Friday, November 10, 2006

The Hot Debate

So we are having dinner at the Outback steak house (ok, it wasn’t an Outback…but does it really matter?) and it’s me and Det. Bud, Dr. M. and my friend Dollar Bill (who’s been at the festival the whole time…but he has like a real job…so I am protecting his identity).. and we begin to argue about “Lark & Cher”.

I liked the film, mostly. I mean it had some pretty shots and I thought there was some nice use of juxtaposing scenes. Short films often lack the courage or desire to move away from the mainstream and this film did this in several respects….although the ending was a typical short film tactic. Dr. M. is raving about the thing. She thinks it shows more courage than anything we have seen. This of course sends Det. Budd into a tizzy. We both attempt to point out that festivals often suffer from “diminished expectation syndrome” where ok films screen next to bad films…and seem like they are great. And let me stop right here and say that I did like the film, and I would recommend it to people…so regardless of what I am about to say, I feel the film showed much more potential and had many more ideas than a majority of what circulates in indie film. But I still don’t dig just killin’ grandma to get out of your narrative. It’s cheap and it’s predictable. Dr. M. is vehemently defending the film and making what I felt were unsubstantiated claims about the strength of their narrative. I tell her that I think she likes the film and is letting that cloud her objectivity. Things get very heated primarily because it’s a lesbian narrative and Dr. M. is asserting that as men we are not able to catch many of the subtleties of the narrative. Det. Budd answers that that is a bullshit statement because it’s not like that only intended the film to be seen by lesbians because this is not a gay festival – and that is irrelevant because although the film works well and has decent pacing…much of it’s power, comes from what you bring to the narrative, not from what is displayed in the frame.

It’s a fun and at times ugly stalemate as we all weigh in on our opinions, but don’t miss the point of my story here. This is the best thing to come out of a festival. People sitting around talking about the narrative the watched and the manner in which ideas and images were depicted. That is the most you can hope for at any festival. Love or hate the film, like or dislike gay/lesbian narratives….you have to respect the fact that the this festival promoted real discussions and critical thinking (none of which has happened at the 6 other festivals I had attended).

And that is a function of how the films are programmed and in what order they screen. I have to applaud those decisions…even is this isn’t my favorite film.

…so we ended with more bad lesbian jokes and a toast to speaking your mind in a foreign city.



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