Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Usual Suspects

Last night it was back to the Raindance Film Club. The end of the festival left a void so it was good to be back in the warmth and comfort of the Raindance organisation once more.

The film being screened was Exhibit A, which I had already seen, but standing with the first twenty and last ten minutes broken up by opening and closing the door, so it was good to see it uninterrupted from a very comfy sofa and with the ultimate Raindance accessory, a free bottle of Cobra beer (something everyone associated with the festival developed an unhealthy obsession with).

The film was good – an interesting idea, well executed. I’m wary of recommending to anyone though on two grounds. Firstly it hasn’t got proper distribution yet, despite winning an award at the festival and being nominated for a few at the British Independent Film Awards, so I’m not sure if/when/how anyone will actually get to see it. Secondly, it isn’t a barrel of laughs – in fact it makes for very uncomfortable viewing, so much so that one woman ran out of the first screening of it and one of the actors said it wasn’t the sort of thing they’d want to watch.

Unexpectedly the screening last night was followed by Q&A with the producer. And here is where I’m going to rant. He seemed like a great bloke, he spoke eloquently but unpretentiously about his film. I had no problem with anything he said or did – but rather with the contributions from the audience. The people who attend these things and ask questions/make comments always confirm to set stereotypes. Of course, I’m not referring to the people I knew there who are all wonderful, witty, talented, smart, cool, amazing people, and noticeably weren’t of the most vocal group. The types I’m referring to are these, who were all presented and correct last night and will always show up at this type of event:

  1. The Over-Familiar Expert – he (its normally a he) will talk to the speaker as if they are old mates and will quite persistently chase for snippets of information. Last night’s was keen to get the nitty-gritty budget details and was pretty dogged about it. He will also lavish praise on the speaker, but in a way that is reflecting back on himself e.g ‘I loved the dialogue. That is exactly how I would have done it’. His exact achievements in the world of cinema are unknown.
  2. The Slightly Drunk, Slightly Aggressive Man with a Strong Accent - his comments aren’t always clear because of the combination of drink, accent and excitement. He is definitely enthusiastic but there is an edge to his comments and you feel things could turn at any minute. Last night’s was Scottish but I’ve encountered them from every part of the UK.
  3. The Very Posh But Arty Emotional Woman – She is super confident, loves the sound of her own voice and is “keen to explore” some issue that is usually way off everyone else’s perception or interest. Despite being very definitely English, she will undoubtedly feel compelled to share some deeply personal information with the room. Last night’s tried to turn it onto the topic of the abuse she’d suffered and whilst I realise that its an awful thing to have gone through (not sure what exactly as the film wasn’t about abuse), my thoughts are that this is a film screening, not the Jeremy Kyle show.
  4. The Grizzled Old Cynic – His comments are brief and barbed in comparison to the others. He’s been there and seen it all before. I actually don’t mind this type that much.
  5. The Dog with Comedy Timing – Actually this one is probably unique to this film club (he was there last month too). I think he belongs to number 4. He had impeccable timing with his barking though and perhaps made the most astute observations of the evening.

I suppose though I belong to a sixth category - the people who will never say anything at all.


V*Kstro said...

Very good observations. I dig numbers 4 & 5. Love Q&A's after a film. Been to some that make the room so uncomfortable and has changed my mind on speaking, but at times made me jump in to come BACK to the actor/producer/director's point of the matter.

Will be going to see Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited" today... again. Only because Jason Shwarztman will have a Q&A. I'll keep these groups in mind.

SandDancer said...

Is "The Darjeeling Limited" good? It gets its UK Premiere at the London Film Festival next week but is sold out so I will have to wait until the end of November to see it. But at least, we've already had Control here!

M said...

We're off to see "Eastern Promises" tomorrow evening. It's showing at the art cinema down the street...walking distance (happily), since we moved downtown.

For some reason, I'm always intrigued by mafia movies. Strange obsession. This one is about the Russian mafia in London, so looking forward to it on several fronts.

SandDancer said...

M - I think lots of people share your mafia fascination. I thought that film sounded quite interesting but it has had mediocre reviews and considering how much I've been to the cinema recently, I think it may be one to wait for on DVD. Although if I was walking distance from a decent cinema, I'd be there every night!