a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Again, Nothing: The Philadelphia Film Festival

An addendum to yesterday's postulization: you know what else is wrong with me? Exercise! At one point, Jon -- pal and gym buddy combined -- and I were off to the gym at least twice a week, maybe even thrice, running around the track to the tune of a mile-and-a-half. (And one fabled day, which will surely go down as one of history's greatest illogical occurrances, we did two miles.) Though I couldn't have possibly seen it coming, not going to the gym for three or four weeks and replacing that with sitting on my ass exercising only my eye-lids and pen-writing skills turned out to be an awful idea. As I sat in my apartment all day, fearing the toxic heat-rays of the sun, and having not slept much at all -- thanks no doubt to inhaling two boxes of Menthol cigarettes in as many days (don't ask) -- Jon's suggestion that we go re-appeared in my mind, and I can safely say I'm now ready to run to fest movies once again, mind rejuvinated and ass ready to be used for sittin'.

To make a too-bloggish-for-words story short: I saw nothing Monday. Rather, I did what I very rarely do, which is sit down and read an entire book cover-to-cover. Granted, it was the Ashton Kutcher-invoking Dude, Where's My Country? -- which, like every Michael Moore, renders me piping mad if also makes me think I should instead be reading Noam Chomsky or someone a little less prone to over-use the bolding of words and slogans -- but a phenomenon it remains.

As I winsomely reflect on the Film Fest that could have been (for me), I of course can't help but be sidetracked into another matter. That matter is this: why did I think I could go do five-film days at all? As archive-searching will prove, I saw quite a heck of a lot of films playing in the festival, but a mere half of them were done in my preferred fashion: big screen, celluloid, maybe lots of people. (Or just Sam Adams.) In fact, I caught most of them in my living room, nestled far-too-comfortably on my couch. Granted, I have a rather unusual, nigh-terrifying attention span when it comes to movies -- all that can distract me is the need for water, my cats, and my notebook. (Also the phone.) But I so rarely get to see them how people who (idealistically) read the drivel that I write see them. Seeing older films on actual film is a rarity for me. Someone once told me that they felt horrible for me because I saw most of them on rented tapes or, worse, screener dubs. I believe I argued with them, putting forth the aforementioned spiel about my daunting attention span (for movies -- little else applies to this) as evidence. In truth, there's a part of me that wished I had a steady income, didn't write blurbs about older movies every week, and, instead, was another cinephile who saw them. (Actually, I would be a reviewer of new movies and go see older films at night.) On the other hand, I love writing about older movies, probably moreso than the newer batch, and would feel remiss if my musings on them -- however random and sometimes impenetrable -- wound up solely on, say, a blog rather than in print.

Finally back to the fest: I can only say I sorta blew it. In fact, it almost worked out. I now cringe at the idea of me seeing five films a day by myself, running from place to place only to sit down with strangers around me, coming home at the end to pass out from some largely inert form of exhaustion. In fact, had I followed my original, highly obsessional (and geeky) plan, I would have barely seen people I care about and whom care about me for two full weeks. And what would I have proven? That, by seeing loads of films just because they're there and free, I would have...seen loads of films just because they're there and free. I've already seen something like 170 movies in the year alone, and my daily planner informs me we're but 110 days into 2004. That, indeed, is ominous.

But I don't care. You'd have to tie me up to keep me away from this evening's lot. Expect brief ramblings on A Talking Picture, Time of the Wolf and maybe, just maybe, Who Killed Bambi?.

This soul-searching nonsense will end sooner than you'd think.


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