Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jason goes to Cinequest--Opening Night

Woo hoo, the biggest party in all of San Jose started last night, and totally not ready for it. I'll be lucky if I can figure out what I'm seeing today by...tomorrow.

But none of that mattered. I left work early to get down to San Jose 2 hours before the festivities began. I got my press pass, hugged a bunch of my fellow Cinequesters, had a few drinks in the VIP lounge, hugged more Cinequesters, and then headed to the fabulous California Theatre, where I hugged more Cinequesters and soon enough was occupying my traditional front row center seat.

Eventually when everyone else had taken their seats and we'd all been treated to a rousing performance on the mighty Wurlitzer, Halfdan (isn't it about time he was promoted to Threequartersdan?) Hussey came onstage for some brief introductory remarks.

They did, of course, play the festival trailer, which I'm sure I'll be sick of after seeing it a few hundred times over the course of the festival, but for now I'm in love with. My friend Roy and I officially decided that the official audience participation during the trailer is to raise your wand to help create the magic of Cinequest--so go find a nice, wand-like stick everyone (my wand, in keeping with my Cinequesting experience, will probably be a swizzle stick.)

More thanking of sponsors. We officially love them all, but extra special love for the Gold Sponsors, and we got to watch commercials for AT&T U-Verse, HP, and Sony. I know, commercials aren't cool...but I freakin' want a Sony 4K TV!

Then they introduced the Cinequesters. A quick, easy, and fun way to categorize your festival plan. Halfdan did mention that fans had already taken to calling themselves Cinequesters. Now I don't want to make too much of this, because I'm not sure it's actually true, but I've heard a rumor that I have actually been credited with coining the term, "Cinequester." I don't know if that's actually true (that I'm being credited with it, or that the credit is deserved.) It feels like one of those things we started doing without knowing whose idea it was. In any case, the important thing is don't confuse it with "sequester."

Then to celebrate and illustrate the Cinequesters. we got to see some (nearly) naked painted people, courtesy of Trina Merry's Art Alive.  Really beautiful, but is it Burning Man already?! Then we got a yoga demonstration--seriously, is it Burning Man already!?

Oh yeah, and finally we actually saw a movie, too. That would be the Cold War, young woman drama GINGER AND ROSA starring Elle Fanning (as Ginger) and the first feature film role for Alice Englert (as Rosa.) Two girls born in London in the shadow of the atomic bomb. Their mothers were close friends, going into labor at the exact same time. Ginger and Rosa grow up as best friends, sharing a bond nearly as close as twins (I guess as close as could be without being actual sisters.) Director Sally Potter (ORLANDO) does a great job of creating the early '60s, a time when young women wore jeans in the bathtub to custom shrink them, ironed their hair, and actively rebelled against the boring domesticity society expects of them. Of course, although their respective mothers are examples of that boring domestic life, you have to sympathize for them. Rosa's father is absent and so she had to raise her as a single mother. Ginger's even worse. A pompous, self-aggrandizing, philandering pig who glorifies his selfishness by claiming he's taking a moral stand against authority. He was a conscientious objector in the Great War, and went to jail for it--and now thinks refusing to fight against Hitler makes him a moral hero. I so wanted to reach into the screen and punch him in the face. Especially when it's clear that he (as a college professor) is routinely sleeping with his students. And especially when Rosa starts taking an interest in him. Meanwhile, Ginger is becoming politically active in the "ban the bomb" movement and is following the philosophy of Bertrand Russell while trying to become a poet in the mold of T.S. Eliot. But let me go back to Rosa sleeping with Ginger's father--that is not good. All this seething tension comes to a head during the Cuban Missile Crisis, with some explosive results (well, not explosive in that way, but emotionally explosive.)

And with that, Cinequest 2013 is officially open. I was off to the opening night party where I had more drinks, hugged more Cinequesters (not the naked painted people, the fellow fans.) I think at some point I picked Michael "Hambone" Rabehl off the floor. It was a weird night. And here's to the start of a weird and wonderful Cinequest.

Running Time: 90 minutes
My Total Minutes: 317,476

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