The IFFK has their list of films up. Films I intend to watch include the Weerasethakul, Hsien, Ratanaruang, Tarr, Menzel, Sokhurov, Kawase, Kitano, Sang-soo, in addition to the usual Winterbottom, von Triers, Mungiu and stuff.
I'm upset there's no Opera Jawa or I Don't Want To Sleep Alone (I know you said it was crap, Cheshire Cat, but I still want to watch it.)
Rumour has it that this year's Jury for the Competition section includes Jiri Menzel and Vera Chitylova, and Miguel Littin (whose Jackal of Nahueltoro was, frankly, a bit of a yawn). Menzel I can believe; he's going to deliver the Aravindan Memorial Lecture this year.
Rashid usually books all of us into a hotel in time for the Fest. This time, with memories of rats in the table drawer, tatty sheets and a suspicion that there might be a camera in our cupboard, we decided to avoid the place where we usually stay. So having found a new place, Rashid very kindly offered to do the booking as usual. However, the hotel doesn't do block/group bookings, he was told, so he passed around a number so that all of could book our own rooms for the Fest.
So yesterday, I call the number Rashid sent.
"Hello, I'd like ot book a single room, non-AC, please, for the 6th of December."
"Yes, madam. How many days?"
"9 nights starting the 6th."
"But I can't book you for so long."
"What?! Why not?"
"We don't do such long bookings, ma'am."
"I'm coming for the Film Festival. Others have booked rooms for the same duration and you've given them a booking. What's the problem?"
"Ma'am you are all cheating."
"First you all want to do block booking, we don't do block booking, ma'am."
"I know. That's why I'm calling to book separately."
"But it's a block booking only ma'am. So many of you are calling. I can't give you a room for such a long time."
"But I'm paying for it! Do you already have a booking? Is that what you're saying?"
"No, but I can't block the room for so long. Suppose some visitor wants it?"
By this time, I've given up trying to figure out where the guy learnt logic.
"How many days can you give me the room for?"
and before he can tell me,
"How do you expect me to find another room after a few days in the middle of a festival?!"
This went on for a while longer, until a phone began to ring in the background. Possibly, visions arose in the man's head of all the bookings he would lose just by continuing to talk to me.
"Ok, ma'am, I will give you this room, but please tell your friends not to call. I won't give booking for such a long time."
"This is a confirmed booking?" I asked. I was, not unnaturally, suspicious.
"Yes, yes, it is confirmed."
"Do I need to pay an advance?"
"No need. Just give your name and phone number. And time of arrival. And please, ma'am, tell your friends not to ask for a booking here. There is no place."
Sigh. "Ok. Thank you very much."
I am, of course, haunted by the thought that I will land up there and find I cannot stay for more than two days and then will either have to bum it on an extra bed in someone else's room, or trudge back to the ratty hotel and the guy at the reception who is unable to drop a bunch of keys in your hand without touching it.
Oh, and in the middle of this - or rather, at the beginning of all this - there will be a reading. I was hoping to have done with it on the 7th but that appears to be impossible. I only hope the reading doesn't clash with some important film, because if it does, and there's no repeat screening, I'm not going and that's final!
Update: The film list I'm talking about is, of course, the regular programme. It does not include, as yet, the special packages, homages, retrospectives and perspectives that are usual.
The Edward Yang tribute is confirmed. There's almost certainly going to be at least one film each of Antonioni's and Bergman's. And I hope to heaven someone's remembered to pick a few Ousmane Sembene films.
This means that I would need to perfect the art of splitting myself into several people so I can watch all the films I want to. Until I do, I need to work on getting myself on to a selection committee. Oh, wait. That would mean watching a lot of chaff to get to the wheat. Nah...I'll just drive myself crazy trying to decide what to watch. That's nearly one half of the fun of going to film festivals. (Another large part is deciding where to eat.)