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Glass is liquid

April 15, 2012

Grisha and I went to Durham’s Full Frame Film Festival/food truck extravaganza with my friend Kyle.

The set up was more manageable than our Valentines Day Rodeo – plenty of trucks to diffuse the crowd, plenty of green space for picnickers, and perhaps most important, an event other than food to draw people out. Grisha opted to try Pie Pushers and got a beefy, mushroomy slice he enjoyed. Kyle and I tried American Meltdown because I compulsively order anything with goat cheese, especially grilled goat cheese with figs and balsamic vinegar. We finished with blueberry tarts from Triangle Raw Foodists, which could have almost fooled Grisha into thinking they were normal cheesecake if it weren’t for the entirely walnut “crust.”

Then we settled across the street for the free showing of the best shorts in the 15-year reign of Full Frame.

The first short started off well, an adorable mashup of elementary school students on Picture Day, the namesake of the film. Just as the audience was won over to the semi-stop-motion nature of the film, the inflatable screen collapsed. My first thought was “Why are their faces so wrinkly?” and then I heard the audience break out in laughter. A moment later, after full deflation and a tense moment amongst viewers, the screen rose and we returned to the darling faces.

The next film, appropriately titled Crow Film, had no narration nor plot and alternated between shots of crows, video cameras and fading to black. The score included a nails-on-the-blackboard motif and gave off a horror-film vibe. During the final fade to black, the crowd behind us let out an exasperated “Oh finally!” sigh.

The third film showed one-sided cell phone conversations of Londoners: sounding stupid, gossiping, laughing, breaking up. There was comedy and tragedy and a well crafted contrast between familiarity and voyeurism as suggested in the title The Intimacy of Strangers.

Lastly was the film Lost Book Found. In the beginning, I thought it had the most promise. A human narrator, a storyline, an urban nostalgia. But it quickly devolved into endless images of New York City from the early 1990’s and repetitive bouts of random lists: “Glass is liquid. 27th Street. 2-for-1 socks. Space-time continuum. $56.30.” I made it 20 minutes before I lost control giggling. I have a weakness for absurdity and the film was quickly approaching what I can only rationalize as a psychological experiment measuring how long an artsy audience was willing to watch endless nonsensical footage. Grisha said a ton of people left, but I didn’t notice because I had to cover my eyes and ears and bury my face in his chest to try to stymie my uncontrollable laughter. I probably should have left out of respect to the audience, but I could swear that I wasn’t the only one laughing. And just when Grisha whispered in my ear “I can’t take anymore of this,” the credits started and we catapulted out of there, laughing with full force. Spoiler alert: the book was never found.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2012 7:38 pm

    Wow that stinks! At least the food sounds like it was tasty. CROW FILM!

    I can recall screening insufferable films before my little film fest in Greece.. the programming stage. That was my favorite part. Separating the good from the unwatchable. I think I was the least forgiving of the four (me, Pauline, Nerea & Libby)!

    • April 17, 2012 12:03 am

      Everyone I spoke to who went to the feature length documentaries loved them (in particular The Invisible War and How to Survive a Plague). The shorts were just a little too artsy. Perhaps I would have appreciated them more in an environment where you could talk (or joke) during them. It seemed to be the heavy, serious silence that fueled my giggles. Or just my immaturity 🙂

  2. April 18, 2012 1:10 am

    For the above, the term “artsy” should be read as “self-indulgent.” 🙂

    It has been 20 years since I thought of that book, it is almost like I can’t recognize the city….buildings, frog swimming, 25th street, coffee $1.99

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