“Inebriate of air am I, and debauchee of dew”, aphrodisiac choices of Emily Dickinson; I favor movies, popcorn and hot dogs; satiated, spent and ready for a “program”, although in my case, could never be “anonymous” For two weeks I have indulged at the gluttonous level my insatiable lust for film; thirty films, and five pounds later I am comforted by my reflections of the foreign, familiar; mind- boggling bombardment on sensory overload; gargantuan gratification, ferocious frustrations, rarely a middle, placid reaction to the myriad of films I lived through, loving, sometimes hating every splendid, sensational second.
In the process I discovered that my abnormal craving is mundane compared to other compulsive creatures; equivalent to unleashing Dracula in a blood bank, some ran from film to film, sampling the wares of a plethora of directors, never seeing a movie in its entirety; whirling dervishes, Sufis, spinning insanely from one venue to another; fearful of a missed moment, pivotal scene; claiming to have viewed 60-70 films; titles, scenarios, evade like amorphous ghosts, evaporate, never resting on a firm shelf in the memory bank. Likeable folks, a placating antidote to my own addiction.
Those of you who have been attentive to my almost daily tidbits recognize my delirious delights and dire duds of the Festival. And like my “Sufi” friends certain aspects blend, scream, bludgeon the intellect, leaving a misty residue of uncertainty, ennui . There was an excess of tattoos, bodies like canvases, expressing individuality, taste. Smoking was ubiquitous; needed a chest x-ray after “Machete Language” and “Ticket to Paradise”. Stopped counting after the hundredth scruffy, furry face; Gilette stock, plummeting. One of the most effective tools of many of the directors was the “close up” “LA Raven” “Corrode”; the intimacy was mesmerizing, compelling. Various directors focused on the landscape, the wildlife, domestic pets; animals were used as metaphors for the human condition, “The Slut”, “Flying Fish”, “The Turin Horse”.
More than anything, perhaps it was accidental or prophetic, the primary pervasive element in over half of the films I chose (concentrating on Asian) was the torrid unmasking of male masculinity; from infants to men in their 90’s extreme concentration on “letting it all hang out” was a key nutrient, tool of the writers and directors. By the time I saw “Sleeping Beauty” I totally concurred with the adage “seen one, seen them all”. On a recent visit to Florence, Italy, our group dined with Michaelangelo’s “David”; stratospheric versus plebian. Unlike the past where women served as muse, fodder for the male gaze; roles have reversed and men are laid bare, manipulated, vulnerable, “unmasked” for all to behold. Progress?
Cementing ties with those harboring the same passion; the kindness and graciousness exhibited by the staff and volunteers, the fantasy, fun; unbridled, limitless devotion, resulting in two dazzling, dynamic, never to be replicated weeks; these are the variants that dreams are made of.