Yesterday evening saw the end of the thirty second Cambridge Film Festival, an event which took rather longer than its name might suggest (in fact, it ran over some 13 days rather than half-a-minute). 2011 had represented my previous personal best at the festival (yes, I am trying to make blog capital out of the recent Olympics) with a total of three films viewed. However, the arts need our support (now more than ever) and so I felt it was important that I make more of an effort this year.
Despite being away for three-and-a-half days of the festival (in Norfolk and Milan, since you ask), in the last nine days I have managed to see nine films. My personal best is well and truly smashed (personally, I think it may have a wee bit of a drink problem) and, in fact, this represents the most concentrated cinema going of my life to-date. The nine films were from seven countries in six languages (subtitles were provided for those not in English, my unaided language skills would have been inadequate otherwise) – and for five of the countries this was my first taste of their cinematic output. All had something to enjoy though the Estonian take on The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky was very heavy going. Admittedly, Mr D is not known as much of a funster – I did read Crime and Punishment a few years back and laughs were very thin on the ground – but the production was seriously opaque (so much so that on my return I had to Google the plot to try and work out what was going on: they did seem to have skimped somewhat on the original plot, cast and locations). Still, if experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want, then it was certainly an experience. (BTW: What do you get if you want experience?).
For one film, there was even a Q&A afterwards with the film’s producer and one of the leads (acting, rather than electrical). Sadly, the only question I could think of (but wisely didn’t ask) was how (or perhaps why) a character had planted lavendula stoechas and angustifolia in full bloom out in his garden in Brighton in February: I’m no Monty Don, but this is surely asking for trouble. Still, I try not to allow small errors of detail spoil my fun – though could also observe that it is quite a hike from Brighton to find a sandy beach to ride your motorcycle along!
In addition to the films, my support has stretched to putting away a really quite impressive number of pots of artisan ice cream and slices of cake. No-one said that supporting the arts was easy! Last night, as a bonus, I also nabbed another celebrity for my Heat magazine strand: Simon Shaffer – Professor of the History of the Philosophy of Science and sometime TV science documentary presenter – who was, as is becoming typical of these encounters, somewhat shorter than expected.
Seeing so many films has been great fun and I’m wondering if should see visit the ciname more often without first having agonised over a range of reviews. Spontaneous, moi? Today I find I’m missing all my friends from the silver screen and the friendly staff of the Arts Picturehouse plying me with sweet delights (though otherwise the foul weather has curbed my desire to go outside). Perhaps its time to return to the theatre: it should have returned from its summer recess by now – but it has been nice taking my arts locally these last few days.