26 March 2006

Nothing says "good morning"
like a film about a Thai prostitute.

This weekend I spent a lot of time in the theaters of Tower City in Cleveland. Oh, yes— it was film festival time.

I've been going to the Cleveland International Film Fest about every year since my junior year of high school. That year, I went with my dad of all people, whose film-viewing repertoire consists of John Candy films, Hollywood Blockbusters and any indie films I make he and my mom sit through, after which my mom says "that was...interesting."

We saw an awesome collection of short films that have yet to be outdone by any other collection of short films I've seen at the festival. Then we saw Loved Up. Note to sixteen-year olds who are uncomfortable with their own bodies, not to mention any talk of s-e-x in front of their fathers: Don't go see a film called Loved Up with your father, expecting to be comfortable.

Quickly I learned—after being shut out of the Annabell Chong documentary, much to the future dismay of KEWP—that you couldn't just breeze in and buy tickets before a showing. The film fest requires advance planning, thankfully an activity I hold in the highest of esteem.

Over the years I've planned many an outing to festival films, toting along boy du jours or prospective boy du jours. So many films I probably didn't pay much attention to, absorbed instead with musing if it meant he was into me if he shifted in his seat just so or "accidentally" bumped shoulders.

The film festival is decidedly about more than just watching films. It's prime people-watching territory. There's the hardcore festival-goers, sporting festival passes and fanny packs—I can only guess why. They're the ones that scoff, "you're only seeing three Eastern European films? I'm seeing all ten." They know all the festival organizers by name and favorite director. They have the ability to sit through five films in a row. (So we can perhaps make some assumptions about body types here.)

Then there's the novices. During a movie they're the ones who look around the theater cautiously to see if anyone else finds it strange that someone was just murdered on screen but everyone breaks out into song--in Dutch, while wearing lederhosen. They're the ones that leave seats in between them and other film-goers. Until festival workers come around and hit them aside the head with Red Vines, yelling "Verboten!"

All in all, the festival is pretty impressive. It's a reminder that there is life in Northeast Ohio--not just Nascarphilic, apathetic life, but cultural life.

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