Thursday, September 15, 2005

TIFF Entry #10: Evading the Sleep Monster

Ladies and gentlemen, my lack of sleep is starting to catch up with me. Staying fully awake and alert during screenings is getting increasingly difficult, and my internal body clock has somehow adjusted itself to allow me no more than about five hours of sleep a night. It appears that I may have to crack open the fest’s complimentary can of caffeine-heavy Sobé sooner than I thought.

Thankfully, my first film of the day was rather loud and spirited. Dave Chappelle’s Block Party (5/8), directed by Michel Gondry and presented as a “work in progress,” chronicles the comedian’s efforts to put together a hip-hop concert in a Brooklyn neighborhood. It was kind of choppy and jumped all over the place (perhaps more editing is still to be done), but was entertaining overall.

What was not so entertaining were the young Hollywood jerks who sat next to me. In fact, the exact same guys sat next to me last night at Bam Bam and Celeste. I know because I vividly recall the hipster running shoes and complete disregard for personal space on the part of the twit directly adjacent to me. These guys (and one girl) are totally unable to speak at normal volume, presumably because they assume that we all want to hear what exciting lives they lead, what fancy parties they attended and which L.A. A-listers they work for. (One guy repeated several times that he works for Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company.) We get it! You’re super important! Now shut yer pieholes and watch the movie, or leave.

Movie #2 was Where the Truth Lies, the controversial new film by Atom Egoyan about a 1950s entertainment twosome (Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth), the mysterious death of a hotel employee (Rachel Blanchard) they both knew, and the intrepid young reporter (Alison Lohman) writing a book about the crime some 15 years later. Right about now is when the Sleep Monster launched a sneak attack. I could barely keep my eyes open for this film, and the only thing keeping me awake was the INCESSANT COUGHING of the woman sitting directly behind me. I regret to report that, between her coughing and my drowsiness, there was no way I could complete my viewing of this film. I left after about an hour. The movie just wasn't the right one to see at that moment.

My public service announcement: Folks, if you have pneumonia or malaria or any other illness that results in loud, grotesque, unstoppable hacking, do us all a favor and STAY HOME. Seriously. These theaters aren’t roomy and you’re almost always shoulder to shoulder with your fellow audience members. No one needs festival cooties! We’ll all get sick on our own, thank you very much!

Speaking of getting sick, that’s part of the plot of the third movie I saw, One Last Thing (5/8), which follows a terminally ill teen (Michael Angarano), whose dying wish is to spend the weekend alone with a supermodel (Sunny Mabrey). It’s a comedy (sort of) and is directed by Alex Steyermark, who previously helmed Prey For Rock & Roll. I was kind of torn over seeing this one – I knew it would be sad and was hesitant about voluntarily submitting myself to the possibility of embarrassing in-theater bawling. But I’m glad I went – it was actually a very sweet movie with only mild whimpering on my part.

Then I rushed home before my final film because I remembered I needed to buy milk. So I did.

Last up was a German film called Summer in Berlin (5/8), which centers on the friendship between two thirtysomething women (Nadja Uhl, Inka Friedrich) as they cope with personal and professional angst. There was no Q&A at this film, but I sure wish there had been…because all through the movie, it seemed as if the women were in love but suppressing their emotions. At one point, they’re even in bed together, kissing. But that’s never really explored or addressed, so I had no clue what we (the audience) were supposed to glean from the story.

What I did glean, though, is that friendly film festival audience members you don’t know will sometimes share their candy with you if you’ve been having a good pre-screening conversation.

I swapped out my morning movie for tomorrow – I was going to see Thumbsucker, but traded in my ticket for one to In Her Shoes instead. And the weather is cooling back down to normal, so audiences should be far less ripe than they have been these past few days.

Celebrity Sightings: Kind of slim pickins today, with only Atom Egoyan and Michael Angarano kicking around.

Roger Ebert Sightings: Whatever.

Line Buzz: Fairly consistent disappointment with the French film Caché, but some good buzz for A Little Trip to Heaven.

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