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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is hearing news and reviews from film festivals torture for you, too?

The Toronto Film Festival opened yesterday, with a swanky new headquarters and secret screenings. Cult directors are presenting remakes of classic films at the ongoing Venice Film Festival. Oscar buzz is surrounding the just-announced lineup of the London Film Festival, which runs during the second half of October. The schedule for the upcoming New York Film Festival is solidifying around a rather grim slate of films.

Apart from the NYFF and Tribeca, I’ve never attended a film festival. But if I could, I would. Sheesh, you could do a solid two solid months of film-festivaling, traveling from Venice to Toronto to New York to London for these carnivals of cinemania, an odyssey that sounds to me as wonderful as it does exhausting. And I try not read reviews before I’ve seen a film and written my own review, but sometimes it’s impossible to avoid the headlines telling me that such-and-such movie by so-and-so made a certain impression to some festival crowd.

It’s all so excruciatingly tantalizing. It’s all so fluffy I’m gonna die.

Is hearing news and reviews from film festivals torture for you, too?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • Lisa

    I went to the Edinburgh Film Festival when I was at Uni (had friends at Uni in Scotland otherwise really could not have afforded it) and am going to London Film Festival in October – I am missing Black Swan which is the one I really want to see! But I’m not one of those people who has to see things first, as long as people don’t spoil it for you. It gets me excited to hear all the buzz and I start picking out what films I really want to see.

    As a critic, I can understand that you want to have a pure response to a film, though. I like movies, I don’t love them, so you’re gonna feel more strongly about it than I do.

  • judy

    I actually love all of the buzz from the festivals. And I agree with Lisa above…I don’t need to see films first.I live in a small town and frankly I don’t get to see many of the movies in theaters anyway. I have to wait for the dvds for the most part.
    I feel like all of the talk from the festivals helps me to figure out what I want to see in the coming months. I have a good friend who lives in Toronto and has been going to the film festival there for a number of years.In a way, I get to see the festival through her eyes. It has been great fun watching her narrow her choices down to the 10 movies she is going to see. She sent me her final list last week. I trust her taste and will be looking forward to her comments me on the movies she is going to see.

  • Becky

    I try to get to both Edinburgh and London Film Fests (which are both open to the public unlike some others) whenever possible.

    I am going to try for ‘Black Swan’ @ London this year but it’s mainly because a) I’ve heard only good things from it at the other fests it’s been shown at and b) it’s the film that *isn’t* coming out before the end of the year. Oh and c) I am highly intrigued by the concept as well.

    The main thing is to balance up the costs (travel, ticket, accomodation if it’s EIFF) with the desire to see the film. If it’s coming out witin two months, then I’ll hold fire.
    If it’s Pixar/has no real release date then I will move heaven and earth to go see it.

    I do like hearing the buzz from other fests as it’s led me to some real corkers. My first fest visit was 2000’s ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ which I had heard about from others raving about it. I saw it with a packed audience at the 2000 London Film Festival, who spontaneously clapped after the first fight scene and it is still one of the best fest experiences I’ve ever had.

    So, no, it’s not torture!;)

  • mortadella

    Yes.

  • RogerBW

    I love to hear festival buzz – particularly when it’s about films that are unlikely to get any sort of wide release, because it’s probably the only time people will ever be talking about them.

  • I like the news from festivals I’ll never attend such as Sundance or Tribeca or Cannes, but the tidbits from Toronto and SXSW make me sad in my special emotion place. What do you call it? Oh yes, my heart.

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