TELLURIDE: That’s a wrap on the “Show”

Posted by · 11:08 am · September 7th, 2010

If you’ve been keeping up with the Telluride coverage then you know my thoughts on the 10 films I was able to catch over that four-day spread.  So I’m not going to bore you with a tedious recap here.  Instead, now that I’m back and relaxed in LA, not looking at the clock and rushing to make this or that event, I think I’ll just take a moment to reflect in general.

On the way to yesterday afternoon’s Labor Day picnic, as I crossed over the San Miguel River on a quaint wooden bridge, I was struck with the disappointment that has been rotting at the back of my mind during the entire festival: God I wish I could take the time to smell the roses there.

Telluride is a beautiful place to launch a film festival and its tranquility is reflected in festival-goers’ sensibilities.  There aren’t mobs of people out to see stars.  There aren’t flashbulbs popping off around every other corner.  Everyone is very much here for the movies and the chance to discover something new.  I don’t think it has been tainted, or at the very least, programmers and directors have gone a long way to keep that face out in front.

But one longs for a hike to the waterfall, or a trip up the gondola for sunset.  A leisurely stroll by the river would do the soul good, or even a drive down to nearby Ridgway (where the original “True Grit” was filmed).  And even as it pertains to the festival itself, I couldn’t help but wish I didn’t have the responsibility to catch the “must-sees” and could find time for fringe offerings.  I never made it to anything from Serge Bromberg’s 3D shorts program, for instance, or any of the titles guest director Michael Ondaatje brought to the fest.  I never even got a chance to pay tribute to my first crush.

I missed things like “Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff,” though talking with the film’s director Craig McCall in the shuttle to Montrose Airport about the family he met who just happened upon the film because it was screening for free at The Backlot reminded me why this festival works so well.  It seems to be the best place for filmmakers and the public to have a real back and forth.  It’s a place where everyone, even Faye Dunaway (in the famous anecdote), is on the same level.

It may have been busy business for me from the get-go, but I absolutely can’t complain about what I was able to witness here.  I saw a world premiere Oscar contender bloom right before my eyes in the Chuck Jones Cinema.  I saw an inspiring figure celebrated for a brave if gruesome moment of self-preservation.  I had drinks with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Tom Hooper as they carried on for 45 minutes about their passions for the film they brought here.  I had a wonderful chat with Peter Weir, not only to discuss his latest work, but to pick his brain on the direction his business, and indeed, his career may be going.

And I could see the damn Milky Way in the clear Colorado night sky.

There are few things you can ask for out of a festival experience.  Many enjoy the sense of true discovery at Sundance.  Others love the media blitz of Toronto or the glamor buzz of Cannes.  But I will forever subscribe to the therapy session that is the Telluride Film Festival.  This year brought a fantastic program and I couldn’t have asked for a more engaging slate of films to digest.  I already can’t wait for next year.

And I want to say one more thing.  A number of you offered some nice notes and comments along the way.  That means more than you can imagine, because when you’re up to your neck in coverage like this, eating when you can, sleeping few hours, hustling from one location to another, you really have no perspective on your own work at all.  All you can do is offer your modest thoughts (whether they be dismantled elsewhere or not) and keep going.  Reading your appreciation kept the gas tank full, I can assure you.  I ask that you offer the same continued support to Guy, who is most certainly working twice as hard as me an ocean away in Venice.

→ 19 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

19 responses so far

  • 1 9-07-2010 at 11:51 am

    Will said...

    Thanks for the coverage! Really jealous just looking at the pictures, not to mention the films.

  • 2 9-07-2010 at 12:29 pm

    Michael said...

    What a nice reflection on your time in Telluride, everyone mentions the films so much that it is easy to forget the landscape and atmosphere in which you are watching a film in – and how that can totally have an effect on you. That seems like one of the most gorgeous and relaxing settings to have a film festival in, and I am glad you were able to experience it and provide such excellent coverage.

    Not to sound like a complete dummy, but I am not familiar with the famous anecdote you are referring to in regards to Faye Dunaway and am wondering if you could possibly enlighten me further what you mean by that?

  • 3 9-07-2010 at 12:33 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I can’t speak to its veracity, but many Telluriders seem to know it. In short, the story goes like this:

    Faye Dunaway was at the fest and cut in line.

    “Excuse me, the back of the line is back there,” a general festival-goer supposedly said to her.

    “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Faye Dunaway.”

    “I don’t give a damn who you are, the back of the line is back there.”

  • 4 9-07-2010 at 1:26 pm

    hopeless pedant said...

    I was lucky to attend a few Tellurides in the 1980s, before the obligatory (and of course equally exciting) annual trek to Toronto preempted it.

