Sunday, June 12, 2005

2005 Sydney Film Festival - Opening Night

The 2005 Sydney Film Festival opened on Friday night. As I do every year, I rocked up at the State Theatre to pick up my season daytime pass and get my hands on the brochure showing all the lovely films that are going to be on. Always a special moment.
As a general rule, I don't attend the opening night film (the one time I went, the film was so useless I seriously considered walking out).
When you go to the State to get your ticket, you're confronted with the opening night preparations. So the red carpet was already out, and the searchlights already searching. Deni Hines and some stunningly skinny young actress were having their photos taken. Numerous people in black clothing were milling about.
And I had to ask myself - how many of these people were true Sydney Film Fest Fans?
Sure, they'll turn up at the glamour events, and the after party. But will they turn up to sit through Iranian films about small children who've lost their shoes? I doubt it!
I know that a glamourous opening night helps get the film festival in the papers. But I propose that they change opening night so that it becomes more suitable for the true film festival follower. Let them show a Bugs Bunny cartoon followed by an old Cary Grant movie, with tickets at $10. And offer tea and bickies in the foyer. Anyone wearing clothes that you wouldn't wear at home on the couch when watching a midnight movie should be banned from entering.

My script for Bette Davis' return to the screen.

Here's my plot for a new Bette Davis film (we'll have to resurrect her somehow), inspired by a friend's comment about Ms Schappelle Corby looking like Bette Davis when she was on the witness stand.
*** Our setting is somewhere unspecified in south-east asia. That really has no effect on the plot, but allows the film to have a more colourful atmosphere, which Bette Davis used to like. If you were in a film set in an exotic foreign land, you got to work with fancy sets and costumes, which also probably meant a bigger budget. Of course, we're filming in black and white.
See, she's been found unconscious, bruised, and battered at the scene of the crime, along with a mysterious man, with illegal drugs littered all over the place. She's been found there by the authorities and soon wakes up. Meanwhile, the man remains in a coma.
A handsome eurasian lawyer defends Bette and starts falling for her. Bette likes him well enough but says no, she can't return his affections, despite the fact that she's started to feel close to him. In a long and gruelling court case Bette defends herself against the crime, but in a surprise twist she confesses fully - that she was indeed the drug smuggler who was doing a deal with vicious drug-smuggling thugs - a deal that went horribly wrong!
She explains that the unconscious man was her lover. He was a reformed criminal.
An old associate of his had threatened his life, and demanded he do one last drug deal. He said no, as he'd found love with Bette. The associate threatened to kill him. He still said no, because Bette's love and respect was now more important to him than life itself. Bette found out and decided to do the deal herself to save her man from death!!!! All is commotion!
She reveals (through a number of flashbacks) that he was the first man who had truly shown her what love was, as her husband (oh yes, she was already married to another) was a scoundrel (even though he had seemed like an angel when they were first married). The unconscious man was only the second man she'd ever been with.
Bette is found guilty and given the death penalty. At this she almost faints, but manages to pull herself together - she's determined to not display any weakness before the court! She's prepared to meet her fate as bravely as she can.
Meanwhile, in a hospital in a town far away, the unconscious man awakens! His first action is to ask about Bette. When they tell him she's due to be executed this very hour he says no, no, how can that be? He was the one who had weakened and returned to his drug dealing ways, just to get some money together so he could give his beloved Bette the good life she used to have with her husband. They can't do this to her! Surely they could have seen that she was only trying to protect the life of her beloved when she'd confessed to the crime!
But no!
The gallows door is released and bye bye Bette!