Sunday 20 March 2011

Bradford International Film Festival

On Wednesday I got to walk my beautiful wife along the red carpet at the opening gala of the Bradford International Film Festival. It was a fine evening spoilt only by the fact that the opening screening was Woody Allen's latest; 'You will meet a tall dark stranger.' It was dire. He hasn't been able to make a good movie in over two decades.

I asked the guy who invited me how I got on the invite list. Was it because of my new book? Because of all the work I had done in the city centre? No. He had spotted me gatecrashing the last opening night of one of their photo exhibitions. He had noticed me scoffing all the free food and thought that I might deserve a bit of a break. Oh well.

The Festival has some great highlights, including a fantastic Terry Gilliam retrospective. I missed the showing of Time Bandits (with the director giving a talk beforehand) and next week, I'll miss Brazil (Gilliam's best film) because of the demo against the cuts down in London.

But I am going to try to treat myself to one guilty pleasure during the festival. The 1963 film 'The Haunting' is the most spine tingling film I have ever seen, and I can't wait to scare myself silly next Friday.

I love film, films that make me laugh, films that make me cry or even films that terrify me. One of the reasons I came to this city was because of the National Media Museum, and its amazing selection of great cinema. For me, walking down that red carpet was a bit of a dream come true. How sad am I?!

Film has the power to change things - emotions; ideas; the world around us. When I saw 'Cry Freedom' at the age of 17 - it had a huge, life changing impact on me. Check out the filmography in the back of my book, from 'Aprile' to 'Age of Stupid' - cinema can change the world.

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