The night before the film festival, and at 2:00 a.m. I'm still not ready! Swilling my tenth coffee of the day, I slim down my final choices for tomorrow's first day of the film festival. I have always believed that the first day sets the tone for the whole week. In 2002, my first two films were two of the best films I've seen in the last ten years, Tom Tykwer's Heaven, and Robert Guediguian's Marie-jo et ses deux amours. Still, tomorrow includes some of my top seeds for the whole festival, so that bodes well. Up first will be Paul Gross' Passchendaele, which also serves as the opening night film (though I will see it earlier in the day). I will also see L'Heure d'Ete and Samira Makhmalbaf's Two-Legged Horse. Rounding out Thursday will be Szumowska's 33 Scenes from Life and Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir. (These last four can be found below in brief summaries and links.)
Yesterday, after writing two entrance language exams for my new degree, I crossed the street from St. Michael's college to the Sutton Place to pick up my industry package. Strange to go from translating Genesis to reading Playback in the space of mere minutes. While shuffling forward in a line that snaked out the door even in the first hour of pick-ups, I studied the foreign sales posters all over the walls. One for the films of Israel particularly caught my eye, as that country has an incredibly strong presence at this year's festival. Ahead of me, people cheerfully greeted each other and seemed excited. It is always this way on the Tuesday prior to the festival. By tomorrow and Friday, the stragglers from Venice have begun to trickle in and everything turns a bit more blase!