Thursday, April 24, 2008

HotDocs 2008 #7: Asses and Art

I’m not sure if it’s because we’re on day seven of a ten-day festival and people are just getting tired and cranky but, man, are some folks getting a little asshatty. Rude. Obnoxious. There have been a few random moments of self-indulgent, rather discourteous behavior – like the guy sitting one seat over who refused to turn off his cell phone and thus had its tiny, b*r*i*g*h*t glowing blue screen shining like a beacon in the dark while he text messaged – but in the past couple of days this sort of thing seems to have multiplied. And it’s almost always at the Cumberland!

The other day, two rather burly men wanted to get into the row I was in. I was sitting at the end of the row and, because my brain is now wired to shoot me out of my seat to let people pass the instant it seems like someone wants in, I immediately got up and let them pass. A few seats over sat an older fellow who wasn’t quite as speedy. Rather than wait for him to move his feet or get up (for those unfamiliar with the Cumberland, there’s zero leg room and no way for someone to pass without seat occupants standing), the first of the two burly guys just shoved right through, literally climbing over the seated man and banging his knees in the process. The seated man was noticably peeved and told the “climber” to just hang on for a second, but no. Climber kept climbing. Seated man was very angry. Second burly guy, thank goodness, waited for room before he moved. “Your friend is a jerk!” said seated man as burly guy #2 passed.

Then today, there was a huge asshat of an older woman – with a loud, nasal voice and a serious case of entitlement. There are a pair of seats in the Cumberland’s HotDocs theatre that are reserved for people with mobility issues and their companions. They’re great seats, but the point is that they’re positioned so that someone with mobility issues has room for his/her wheelchair or crutches or what have you...and can still sit beside his/her friends. I got to the theatre fairly early for the screening, so it was almost empty. I noticed a man sitting in one of these special seats and, next to him on the floor (and in front of the second seat), lay his adorable golden-retriever service dog. Sleeping. The man had a hearing aid and the dog had one of those seeing-eye-dog harnesses, so it was clearly not his “pet.” (If it was, they wouldn’t have let it inside in the first place.) I sat down in the row in front of him.

So, the theatre starts to fill up. A lot. Seats are at a premium. All of a sudden, the loud, nasal voice of the asshat woman pierces through the din, annoyed.

“Is your dog gonna sit there?”

No reply.

More annoyed, “EXCUUUUSE ME? Is your dog gonna take up this seat or can you move it??”

At this point I turned around to see who was being such an asshat. The woman began making her way into the seat, not waiting for a reply and not waiting for the dog to move. The man, who was clearly willing to accommodate her if she had just waited a second or two, began to pull his canine companion out of her way. As he did so, and much to my delight, he said “PLEASE?” as a way of reminding her that perhaps a tiny bit of manners might be in order. She didn’t get it. She sat down with a big sigh and a harumph as if this was the most she’d ever been inconvenienced at a movie EVER.

Then, less than a minute later, she stood up, walked away and grumbled, “Your dog can have the seat because I can’t see from here.” (Or something to that effect, I can’t remember her exact words.) WTF? How clueless ARE some people??? Asshat.

Anyway, the film – my only screening for today – was The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins (6/8), a portrait of Italian installation artist Vanessa Beecroft and her involvement with a small Sudanese community as she attempts to adopt twin babies after bonding with them during a visit. But what starts as a seemingly altruistic gesture slowly morphs into a strangely ill-advised mission whereby Beecroft, who’s at times infuriatingly single-minded to those around her, forges ahead despite an array of red flags and obstacles and the fact that the two babies she wishes to “save” actually have a father and extended family in their village. Director Pietra Brettkelly said her initial intent was to make a documentary about the business (i.e., $$$) of international adoptions but that this profile of a fiercely, perhaps foolishly, determined artist emerged in the process. Apparently, Beecroft (who’s portrayed as a control freak) isn’t entirely thrilled with the finished product, but respects Brettkelly enough to understand that it’s her film...which was labeled “controversial” by the programmer giving the intro, but which didn’t feel as provocative as I thought it would be.


Lou said...

I find the photograph of Beecroft and the children disturbing on several levels.

Vickie said...

That was her intention.

Matt said...

Vickie, have you checked the news tonight? Sudden transit strike! (So much for my plans to casually pop by a screening sometime this weekend.)

vickie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vickie said...

(The above deleted post was mine.)

Thanks for checking! Yes, I was watching the 11 o'clock news last night and actually said "NOOOOOOOO!!!!" aloud.

This SUCKS! I can still walk to the Bader and the ROM, but this might mean I have to skip all my Sunday movies.