Sunday, April 29, 2007

Filmfestival DC wrap up -- for me at least


I closed out my own experience with Filmfest Dc with a doubleheader Saturday. The afternoon “game” was “A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema,” directed by Sophie Fiennes, with Slavoj Zizek doing a lot of analysis of Hitchcock, David Lynch, and even Charlie Chaplin. The fascinating conclusion of the original Moscow version of “Solaris” was shown. Clips from widescreen movies were cropped. The movie was really a “psychologist’s guide” and at 150 minutes was more suitable for a cable broadcast. The production company is the UK’s Film Four, and there does not seem to be American theatrical distribution.

The night game was “Le Couperet” (“The Ax”) from Mars Distribution and Studio Canal in France, where a laid-off executive from a paper company in France takes macabre revenge on his personal competition. The movie made welfare-state France as capitalistic as is the good old USA (it is based on an American novel).

Let’s home that AMC Theaters renovates the property at 4000 Wisconsin Avenue (Washington) with modern stadium seating and re-opens it. The Arlington Courthouse property also needs major renovation (and upgrade of projection and sound).

Desson Thomson has a provocative analysis of the film festival “business” and DC’s lack of visibility in the Washington Post Arts section today, “Are 2 Roles Too Many at Filmfest DC”, here. The film festival business can make money and put people to work, even for pay -- despite the call for volunteers (and the marquee -- "it's showtime). But will the DC festival help some of these films (like Yatra and Yacoubian) find regular American distribution?

Tony Gittens, Executive Director, D. C. Commission on Arts and Humanities, responds on May 6, here.

1 comment:

mikelicht said...

lThe "2 Hats" article is not really about the film festival "business"; more precisely it is about government ethics and possibly the law. For a decade, a private 501(c) 3 has been run out of a government office, with a full-time staff member devoted to its business. The Post points out that FilmFest has $500,000 in the bank, so it could mount a festival the size of this year's without raising a single penny. That is, to say the least, peculiar.