Well, I wasn’t able to do a whole lot. But I had to find a way to see the second showing of one of the most talked about films at the festival, Let The Right One In. I had been hearing nothing but raves since the first showing on Saturday. I’ll tell you, it lived up to all of the hype. It was a relatively quiet movie about a pre-teen boy, Oskar, who has an over-abundance of bullies and an under-abundance of friends, more like none. Enter the new girl, Eli, in the apartment complex. She is stand-offish and mysterious and they become fast albeit strange friends. She has a secret. One clue is that she is never out during the day. Another is that bodies drained of blood are starting to pile up. I what I loved the most was the innocent trust and love built between them set against the violence of her secret noturnal life and the things that Oskar has to endure during the day . It really was a good movie. I will definitely be picking it up on DVD when I can. If I can make one recommendation to you, if you get a chance to see it, make sure it isn’t some crazy American version. I know you can handle the original version.
One of the best parts about Fantastic Fest is the secret screenings. Over the years, there have been many really anticipated ones, Pan’s Labyrinth and There Will Be Blood and there also have been wonderful surprises like Big Man Japan. I missed the secret screenings of The Brothers Bloom and Appaloosa but I did get to see Role Model, the new Paul Rudd comedy that he also co-wrote. It wasn’t rocket-science but it was very funny. I think that I just like Paul Rudd too much. He rarely does wrong in my eyes, on screen anyway.
If there is one thing that I don’t look forward to is the end of Fantastic Fest. Even with all of the issues that I had this year, personal, technical, logistical, I really had a good time even though I didn’t get to see as many films. I did go into yesterday looking forward to the day. I had an interview with Gil Kenan, director of City of Ember, which was the closing night film. I got to the interview just about on time and I was sitting outside of the room, reading press notes and who comes busting out of the room with Gil? The one and only Bill Murray! There is more to the story…but I’ll stop there. If anyone is really interested, I will gladly retell it over a beer. Anyway, I was then told that I knew the secret of the closing night film and to not tell anyone. Fair enough. I didn’t, but it seemed like someone else leaked it. The interview went well and I made my way back to the festival to catch the last few minutes of The Wildman of the Navidad and interview the filmmakers Justin Meeks and Duane Graves. Also got red carpet interviews with Bill Murray and with Nacho Vigalondo.
Most everyone knows and loves Bill Murray, so it shouldn’t surprise you to know that he is pretty cool too. He told me that he was planning on attending the closing night party at Longhorn Cavern. I thought, “Now that is cool. He doesn’t have to do that! I guess he knows the sound of a good party when he hears it!”
After the screening of City of Ember, the buses started departing to the cave party. In case you have never been to Longhorn Caverns, it is about an hour and a half out of town. When you decide to go to this party, you are making a commitment to have a good freaking time. The definite plus was that there was going to be a free open bar, and a long ride back to sober up. Things were going along pretty well, I guess. Then I realized that this was becoming the same sort of party as the boat party. That’s not all bad, but it really isn’t my scene. I big bunch of hipsters and scenesters were invited, so it just wasn’t the kind of intimate festival goodbye party I guess I was looking for. The cavern was beautiful and the music was decent.
The night wore on and I wondered if Bill was going to come through. Then we got the announcement that he was coming down. Everyone was very excited and as he entered with Gil, I think he had like 4 video cameras in his face, not to mention the flashes from personal cameras. So they were lead in and they promptly separated from the crown at the far end of the cavern. Who could blame them? That sort of entrance really doesn’t lend itself to eventually being left alone to party. I managed to catch a word with Bill and Gil and they expressed that they probably would not be staying long. I was disappointed and I know they were too. Oh well. I was looking forward to sharing a shot and a dance with Bill. On the bright side, I got to spend some time talking film with Marc Savlov and dancing with Nacho and Javier Albarran.
A Fantastic Fest look back and more highlights coming soon!