NaFF: Days 1-2

Left campus after class for the 2008 Nashville Film Festival. We got there when they were setting up the red carpet. After half an hour or so people started walking the carpet, including William H. Macy. Came within hand-shaking distance before the paparazzi swarmed in. A neat experience, but overrated.

Afterwards we saw our first film, The Deal, which was directed by Steven Schachter and starring William H. Macy and Meg Ryan. It was a pretty enjoyable dark comedy/romance about a depressed producer who decides to shake up the business. The director and Macy were available for a Q&A session after the film, which was good but too short.


The next day, Friday, we went to an awesome panel discussion about “The State of the Critic”. The panelists  were Jim Ridley, Joe Leydon, Scott Foundas, and Steven Gaydos. One of the first things mentioned was that with the different ways of critiquing films, we are in a transitional state for film criticism.

Steven Gaydos made an interesting comment that newspaper editors are a major problem. If you review crap films, people will primarily only watch crap films. They create a level of stupidity. Jim Ridley responded by saying, “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Joe Leydon observed that the online community, for the most part, is there “for the love of art”, not getting paid. Movie sites are niche, not for general  interest like newspapers are.

The second film that I watched was a fascinating documentary called American Teen, where the lives of a group of high school seniors were followed as they finished up their last year. I thought it was really well done, but it raised a lot of questions in my mind about how documentaries like this are made: Are the subjects too self-conscious, making it more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a documentary? How do they get the shots that they do? How much is actual footage and how much is reenactments?


The last film we saw on Friday was a peculiar Swedish film called You, the Living. It was very episodic with many different stories, some of which briefly overlapped. The humor in the film is very subtle, and I like how the director makes you look around for it. He completely challenged every conception I have about humor. Laughter is confusingly complex.



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