Funny how time appears to us from different perspectives. It’s all the same, in truth, and not in that True Detective ‘time is a flat circle’ way. More in that Nostalgia for the Light way, where one realises that, by the time your senses have gotten around to recording the information they’ve obtained, by the time it has made the journey up to your brain, by the time your brain has gotten around to processing that information and alighting your awareness, by that time, it’s all history. It’s all in the past, as soon as you think it’s in the present. Ten days at the London Film Festival are all in the past, even as I’m here.
Actually, I’m not even here. I’m at home. It’s three days later. I’m recovering from a bug I picked up sharing a room with 19 strangers of different nationalities and their different latent viruses to which they’re each immune, exacerbated by a plane-full of sickly white Irish people coughing their entire summers up over the encroaching cold. I guess that’s all in the past too, though it sure doesn’t feel like it, even as I recover from two days almost solidly spent in bed.
London isn’t too far back for me to remember now, though, not too deeply entrenched in my histories for me to recall with the same silly salacity and waffling wankery that you’ve become accustomed to over the past fortnight – you, my one, sole, beloved reader, my darling, my dearest, my love. Please don’t ever leave me, like London did! Please stay! Please lie a little longer, to embrace, to snuggle, to gently slip it in, dry and unannounced, just the tip baby, just the tip. It’s all I can take, for now, if there even is a now. Or ram the whole thing in, who cares? It’s all in the past, remember?
I remember the horn that develops after five days separated from my boyfriend almost like I have it right now… Funny how those five days seemed so much more manageable when they were the future than when they were the present than when they are the past. It was a time that my barely-dormant depression decided to creep back in, alerting me to the ephemerality of the pleasures I encounter in life. Those pleasures, while in London, were the films I encountered, 20 of them excluding the two I saw outside of the festival in my spare (not rly) time. And they were pleasurable, save a small few.
Only one such pleasure today, after a mad rush to the airport last year that I was determined to avoid this year, and boy did I avoid it! After checking out of my dear, dreary hostel, there was a morning’s worth of sightseeing and writing to be done, though Day Seven stans will recall a search for a KFC that resulted in success this very morning, success that nixed most of the sightseeing and postponed the writing until after my first film of the day and last of the festival, Terence Davies’ Sunset Song. Nice to end on something so nice, as I’d supposed. Whenever did Terence Davies not make me feel all nice inside? Whenever were his embraces not warm and gentle, not just the tip but the whole shaft, so sweet and forgiving?
Sunset Song is a good film, but it’s not good Terence Davies. It’s not a great film, and he’s a great filmmaker. His manner(ism) matches with Lewis Grassic Gibson’s manner in an unflattering style – too distanced in Davies’ detached sentimentality and Gibson’s antiquated literariness. And yet it’s a beautiful film to behold, laden with one fine performance after another and written with keenness of character and earnestness of political affinity that seems to have drawn Davies to the novel and that eventually drew me into the film, albeit too late to entirely win me over. Terence Davies will win me over again, I’m sure. Agyness Deyn may too, if she should be provided the opportunities to continue to develop her ability as an actor; she’s impressive in Sunset Song’s demanding lead role,
I knew I could take my time this afternoon – indeed, I knew that if I didn’t take my time, I’d be ambling around the arrivals desks at Stansted Airport with nowhere to go and nothing to do. There was plenty of time, thus, to finish up my LFF coverage on my blog, Screen On Screen, and to take care of the little, menial, necessary things, like having lunch, going to the toilet (with a schedule this tight for this length of time, going to the toilet becomes something you have to make time for), reading emails, perusing gossip sites. And yet the universe still found a way to punish me upon eventual arrival at Stansted – a delayed plane that kept on getting more delayed as the night drew on, stupid, staring children and their stupid, defensive parents, incapable of admitting to the fact that their treasured offspring is actually behaving like a cunt, overpriced airport food that I just had to have anyway because what else was there to do? You can always tell which people in your departure lounge will be taking your flight when your flight is Belfast-bound: they’ll either be exclusively white or extremely pink, they’ll be attired in a variety of shades of black and brown, in a variety of textures of fleece and denim, and they’ll all look like they wish they’d never even left Northern Ireland. Fine, stay there then. When the sea levels rise and this rotten little corner of civilisation sinks under the waters, stay then too. Take your judgements and your bigotry and your ignorant interpretation of spirituality and drown them.
No rly, that’s how my LFF 2015 experience ended. After 20 films, most of them excellent, and 10 days, many of them enjoyable, I was returned to Belfast with an increasingly nasty cough and two unpopped ears (I’m still a bit deaf now, 60 hours later). But I’ll choose to remember, since it’s all in the past now. I’ll close with my verdict on 2015’s slate chez SOS:
Screen On Screen @ Awards Daily’s Best of LFF 2015!
- Best Film: The Assassin (runner-up: Park Lanes)
- Best Directing: Hou Hsiao-Hsien for The Assassin (runner-up: Evan Johnson and Guy Maddin for The Forbidden Room)
- Best Performance: Ralph Ineson for The Witch (runner-up: Kwon So Hyun for Madonna)
- Best Writing: Phyllis Nagy for Carol (runner-up: Aleksey German for Under Electric Clouds)
- Best Technical / Artistic Achievement: Lee Ping Bin for The Assassin – cinematography (runner-up: Elena Okopnaya for Under Electric Clouds – art direction)