Friday, May 25, 2012

St Kilda Film Festival Opening Night or: I really needed to pee.

EDIT: I'd like to first make sure everyone knows that the big roll of toilet paper there DOES NOT MEAN I am comparing St Kilda film fest to toilet paper/a toilet. I had a really good time. I JUST REALLY NEEDED TO PEE.

This is why we can't go nice places.

St Kilda Film Festival opening night. Work very kindly bought tickets for a bunch of us, seeing as the festival's first evening of festivities is (to quote one of the guys) "surprisingly well-attended by the industry". I've never been one to shy away from seeing some great short films for free, that much should be a given. However, I'm hardly known for being consistent when it comes to charm, social graces, and self-promotion. The instances in which I'm good at that sort of thing come and go with no discernable rhyme or reason. I'm just as likely to put my foot in it and make a bad joke as I am to be endearingly hilarious. The likelihood of the latter occurring seems to sometimes increase though, with the addition of alcohol to the mix. This is disappointing and should be remedied, but for the moment it's much, much easier to swig a beer than to force myself to be confident at all times

Unfortunately, my poorly thought-out plan meant that I spent the entire night needing to pee.

We sat down (very near the stage), made ourselves comfortable. I finished off my beer - smuggled in with thanks to Dane's sleeve - as the speeches began. From all accounts Glen Robbins was about a thousand times more concise with his opening comments than Shane Jacobson's in 2011 - for this I am eternally grateful. Frankly, I don't think I could have lasted any longer than I did. My bladder lulled me into a false sense of security, the bastard. It was all like, "Yeah man. We're fine. We're good. Let's watch some fucking short films!". Liar. Dirty rotten lying scoundrel of a bladder.

Then halfway through the first film it hit. Like a bolt of uncomfortable, increasingly painful lightning bearing the very real risk of Ultimate Embarrassment. It was. Truly. Excruciating. Eight short films to sit through as I writhed in my seat, crossing and uncrossing my legs, trying to adjust my tights so they weren't exacerbating the situation. Now, please add to this image the fact that I had a VERY runny nose and not a single tissue. That, my friends, is why we can't go nice places. At one stage I actually thought to myself, "Goddamn. I am truly gross." 

And so, I will relate to you my thoughts on the St Kilda Film Festival opening night's filmic offerings by way of the following measuring stick: how much I was distracted from the fact that I was in excruciating pain and very near to an embarrassing situation. 

The first film was Suspended (Dir. Damian Walshe-Howling). At this stage, my need to hit up a bathroom was nonexistent to minimal. As a result, I was able to concentrate unimpeded and with my entire brain on the film. I quite enjoyed it, content in my ignorance of what would plague me for the rest of the night. Beautiful to look at, great colours. My opinion of it was most probably instantly improved by the music featured - singing, a bit of harmonica, a front-porch jam session. Also, I in no way found the young lead irritating (I've never been known for a love of onscreen children).

The next two films though, were mostly characterised by my increasingly panicked mind. Is that a skateboard? Why are they skateboarding in a tornado? Who cares. I really should leave now. I can't leave halfway through a film. I'm not going to make it. Was that an ad? Skateboard ad. I need to pee. MY GOD, MATILDA BROWN IS TALKING ABOUT HAVING GONE TO THE TOILET. I often feel like this young woman having an existential crisis onscreen feels. Not only do I need to wee, but I am on the verge of having an existential crisis. Note that I was sufficiently distracted to ponder the film. Well done, Matilda Brown (Am I OK).

I pictured my death in an explosion of red-faced embarrassment and dead bladder monster until halfway through Transmission (Zak Hilditch), which was another film with a very good child actor. A girl this time. She and her father drive through Western Australia after a pandemic in search of the safe zone. They fight, they encounter a stranger on the road. I was half expecting zombies, and was remarkably un-disappointed when there were none. The short appeared to be a handful of scenes from a feature. I don't know whether this intrigued or irritated me. At any rate, let's call my distraction rate at around the 70% mark, and the cross-uncrossing of my legs slowed significantly.

However! I was almost 100% distracted by the excruciating pain I was in by The Globe Collector (Dir. Summer DeRoche). In fact, I didn't even care that each burst of laughter brought me that much closer to COMPLETE DOOM. In FACT, I was truly disappointed when the credits rolled; I wanted to know much, much more about the man onscreen and his sprawling, all-consuming collection of light globes. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you get around to seeing it. Lovely, warm, fascinating, hilarious stuff. BOOM, Summer DeRoche. I forgot that I was about to wee myself.

By the time we got to Bonny Doon (Matthew Saville), I bizarrely and remarkably appeared to have burst through the wall. I kind of was settling into a groove, albeit a slightly uncomfortable. As such, I was able to enjoy Stephen Curry and Dave Lawson's banter pretty much completely. Maybe it was because I knew I'd reached the home stretch. Maybe the magic of cinema enveloped my bladder in a comforting hug. Either way, it was goddamn funny. Of course, one would be completely lost to the short's humour if they hadn't seen The Castle. That aside though, I'd rank Bonny Doon as a definite highlight.


Then. Then the lights came up and the crowd stood up and I looked up and realised how long it would take me to get to a bathroom. I hopped hopped hopped until I did, and then I walked out into the night and was so exhausted from the whole ordeal that I got a lift back to my car and didn't go to the after party.

That was my St Kilda Film Festival opening night. I learned that you should go to the toilet if you've had beer and are about to sit through a bunch of speeches and films. I also learned that despite the obvious pain and discomfort, how much a film distracts me from a bladder on the verge of bursting is quite an effective way of gauging what I really thought of said film.

The more you know!

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