Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Film Festival My Ass

A citizen and taxpayer attempting to put some serious distance between himself and the FJDIFF yesterdayIsn't that a beautiful poster that the Fourth Jameson Dublin International Film Festival are running on the DART this weather? In the bottom right, the bottle of Jameson, iconic in itself, and in the fore- and backgrounds, a Ford Mustang GT390 and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, both photoshoped to match the Jemmy green. An homage to Bullitt, of course.

Beautiful. And rich in meaning. What it's telling us, of course, is the Fourth Jameson Dublin International Film Festival isn't run by some bunch of yokels, squares or hicks. They are cinephiles, darling, people that know when it comes to cool, you can't beat Steve McQueen in Bullitt.

What they don't seem to be aware of, however, is the rich irony in using Bullitt to promote their preposterous festival, because if it were released in the morning Bullitt would have as much chance of being shown at the Festival as Jackie Healy-Rae has of winning this year's Rose of Tralee.

Bullitt was a studio star vehicle from first to last. Steve McQueen was as big a box office attraction as you can imagine in 1968, coming off a decade that had seen him star in The Thomas Crown Affair, The Cincinnati Kid and, of course, The Great Escape in 1963. Robert Vaughn was a huge TV star because of The Man from Uncle, and the director, Peter Yates, made his name on TV directing The Saint and Danger Man. He would go on to make Krull in 1983, described as being "a world light-years beyond your imagination." An Spailpín Fánach doesn't doubt it for a second.

But your constantly curmudgeonly correspondent's point is that Bullitt's cool is seen only in hindsight. In its day, Bullitt was pure studio product, exactly what these film festivals espouse to despise. Bullitt isn't Art with a capital A; all it is is two hours' fun at the movies. Fun at the movies is generally considered infra dig at film festivals; we go to film festivals to be swept away by the daring of Lars Van Trier's direction and vision, and to sneer at George Bush with our friends in the lobby beforehand.

If Bullitt were made today, Pierce Brosnan could play the lead (following on from The Thomas Crown Affair, of course), Rachel McAdams could be Jacqueline Bisset, and who would be more perfect for the Robert Vaughn part than Kiefer "24" Sutherland? Call Tony Scott to direct and hey, we could have a half-way to good product here.

How likely is a Tony Scott picture to feature at the Fourth Jameson Dublin International Film Festival? Not very. Tony and his oeuvre are so far below the salt they're off the table. What is much more the Film Festival's cup of tea is Sugar, from the United States. Shall I quote the Sundance Film Festival program? Why don't I:

"When a woman rents a miserably tiny room, she finds mountains of belongings from the previous tenant, 'Anthony,' as well as messages on the machine from the landlord, his mother, and a calm, threatening Irishman. As she cleans up the place, she begins to experience uncanny visions, nightmares, and the feeling that Anthony is much closer than she imagined. Sugar is a terrifying, intoxicating cockroach-eye view into the sweet surrender of hysteria and comforts of urban claustrophobia that will have you crawling out of your skin."

Crawling out of my skin, eh? Well I can't speak for you bums, of course, but An Spailpín Fánach would sooner go to the dentist.

, , ,