Thursday, 8 October 2009

Laundry (Again)

Annoying: someone leaving their half-done load of laundry in the only machine in our building for a day and a half (and counting). I tried to take it out today so I could do my washing, which was how I discovered that the load was only half done - water poured out all over me and the floor when I opened the door. Not that it's all that important that I get my laundry done (I have plenty of clean clothes), it's just annoying. As Swiss laundry always seems to be.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Forgotten News

Annoying festy things I forgot to mention:

The man who made an introductory speech before one of the films I saw and told us that the movie had a happy ending. Great. Just what everyone who's about to watch a movie wants to hear.

The time I left a very crowded Q&A after a movie, snuck out the convenient exit just near where I was sitting, only to find that the door at the end of it, which opened into the lane beside the cinema, was unopenable because some moron had parked their car in front of it. A security guard got the car owner to come and move it and so I was freed, but never mind the fact that these emergency exits (which I think was what this was) are there for a reason. I was pleased that when I tried to open the door I shoved it the 7cm or so that it would go before it ran into the car and that I was responsible for making a bit of a dent in the side of the car, and for getting some door paint off the door and onto the car. Idiot.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Festy Round-Up

I've spent the last week hard at work going to the Zurich Film Festival every day and watching a lot of movies. Nineteen of them, to be precise, and I'm surprisingly glad it's all over now. High points, low points and points of note include:

My undoubted favourite movie of the fest was Sergio, a documentary about the all-round impressive (unless you were his wife) UN dude who was killed in Iraq in 2003. Apparently the rest of the festy-goers didn't agree with me, because it didn't win the audience prize for a documentary, but had I been the only voter it definitely would have. Someone in my screening even gave it a standing ovation, so maybe he would have been allowed to vote too.

Feature-film wise, my favourite was a really grim Romanian/English movie called Katalin Varga which also didn't win the audience prize, but had far more charm than the really grim Russian flick that did.

I patriotically went and saw the only Australian movie on offer, Samson and Delilah, and it was also pretty grim. And dialogue-lite. And sort of slow moving, at least for the first half, but definitely worth it in the end. Plus I think we all took away a clear message from it - sniffing petrol is bad. In case you didn't already know.

The festy people really need to work on their ticketing skillz. Buying my festypass involved being sent to the wrong place twice, having gone to the right place in the first place and been told authoritatively that I was in the wrong place. I eventually got hold of my festival pass (which let me see all the films at the festival without having to pay more for anything), but then I still had to get individual tickets for the films I wanted to see, and I was never allowed to get a ticket for anything more than a day in advance. Which meant that every day I had to queue up and get tickets, and really, of the 7 times I did that, only once or twice did I manage to be given the right tickets without any drama. People gave me tickets to screenings on the wrong day, they told me it was impossible to reserve tickets for that movie (which was never true!), they told me that my pass only let me see one movie a day, they gave me ticket reservations instead of actual tickets (which meant I had to queue up again and get the actual tickets later). None of it was a real problem, but it was all very annoying.

All the movies (bar one) had english subtitles. Oh, and maybe another one which was partially in english and partially in russian and had french and german subtitles the whole way through. That is great, in my english-speaking opinion. It was also a very pleasant surprise when we stumbled upon the Lisbon film fest in May this year and found that everything had english subtitles there too.

I hate reserved seating and the Swiss mania for sitting in your reserved seat. And also the enthusiasm of the ticket sellers for allocating you a seat in the middle of everyone else (behind/in front of/next to people, even when 90% of the theatre is empty). Which meant I rarely sat in my allocated seat and lived in fear of someone coming and telling me to go away. Which they never did.

Some people are nuts. Reto came with me to one of the films I saw, a reasonably full screening of somethingorother, and our seats weren't next to each other because I hadn't bought the two tickets at the same time. There was a woman sitting between us. Reto asked her if she wouldn't mind swapping seats with him, and she said "okay, since they're only showing a DVD [as opposed to reels, I suppose] I guess it doesn't matter if I'm not exactly in the middle", and then she looked sort of grim-faced, as though it really did matter. Quite a bit.

Those chocolates that Globus gives you with your coffee are great. And I have a new-found respect for Brezelk├Ânig as a meal-substitute, although if you buy their pretzels at 11pm as you're rushing for the last train home, they tend to be kind of old and dry and blergh (but still better than nothing).

Oh, and all that Roman Polanski bizzo - whatever. I find it sort of odd that so many people went so bonkers about saying how he deserves his freedom and he has paid his debt to society because .. well, look how good his movies have been. Whatever high profile guests the fest invites next year might be well-advised to look into any outstanding international warrants against them before booking their flights, though.