a public audience, and talk by Academy Award-winning director. My assessment: that was a hell of a morning.
The second screening I went to was a documentary entitled Shock Head Soul, directed by Simon Pummell. The film depicts the descent into madness of Daniel Paul Schreber, a prominent lawyer at the turn of the century in Germany. The piece was organized in a nonstandard way; by this I mean that it was filmed like a narrative with experts (dressed in period dress) chiming in and giving their input at the tale progressed. There was heavy use of animation and the cinematography was very shaky and out of focus, in order to portray the perception of Schreber.
Aside from the film being very interesting, and a bit strange at points, a few interesting happenings occur. The first was entering the theater. I did not realize there were assigned seats in England at movie theaters, so that was a shock to me. Also the theater the film was screened in was nicer than some of the theaters on Broadway. Aside from the theater, Simon Pummell was at the screening to give a talk about the film afterward, much like John Logan, but Simon Pummell was sitting next to me in the theater. The sad part of this situation was that I was sitting next to a very famous British director, and I had no idea who he was, so I didn’t talk to him at all — I said hello and that was it. I really wasted a chance to make it in the big time.
All in all the London Film Festival is a wonderful experience that I am glad I am here for. I have sat next to directors and listened to Academy Award-winning writers talk about movies, and I am still not done. I am going to at least one more screening before the end of the festival, and I hope it is as eventful as the other two.