2012 London Film Festival

Most people who know me and probably a few who don’t but who peruse this blog will know that I seldom go to the cinema. Now I’m no film buff, I tend to treat them the way I treat art, theatre and music i.e. I’m pretty good at knowing what I like. In my opinion that’s the most important thing to be good at, screw everyone else’s opinion.

So now that you know that, feel free to ignore reading the remainder of this as I’m going to bore you with some thoughts on a couple of films I’ve seen this week after raiding my piggy bank and booking  films that are part of the London Film Festival (LFF), the 56th one I’m told but the 1st I’ve attended in the 23 years I’ve lived in London; jumping on the bandwagon is not my natural instinct.

New readers probably won’t know this but I tend to be an all or nothing type of character. If I’m going to try something new I will usually jump in feet first and immerse myself. So having decided that I should go to the cinema more often I set about marking off the films I thought looked interesting when I received my copy of the LFF programme. In total I marked off 23 films I wanted to see with perhaps another 8-10 maybes. However when booking opened and I saw that the average ticket price was £15 a radical cull took place.

The film that opened the festival on Wednesday was Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and there was no way I was missing that. I enjoyed the 30 minute short movie he made in the ’80s and I was intrigued  to see how he had developed it into a full length story, in stop motion animation. Now, whilst I like Tim Burton I’m not an obsessive fan. Sure he’s done some great films but in my opinion he’s also had more than a few mediocre offerings but as far as I’m concerned Frankenweenie was Tim Burton doing what he does best, entertaining. I liked that it was in black and white, I liked that he paid homage to films & actors (Vincent Price) that I’m very fond of and I liked that no sooner had the credits started to roll than I was making plans to watch it again, although with luck I won’t have to pay £19 for a ticket!

On Thursday I went for something a bit different, a Serbian film called Klip or Clip if you must insist on the English translation. It centres around a group of teenagers in Belgrade, primarily a character called Jasna who records just about everything on her mobile phone. Her father has a terminal illness that she seems to want to ignore and is infatuated with some guy who basically uses her as a fuck toy. I was quite surprised to at the graphic sex scenes, nothing was left to the imagination and you saw her perform oral sex, amongst other things, in extreme close-up. The actress who played Jasna was only 14 when it was filmed so a ‘stunt double’ was used, cue all those jokes about the director’s casting couch! The downside for me and perhaps other non Serbian speaking viewers was the fact that very often the scenes were fast paced and I struggled to keep up with the subtitles and the on screen movement but it was good and I left feeling I had watched something of substance.

Klip also made me realise how times have changed in a relatively short period. When I was 13/14 I too was getting shit faced drunk at the weekends but that was it, none of my group of friends were having orgies, other than in our heads, we were to all extents and purposes quite innocent despite being classed as the rebels at school. It also made me wonder how many parents take an interest in knowing what is on their teenage children’s mobile phones, I’m not sure I can even begin to imagine what is on some of them!

Tonight I saw great little film called Gimme The Loot which was filmed in NYC. Thanks to the Q&A session after the film with writer/director Adam Leon I discovered the film was shot in 21 days over a 30 day period. Gimme the Loot has a really good story with some great characters and a cracking soundtrack. It was a low budget production and in my mind all the better for it, the actors felt very real as did the story, it wasn’t one of those suspend reality at the door for 90 minutes kind of films, I could genuinely believe that what happened on screen could very easily happen in real life.

Adam told us that it will be released in the Spring of 2013 and I will definitely go see it again as it left me with a warm glow afterwards and I’d really like to see it with someone else so I can have that all important chat afterwards. I think that’s why I seldom go to the cinema alone, I like talking about films afterwards, I like how sometimes you find the person you’ve sat with for 90 minutes has seen a different film to you.

Tomorrow I’m going to see the last of the pre-booked films, Aiyya. Yes, there was no way I was not going to see a Bollywood movie so Saturday afternoon I’ll be settling down to a 248 minute comedy romp which I already know is going to make me teary as at least one person is going to be heartbroken by the end

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