I feel like there is a sharp tree stump stuck in the left side of my throat. Ouch to the ouch to the ouch to the ouch. As for the sunburn, it could still go either way, but there certainly isn't any pain. Just the worry that the top forty-six layers of skin on my feet are scorched forever. If it ain't one thing it's another. But, seriously, my throat is destroyed. That's what I get for bragging about never getting sick.
I'm not overstating things when I say that yesterday's triple-feature left me on the verge of a hysterical crying fit. It took me well into the night to return to a somewhat stable state of mind. First up was Ry Russo-Young's ORPHANS. Of course, it was impossible to experience the film without taking into account the recent death of Lily Wheelwright, but even more devastating than that was how much Lily/her character reminded me of (insert former girlfriend's name here). It stirred up a lot of emotions that I thought I had resolved. As for the film itself, I would like to applaud Ry for taking such a bold aesthetic stance. This might be the finest example of a 24p/mini-DV production that treated itself as a work of CELLULOID and managed to pull it off. I felt like I was watching an experimental German made-for-television movie from the 1970s, and I mean that in the best possible way. The music further helped to establish such a deeply unsettling mood. It takes a lot of ovaries to make a film like this--especially with mini-DV technology--but Ry and her crew pulled it off. I now understand why she received a special award at SXSW. ORPHANS is a haunting, sad film.
After ORPHANS, I slipped into KURT COBAIN: ABOUT A SON. Dear Christ Almighty, I had no idea what I was getting into with this one. AJ Schnack's devastatingly beautiful poem is what LAST DAYS wishes it had been (not to get juvenile like that, but it's true). While the whole thing cast a dreamy spell, it was the ending that caught me completely off-guard and almost unleashed a bawling fit that would have rivaled Carol's after DANCER IN THE DARK. Seriously, an ORPHANS/KURT COBAIN: ABOUT A SON double-feature is as draining as it gets. While I mean that as I compliment, I can't express just how fragile they made me feel.
So what did I do to cap off the triple-feature? How about watch THE UNFORESEEN for a second time. I wanted to try to be more objective about it this time around and really appreciate the craft that went into making it, as opposed to feeling like I was simply watching one of the best documentaries I had ever seen. While I was definitely able to get critical, I still consider it to be one of the most striking first films of recent memory. While I thought ORPHANS and ABOUT A SON made for an incredibly apt double-feature, THE UNFORESEEN and ABOUT A SON might even be a more perfect fit. Both are gorgeously shot, poetic elegies about loss. Every frame in each of these films aches with a humanity that is a rare, beautiful thing.
Most film festivals get like eight out of ten things right (if they're good). This year, Sarasota has set the bar higher than I ever imagined was possible. And I realized last night that it has nothing to do with money (well, okay, maybe it has a little bit to do with money). I'm not privy to the meetings and true inner-workings of the staff, but from the outside-in, it appears that there isn't any competition or tension between any of the departments. Everyone is working together for the same lovely purpose: to put on a truly special event. If the government and beyond took this approach, Earth would be a much better place.
Speaking of a better Earth, if Michael's on East catered every party, event, and gathering from this point forth, I would have a constant spiritual boner and might even sing every word that I spoke. I hope my credibility isn't ruined with the following admission: I didn't eat seventy-two shrimp. I only ate eighteen. But I have a good excuse, don't worry! I couldn't eat as many shrimp as I said I would because I was getting filled up on crab cakes. They were phenomenal. And I'm from Maryland, remember. After that, I indulged in the frozen cheese cake dipped in the chocolate fountain and covered in Heath Bar shavings. Needless to say, I was feeling comatose. But I fought through it anyway.
I did a live TV interview with Ry when we arrived, and in it I said that the reason I made SILVER JEW was so I could return to the "Night of 1,000 Stars" party, in order to overindulge on shrimp and crab cakes once again. I wasn't kidding. What a life we are living, my friends. Let's do it one more time tonight...