CineEuropa 13 '10 Day 5 - The Last Hurrah

September 16, 2010 (Thursday)

The movie marathon experience was taking a toll on me. I felt weak and tired from sleeping late, waking early and waiting in line for almost 6 hours a day for CineEuropa. If I could suggest to the organizers, I would tell them to make the waiting easier by having only one line at the theater doors with a clear path instead of one at the ticket booth then one for seating outside the theater. This will also minimize the cases of lost tickets because people still have to wait in line again after they got the tickets. And to give everybody who watched a souvenir so that people don't rush out before the end of a show, people don't fight over who was first in line, elders won't make a run for it and wait for more than two hours just to get a keychain. Majority of those who avidly watch the films are elders so it is very dangerous, tiring and unhealthy to treat them this way and it is turning everybody into vultures with the prize at sight. I also suggest to assign the seats already with the ticket so that we learn that to appreciate film, what is important is the movie. The VIP seating is not absurd, but it is a little unfair to leave them blank especially at the early showings. After all, the purpose of a film festival is for local people to appreciate European films. Sadly, I also didn't get the chance to drop some of my raffle stubs, along with other people, because they took the raffle box away before the festival ends this weekend. Why? Because there were no more raffle stubs left to give away. Why limit the number of raffle stubs if it is a way of counting and getting feedback from the people who went to see the films? I am hoping the process gets easier in the next few years.

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I had arrived for the second show a few minutes before 2 p.m. and I was shocked at the length of the line. I was at the tip of an S (2 horizontal lines from the ticket booth to the snack bar) and still the people kept on coming. By 2:10 p.m., the 300 capacity was almost reached. People who did not get any tickets were starting to form another line near the theater hoping to get chance seats. Sometimes, they let more than 20 in until all regular slots are filled. Consider yourself unlucky if you get seated next to a man who dozes off with loud snoring. The theater ushers were unusually stricter this time around too. Nobody gets in the reserved seats, not even senior citizens. Reserving seats for those who are still outside (except for those in the bathroom), bringing outside food and drinks (those at hand or in a plastic) and standing room were not allowed.

My fourteenth movie was a drama again. It was the story of a father who is a struggling writer and drug addict. His relationship with his wife was damaged because he chose to be high and squander her hard-earned money to escape his responsibilities to his family. He leaves his family to live with a friend and new lover who overdosed and died. His wife let go finally, disappeared and moved on with his daughter. More than ten years later, he is reunited with his estranged daughter and their relationship became better. The end. They pressed the DVD forward to the credits and cut the film leaving everybody in the theater dumbfounded. I later found out from Tito Cholo who watched it before that the father suddenly goes back to his addiction and died. Perhaps, he said, the Shangrila people did not want us to see such a tragic end so they cut the original movie and left a happy ending. I figured that my enthusiasm for this marathon experience was going down since the day before. I can't believe that things like this happen without respect for the film.

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Movie Title: Tout Est Pardonne (All is Forgiven) 2007

The fifteenth movie was based on a true story about a marathon runner, Johann Rettenberger, who robs banks not for the money but for the thrill it brings him. As an ex-con parolee, he was released from prison but advised by an officer to live a normal life and form relationships.  He tried to live a double life but failed although he is not the usual criminal who hurts people. The movie does not have much dialogue and it leaves you intrigued as to why this man is void of emotions. I found myself in awe of his running abilities, especially when the authorities finally caught up with him. They still didn't catch him in the end but sadly, he bled to death. Bleeding to death is not a good way to die.

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Movie Title: Der Rauber (The Robber) 2010

The sixteenth and final film I watched was the story of the one and only El Greco, the famous Greek painter of Spain, at the time when his fellow countrymen from Crete, Greece fought for their freedom. He was the last man standing and taking up arms facing the enemy head on did not do any good for the his fellow Greeks. His father recognized early on that he was meant for bigger things and sent him away from the open war. According to the film, he made his way to Vienna and he worked at the studio of another painter who advised him never to paint the truth because those you show it to will hate you and have their revenge. It was about how his paintings transformed to show the truth where he chose to depict suffering men as angels instead of members of the Church who persecuted anybody they liked. As he faced losing his family over the accusation of the Inquisitor who did not appreciate the truth when his portrait was painted. This was a beautiful piece of history laid out in film.

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Movie Title: El Greco (Greece)

I am happy that even though this marathon was about to end, the films for this last day slowly turned up the interest notch again. 16 out of 21 films was not so bad. And it is definitely an experience one has to try once in this lifetime.



Read more about CineEuropa:

CineEuropa - Europe Through My Eyes
CineEuropa - Getting the Hang of a Movie Marathon
CineEuropa - Movie Buddies
CineEuropa - More Stories
CineEuropa - The Last Hurrah

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