17 October 2010

LoFiFest 2010 Part IV

LoFiFest screenings/events attended: 4
Red carpets crossed: 2
A/B List actors sighted: 6
Bars of Green & Black chocolate: 2
Clive Owen sightings: zero

One of the great things about LoFiFest is that it is relatively easy (and cheap) for members of the public to go to the premieres of some of the biggest films. Now that I've snatched up a ticket for Black Swan, I've acquired tickets to all the films I wanted to see and all it took was a bit of stalking of the BFI website. Last year, however, I found it a bit tricky to work out which events would have the cast and/or crew showing up to answer questions after the film--this didn't happen for all of the films marked "galas" (only if you were attending the film's first screening) even though you were paying more money.

This year, I was a little clued up but I was still surprised not to see any of the actors or crew of Blue Valentine today given that it was the only screening of the film in the programme. It turns out there was a separate gala for the film to which public tickets were not, I assume, available. I didn't mind too much; I like Michelle Williams--although my questions for her would probably have been about her Dawson's Creek days --but it wouldn't be like missing an opportunity to see Clive Owen in the flesh.

Blue Valentine itself was good (and has already been tipped for possible Oscars). It's the polar opposite of Away We Go: it takes a young couple who are so in love and then shows how easy it is for their relationship and their happiness to be ruined. Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) married young and have a young daughter and a nice house. But Cindy had always wanted to be a doctor and had to settle for being a nurse instead and Dean's various talents (singing, drawing, playing music) are wasted as he spends his days painting people's houses (which is great, he says, because he can start drinking at 8 a.m.).

The film intersperses scenes from a few consecutive days in the present with scenes from earlier, happier days--when Cindy and Dean met, how they got together, some of the decisions they had to make. They both seemed to think that because they loved each other, that would be enough to get them through whatever fate threw at them. And they are so happy in the flashbacks. They sing and dance in the street, they make promises and they believe they can do whatever they like. A number of years later and life isn't so great. They both love their daughter a lot but suddenly, it feels like that is the only thing they have in common as the grind of everyday life starts to wear them down.

Williams's performance was brilliant; I was less keen on Gosling, although that is possibly because I found his character unsympathetic. We shall see, though, come awards season. If there was an Oscar for Best Credits, this film would win hands down. The credits roll over a black background with a fireworks display taking place and every time a firework goes off, for a moment we see an illuminated image of Cindy and Dean from earlier in the film. It was really beautiful and a nice way to end what wasn't a very happy film.

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