Following the opening weekend of the Green Mountain Film Festival, Doreen and I still had four movies to choose. Duly enthused by the first two shows, we eagerly delved into the schedule to find which movies interested us that would be shown at times we could attend. Our choices were made a bit easier by the fact that some flicks were already sold out.
On Monday we saw This is My Land, an interesting documentary about the differences in how history is taught by Isreali and Palestinian schools. (Basically, each side talks about how their land was or is being stolen by the other side.) We see traditional schools, a religious school, a refugee school and, most interestingly, a mixed Israeli/Palestinian school. It was a stark reminder that “history” bears a great deal of credit to whoever is telling the story.
After taking Tuesday off, on Wednesday we saw an added showing of The Irish Pub. This was described as a warm tribute to the traditional Irish Pub (as in, the traditional pub in Ireland). And warm it is, with several publicans describing their pubs, along the characters and the stories from within. Interesting, but a bit slow in places. By which I mean, “a bit slow throughout.” Makes you thirsty for a Guinness, though.
On Thursday we saw something completely different: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry documented the Women’s Liberation movement from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Told through archival footage and interviews with many of the women involved, this was a high-energy affair that really fired up the audience, many of whom were women of a certain age. One key takeaway is that everybody seems to need somebody to shit on; many in the civil rights movement were loathe to fight for women’s rights, many in the women’s rights movement were loathe to fight for LGBT rights. And the white men in power fight for wealthy white men’s rights. Inspiring and yet depressing all at once.
Things started to catch up with us on Friday: six movies in seven nights is a lot for us. Our final selection was The Road Within. After five documentaries, we thought a comedy-drama would be a nice change of pace. The gentleman at the ticket office said it was a “fun” movie.
The fun was delayed a bit, though, as the DVD provided was in Surround Sound, which the Pavilion couldn’t handle. It was really just as well, because the 8:15 show time on the heels of a long week of movie watching had us feeling a bit shall we call it “drowsy.” (No, we should probably call it “old.”)
The festival organizers kindly rescheduled for Monday and Tuesday night at the Savoy, so most people would be able to see it. We went on Monday, thankful for the weekend reprieve (during which we went skiing at Jay Peak). And it was a good flick, even if “fun” isn’t the word I would choose. It’s a heavy subject matter, with Robert Sheehan, Zoe Kravitz and Dev Patel playing a guy with Tourette’s, an anorexic woman, and an obsessive-compulsive who break out of a behavior facility to drive to the ocean. Robert Patrick, who plays Sheehan’s politician father, and Kyra Sedgwick, who plays the head of the behavioral facility, soon follow in hot pursuit. There are many hiccups along the way, but everybody learns something about themselves and a greater tolerance for each other. It sounds a bit trite as I just described it, but it’s well-done and feels honest.
And with that, the festival was done for us. It was a lot of fun, with people getting out and having fun as a community. Many businesses in town added to the festive touch by providing discounts to customers who were carrying ticket stubs. We took advantage of free chocolate at Capitol Stationers, a discounted dessert at North Branch Cafe, and a clothing discount at Salaam Boutique. We inquired everywhere we went, and even got a discount from the owner at Capital Kitchen even though she wasn’t technically taking part. The enthusiasm was infectious!
Now we are in the part of spring where we impatiently wait out the still-colder-than-we-want days and tolerate muddy roads as we anticipate green grass, fresh flowers and baseball season. For ten days, the film festival was a great excuse to forget about all that.