Telluride day 3: broadening my perspective

Well I did make it to the screening of THE PAST last night and have woken up this morning feeling ambivalent about the movie and with some thoughts about the Telluride Film Festival as  a whole and what it means to me as a film maker to be here. Firstly, THE PAST, which the programme describes as “demonstrating a Bergman-like mastery”. Funnily enough, especially with its Parisian setting, I would compare it more with Pialat’s A NOS AMOURS. On the plus side, it packs a similarly raw emotional punch. On the minus, it takes too long to deliver the blow. Compared with all the other films I’ve seen so far, this one, was, despite the heightened emotion, a little flat. And at 130 minutes, too long. Perhaps it was the late hour, but by the end I, like some of the film’s characters, had lost the will to live.
Thinking more generally about Telluride, I think it’s true value to me is looking inwards. It’s is not the place to come for me to network in a professional sense because, even though many of the industry honchos are here, they are outweighed a million to one by the enthusiasts, the film nuts – and this for me is its joyous value! You can’t move for people who want to understand cinema and what it means to them in their lives. People who cherish and value sitting in a darkened room together. Mostly Americans and a great proportion of people who are utterly devoted to the festival itself and the way it engenders unpretentious yet intense thinking and engagement. All ages, shapes and sizes – that’s what has made this wonderful for me. I can see, like I did yesterday, half a dozen films and feel that somehow they are all unified by the Festival and a love of cinema. Perhaps the short Colin McCabe film nailed it, when either Tilda Swinton or John Berger (can’t remember which), describes film as finding the right story to tell, and that those stories are endless. image

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