    But in my time there, the types of encounters I had surpass nearly all I’ve had at any other festivals.

    1) My very first morning I got up early to run (in that altitude!). I knew from seeing the just released schedule that Sam Fuller was the subject of a tribute. Still, it surpassed all my expectation that as I came out of my condo, their was the master himself, ready to take his morning constitutional. I didn’t run, but rather, after asking him if he wouldn’t mind, walked the entire length of Main Street and back with him. I asked him at the end if he would give me one of his cigars as a souvenir. Foolishly, I didn’t freeze it…

    2) James Stewart attended because of the tribute to the late Anthony Mann. He movingly confirmed what many of us believe, that his work with Mann ranks with his greatest performances. Later there was an outdoor screening, in the chill night air, of The Man from Laramie. Somehow, I managed to be standing right by Stewart and his wife Gloria, watching the film, being left alone, as engrossed as the rest of the crowd.

    3) One year they gave a tribute to four great character actors – John Carradine, Elisha Cook Jr., Margaret Hamilton and Woody Strode. The four were omnipresent the whole time, clearly excited about the attention. Hamilton was bossy, like she was recreating her most famous role. Strode, regal and dignified. Carradine, theatrical and errudite. Elisha Cook seemed lost and a bit fretful, like some of his roles – at a party in a condo, Werner Herzog noticed he was lying on a couch, maybe a little drunk, maybe just exhausted, and quietly tried to rouse him.

    4) And then there was Klaus Kinski, but that’s a whole bunch of stories of there own.

    Glad to hear that even with Telluride now vying in the Oscar-hype creation process that it still retains what makes it great.

  • 5 9-07-2010 at 2:33 pm

    Michael said...

    Thanks for filling me in Kris! That sounds just like Faye Dunaway – she sure is one of a kind.

  • 6 9-07-2010 at 3:02 pm

    Hero said...

    Thank you so much for the great coverage, Kris. I’d always thought that if I could do a festival one year for vacation, I would go to Toronto, but I think you many have sold me on Telluride instead. Now, any tips on how to sell it to my husband?

  • 7 9-07-2010 at 3:26 pm

    RosaLovesDC said...

    Thanks for the coverage. I found this blog recently and I love it!

  • 8 9-07-2010 at 3:36 pm

    CSM said...

    Telluride ROCKS! I’ve missed it the last three years and am feeling the void…thanks for your great coverage of it, which was beautifully stated.

  • 9 9-07-2010 at 3:37 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    I have a question about a Telluride review of yours (I was away at the time you posted it). In your write-up of Never Let Me Go, you accused the film of having “a cold sense of removal” and that it “kept me at arm’s length from frame one.”

    Yet earlier in the year in a podcast with Anne Thompson, you launched a passionate defense of Inception when it was recieving similar descriptions, arguing that directors like Christopher Nolan and Michael Mann aren’t emotionless, they just deal with emotions in a different way.

    So I guess my question is (without having seen Never Let Me Go yet) what do Nolan and Mann do that Romanek doesn’t?

  • 10 9-07-2010 at 3:58 pm

    Glenn said...

    Thanks for the coverage. I don’t know what I’m more jealous of, you getting to see all these films or being able to do so in Colorado! grrr

  • 11 9-07-2010 at 4:26 pm

    JJ said...

    Excellent question, Robert Hamer.

  • 12 9-07-2010 at 4:58 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Robert: A good question. Mann and Nolan work with stories that are inherently emotional because of the actions of their protagonists. There is no such action out of the protagonists in Never Let Me Go.

    Hero: If your husband is outdoors-y at all, he’d be in heaven.

  • 13 9-07-2010 at 5:04 pm

    kid said...

    Did you ever give a rating for 127 Hours or are you waiting for a second viewing?

  • 14 9-07-2010 at 5:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Waiting. Rating, schmating, though. It’s a great piece of work regardless of stars and letters.

  • 15 9-07-2010 at 6:27 pm

    Carlo said...

    Awesome coverage Kris:) Great work as always:D

  • 16 9-07-2010 at 7:06 pm

    Hero said...

    Oddly enough, my husband and I spent vacation this year hiking in Utah.

  • 17 9-07-2010 at 7:55 pm

    Michael said...

    Kris: What was your favorite film of the festival? Or do you need more time to decide?

  • 18 9-07-2010 at 11:11 pm

    Nelson said...

    Kris: No Black Swan love? That’s IMO the best film of the festival

  • 19 9-07-2010 at 11:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Didn’t mention it because it’s not exclusive to the experience here, that’s all. Same as I didn’t mention Another Year, which is my favorite film of the fest (to answer Michael’s question).