Full Frame Film Festival: Friday Report

Full Frame Film Festival: Friday Report

April, 16, 2011, by Isaac Weeks

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Upon arriving at the Carolina Theatre in Durham for the Full Frame Film Festival on Friday night, I suddenly remembered something very important. I hate film festivals. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that someone has gone to the trouble of bringing together all of these wonderful documentaries to watch, as well as the chance to hear many of the filmmakers discuss their work. That's not the problem. My issue is with the people who attend these things. They are walking, talking caricatures. It's as if they were born wearing berets.

I missed the first night of Full Frame due to family obligations, which is a shame because there were quite a few films being shown that are front runners for the awards to be given out on Sunday. When I arrived on Friday night I grabbed my pass and made a beeline for the cinema showing my first film. The only problem was that I had arrived about 20 minutes early, which meant that I was stuck in line alone with a phone that only had 5% battery life left on it and surrounded by people carrying on conversations consisting of, "Yes, I really appreciated Jacques Francoisnk's Shoes Stained With Tears, but I felt that it really didn't come close to Emmanuel Riviera-Samuel's piece, Dick."

The films I saw tonight were the 35-minute short, Pandore, and the 68-minute A Matter of Taste. Pandore packs a wallop in its short run time. Cameras sit outside a Parisian nightclub, trained on a doorman named Mathieu. Over the course of a night we watch as he decides who gets through the velvet rope and who gets turned away. What no one can seem to decipher—whether you are the viewer or the one trying to gain favor—is the method to his madness. At first it seems apparent that he is just screwing with people by telling parties of four that he will let three of them in if they will just decide which one they will send back home in a taxi. Then there is the old standby of turning away the less attractive groups with the reason being that the club is full, all the while allowing access to the club for a more attractive group of the same number. By the end of the film the director actually manages to pull a few layers away to show a bit of the human buried beneath the douche. I couldn't help but think how great a project this would make for someone if they only knew about it.

A Matter of Taste came with the warning that by the time it was over, everyone in attendance would be starving. I can't speak for everyone else, but I have to say that the dishes on screen that Chef Paul Liebrandt prepared during the film definitely had me in the mood for something a little bit better than Zaxby's. Taste follows Liebrandt for roughly ten years of his life and career, from the time that he tries to change peoples' perceptions of what a neighborhood bistro can serve, to working as a retail consultant, to being disappointed by New York Times food critics numerous times. A fascinating portrayal of surviving in business, whether you care about food or not.

I'll have at least a couple of more reviews for you over the next day or two from Full Frame. I would recommend anyone that hasn't had a chance to check out the schedule and come down to Durham this weekend. There are still a ton of great docs to be shown.

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