The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed -

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Feeling festive

Returned to journalism this week, with the press launch of the Times London Film Festival. These things are always a tad strange. First of all a senior figure in the festival's organisation reads a vast list of sponsors. Thank you Hagen Daz, Sofitel Hotels, the web hosting service etc. Then Sandra Hebron is on stage to plug the opening and closing galas and give a sense of the festival's content, with a stream of film titles, guest directors and words like 'delightful and incandescent'. Then there's a half hour hybrid of trailers and clips, usually torn from their context or edited to flash up beats which tell viewers that there will be sex and tantrums in a European movie. Gregg Araki's latest includes zeitgeisty teens sounding gormless, like all his other movies: I like Araki, but give the guy a historical costume drama to do. Then on the way out we're bribed with ice cream and mints. Are the bribes necessary? It's good hospitality, but usually Hebron's team does a suitable job of ensuring the lion's share of the movies are adequate enough to sway most critics. This could be down to the organisers' judgement, or their ability to work with the movies not bagged for premieres at Cannes, Edinburgh and Venice. Either way it looks promising.


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