Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 25/11/2002
Wednesday 02/10/2002, 6.30pm: RLFF Preview
People keep asking me why I don't apply for press accreditation for the Regus London Film Festival. They may have a point. After all, most publications that cover the festival can only manage a film or two a day at most. Here at the internet's leading australopithecine arts review site, we do things properly. In 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 I've personally provided you with an average of three film reviews a day within 24 hours of them being screened, and that's before you factor in the additional contributions made by Spank's Pals. So don't imagine that I haven't thought about trying to pass myself off as proper press. Particularly when the credit card bill for the tickets arrives in November.
But in the meantime, I'm doing all this with my own bloody cash. Except for tonight. Because Sandra Hebron, in her newly exalted position as Artistic Director of the festival, has decided to do a free launch of this year's programme for the general public, similar to the one they do for the press. It's a bold and interesting idea, slightly marred by the tube strike it coincided with, resulting in the auditorium only being half full of non-paying customers. Still, those of us who made it there got to see an hour or so of trailers and clips from the 46th Festival's programme.
For those of us who are National Film Theatre members, there weren't too many surprises: we'd already had the programme for a couple of weeks and sent in our advance bookings. So all this preview allowed us to do was confirm our choices were right, or realise how horribly wrong they were. For the most part, my initial hunches seem to have paid off. The Opening Gala, Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things, looks intriguing and makes me glad I've got a ticket for it: the Closing Gala, Thaddeus O'Sullivan's The Heart Of Me, looks dull as dishwater and makes me glad I decided to give it a miss. Aki Kaurismaki's The Man Without A Past appears dour and hilarious, as expected: Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love seems surprisingly restrained, judging from its trailer. Latin America is well represented. Documentaries are very well represented. And Clyde Jeavons sounds justifiably proud of the various archive restorations he's putting on this year, including Rita Hayworth in a rare 3-D print of Miss Sadie Thompson.
Clips and trailers are all well and good, but no substitute for seeing the whole thing. So, for the fifth year running, Spank and the Pals will be virtually living in the cinemas of London for two and a bit weeks, writing daily reports and giving you all the latest on the best and worst of the festival. And we're still not getting paid for it. Watch this space.
Wednesday November 6th - Dirty Pretty Things
Thursday November 7th - Aiki, Looking For Leonard, The Man Without A Past
Friday November 8th - Anita And Me, El Bonaerense, Los, Three, El Valley Centro
Saturday November 9th - City Of God, Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven, Looking For Leonard, The Magdalene Sisters, Me And My Camera, Sogobi, The Three Marias
Sunday November 10th - Bowling For Columbine, Craig Armstrong Masterclass, L'Homme Du Train, Miss Sadie Thompson, Monrak Transistor, Smoking Room
Monday November 11th - Animation Panorama, Auto Focus, Baadasssss Cinema, Love Liza, Michael Moore Guardian Interview
Tuesday November 12th - Antwone Fisher, Blissfully Yours, The Magdalene Sisters
Wednesday November 13th - Bonanza, Dead Or Alive: Final, Everything Together, The Four Feathers, My Mother's Smile, Octavia
Thursday November 14th - Full Frontal, A Journey Called Love, The Kid Stays In The Picture, My Wrongs 8245-8249 And 117, Public Toilet
Friday November 15th - 8 Mile, Open Hearts, Pure, Shadow Kill, Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, When Mariam Spoke Out
Saturday November 16th - Curtis Hanson Guardian Interview, The Dancer Upstairs, In A Lonely Place, A Lucky Day, The Rules Of Attraction, Some Day In The Future, Wanted
Sunday November 17th - Ararat, Halloween Presents: Full Length 20, Monday Morning, Suddenly, Vic Armstrong Masterclass
Monday November 18th - Far From Heaven, Punch Drunk Love, Real Women Have Curves
Tuesday November 19th - A Chinese Odyssey 2002, The Other Side Of The Bed, Secretary, Suddenly, Welcome To Collinwood
Wednesday November 20th - Lilya 4-Ever, Lukas Moodysson Guardian Interview, Polissons Et Galipettes, Wrecked On Road 17
Thursday November 21st - I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Little Sammy Davis, Marie-Jo And Her Two Loves, Muddy Waters - Can't Be Satisfied, Polissons Et Galipettes, Raising Victor Vargas
The Wrap Party - post-match analysis from Spank, Suze, Cineaste and The BBG
The Regus London Film Festival website (and that's two mentions for the sponsors now, so rest assured you won't be hearing about them again till 2003) is, as ever, the best place to begin. Full programme listings [dead link], news and features [dead link] on the various films and filmmakers involved, and this year - finally! - you can book on line [dead link] through the site as well. Other useful features include the ability to post your own reviews on all films, and an email newsletter [dead link] which will keep you up to date with the latest developments all year round. And if you can't get to London but you're still based somewhere in the UK, look out for the festival tour [dead link, look, it's a completely different site layout now, okay?].
The British Film Institute continue to do all their usual splendid work for the promotion of cinema as an art form: organising the LFF and other Festivals, running the National Film Theatre, publishing Sight and Sound magazine, and so much more. Shame about that whole mess with the Museum Of The Moving Image [dead link], though.
Guardian Unlimited Film, the film section of The Guardian's website, is still the best movie site in the country, despite the dubious people who hang around its talkboards. They'll eventually have a dedicated LFF news and reviews section (but for now you'll have to make do with their general film festivals page), they'll be publishing transcripts of the festival's Guardian Interviews as and when they happen, and you can see if you can spot a few of the regulars from here on the LFF talkboard threads.
Film site frenzy: Ararat, Auto Focus, El Bonaerense [dead link], Bowling For Columbine, City Of God, Craig Armstrong, The Dancer Upstairs, Dead Or Alive: Final [dead link], 8 Mile, Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven [dead link], Far From Heaven, The Four Feathers [dead link], Full Frontal, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart [dead link], The Kid Stays In The Picture [dead link], Lilya 4-Ever [dead link], Looking For Leonard, The Man Without A Past, Michael Moore, My Mother's Smile, Octavia, Open Hearts [dead link], Public Toilet [dead link], Punch Drunk Love [dead link], The Rules Of Attraction [dead link], Secretary, Smoking Room [dead link], Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, Three [dead link], Vic Armstrong, Welcome To Collinwood.
Shadows On The Wall is a British movie webzine, mentioned here because they seem to regularly cover the LFF with even fewer resources as I do. And the guy in charge manages to attend the St Louis International Film Festival at the same time, which is just bonkers, frankly.