Sunday, August 15, 2010

Plaza Classic Film Festival 2010: Conclusions

And thus we conclude another year of the Plaza Classic Film Festival.

I failed in my original goal. Out of the 14 I'd planned, I saw only 10. It certainly wasn't for lack of interest, merely lack of energy. It should be remembered I have a full-time job and am quite happy at it. I derived no pleasure from having to drive clear across town at night and then drive all the way back home after midnight.

It should also be remembered that on my days off, I spent most of the day at The Plaza. Unlike those running the show, my presence isn't required.

Now, it isn't to say that I won't watch a few that I missed. By happy coincidence, TCM featured a day of Gene Tierney films, so Leave Her To Heaven is on my DVR. I got Easy Rider from the library, and I'm on the waiting list for Howl's Moving Castle. As for The Best of the Dallas Video Fest, well, I wish the individual filmmakers well, but I was just so worn out I had to sleep. I simply was too exhausted to go. This happens every year: I push myself so hard that I end up collapsing at the end of it.

A highlight was Debbie Reynolds' appearance before Singin' In the Rain. She's a pistol of a interview subject, a woman with no censor. Nick Clooney asked her if her first husband Eddie Fisher liked Singin' In the Rain. "He liked Elizabeth Taylor", was her witty response to applause and laughter from the audience. It was so well done I wonder if it wasn't staged. She sang a bit of Good Morning and Tammy, and she still has a pleasant singing voice.

One thing she mentioned only briefly was her continued hope to build a Film Museum with her extensive collection of Hollywood props/memorabilia. I thought she had already built it, and it would be worth investigating how far she's gotten and what we can do to help. I think of Reynolds as a brassy broad, a woman with a sharp wit who even at 78 I think still has the capacity to shock with what she says. As I told my friend, she's less a raconteur and more a "rack on tour". He was shocked, I was amused. I get the odd sense that if Debbie Reynolds heard that, she might be howling with laughter and be in full agreement.

Another great moment was listening to the Alloy Orchestra play their score to Metropolis (which will be included in the DVD release). One became so thrilled with the score and images combined one forgot that it was a 'silent' film. Though it wasn't a sell-out, the fact that people in El Paso and surrounding areas yearn for films like these is, to my mind, a giant step forward. Admittedly, we don't have the cache that TCM has. It be doubtful we could get Louise Rainer or Jean-Paul Belmondo to appear here (though we did get Peter Bogdanovich, so we're moving up in the world). Still, it warms my heart to no end to see so many people from this area and as I understand it from other parts of the country and even the world coming here to enjoy films on the big screen.

 "Classic" films are nothing to be afraid of. They are things to enjoy.

It is the traditional saying at Passover, "Next year in Jerusalem". I say something similar: next year at The Plaza...

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