About Face

During my college days, the adage I heard repeated on a weekly basis was “Thursday is the new Friday.” That felt very true last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival, with enough going on down at LA Live to literally make your head spin, with all events drawing large and impassioned crowds. I sat out the screenings of both Pincus and Celeste and Jesse Forever as I covered both in my preview piece, though I heard both were great successes. I also heard that the Beauty is Embarrassing event at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art drew a large crowd and was a big hit. I wish I could have traded films for music again and made the festival’s “Voices for Change” event at the Grammy Museum, but part of the challenge of attending a film festival is making peace with the fact that you can’t be six places at once. I was doing interviews in the afternoon and missed Robot and Frank, but heard good reports from those who did. I also heard good things from those who opted to see Teddy Bear, so hopefully I can still fit both films in. There’s an alarmingly short amount of time left to see a great many movies.

I did happen to catch two films last night, starting off with About Face, the latest film project from legendary photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. The film featured candid interviews with supermodels including Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova, and Christy Turlington giving candid recollections and insights from their time in the fashion industry, and reflecting on evolving definitions of beauty. Greenfield-Sanders conveys a remarkable about of information in 72-minutes, and includes surprisingly candid interview footage. The film is set to premiere on HBO later this summer, and is must-see viewing for anybody with access to it.

I then took in Unforgiveable, the latest film from prolific French director Andre Techine (Wild Reeds). The French drama revolves around a mystery writer, his younger and bisexual bride, the ex-con he hires to follow her, the wife’s ex-lover, and the writer’s daughter who goes missing. On paper, this sounds like the story should be dripping with mystery, excitement, and intrigue. While those elements are present in flashes and waves, the film is ultimately a disappointment, as it often feels more lethargic than the material would suggest.

Looking ahead to today’s goings-on, the only film on offer for this afternoon is the encore presentation of Celeste and Jesse Forever for anyone who may have missed the Summer Showcase screening last night, or didn’t want to brave the lines and crowds. The hot ticket for the night promises to be the conversation with Oscar-winning Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) about his latest series The Newsroom. That being said, all the films look to be hot tickets tonight, as everything has hit either “Rush” status, or has sold well enough that tickets are no longer available online. My recommendation would be The House I Live In, which I reviewed in my festival preview piece. My plans for the night include seeing the Brazilian import Neighboring Sounds and the guerilla Return to Burma. Here’s hoping I see you there.

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