Alas, the pool was being treated for a minor algae issue and without my 50-lap endorphin-rush wake-up ritual, I was definitely feeling worse for wear by Monday morning. Fortunately, I had good incentive to drag myself out of bed. Agustin got us invited to this fancy dim sum party at the Hong Kong Pavilion.
After a gorgeous assortment of fish buns, shrimp rolls, sushi and lovely white wine, I felt almost human by the time we made it over to the U.K. Pavilion where we joined Nat and J in a meeting with friend Sarah Pemberton, a producer I met at the London Independent Film Festival last year. She had participated in a staged reading of a previous draft of Paige & Hadley’s Prom From Hell of which she’s been a great champion.
It’s so fun to bring talented friends together and we chatted about various projects and the possibilities of U.K./Aussie co-productions – something we’re all quite keen on at the moment. Sarah is very savvy with this international stuff and a wealth of knowledge. As I’m learning, distribution is something one should deal with prior to making her movie, not once it’s shot as so many of us naively assume with our first features. Thank goodness for Skype – we parted with much left to discuss.
After, we worked the market some more, indulged in our daily sangria break, had our best pain au chocolate to date (a B+, but still not the perfect A I sought) and headed back to the villa for what would be a most memorable evening of screenings with more good friends and good food (wow – how I do go on about the food, n’est-pas?)
The evening began with Sameer Hanchate’s ambitious film Gafla (which translates to “scam” in English.) Imagine if Wall Street were made on a shoestring budget in Bollywood fashion (sans dance numbers) and you will be appropriately impressed as we were. Director Sameer is one of the most cleverly resourceful filmmakers I’ve met – not only able to make an indie film of epic proportions for a miniscule budget, but one who also discovered a nifty secret for getting serious press attention (like being featured in the Hollywood Reporter – you go, Sameer! ) as a tiny fish in the giant Cannes pond (which he generously shared with the rest of us. It was a bit too late for us to follow suit, but will no doubt be a helpful tip for next time and one we’ll pass along next year to those of you interested.)
After Gafla came a moment I’d been awaiting since I first met Richard Dailey and co-director/star Côme Levin the day I arrived at the Villa and they described their film The Visit as “John Waters-esque.” John Waters is one of my gods.
I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed, though I’d also add to the comparisons a post-modern teenage Benny Hill with touches of Ab Fab, George Kuchar and early Mike Leigh tossed in the mix. Maybe some Looney Tunes as well.
What was most fun about the film, however, was watching it after Richard’s rockumentary The Stoneking Project the previous week and realizing that much like Scorsese and Woody Allen each have their own New Yorks, Richard has his own Paris – and what a wacky, raunchy, yet somehow sweet and charming place it is – brought to life all the more with Stoneking’s fitting tunes that fill the fun soundtrack (and bless Richard for burning us all cd’s – thanks again!)
And, yes – as the poster suggests, The Visit offers us “full frontal teenage nudity.…with socks!” However, unlike teen sexploitation films like American Pie, the nudity and raunchiness in The Visit feels more organic. It stems from Come’s wonderfully natural portrayal of Eliot, an incessant masturbator whose unabashed horniness (and quest to lose his virginity in a homemade porno film co-starring his religious fanatic American cousin – played by Dailey’s daughter!) makes him simultaneously endearing, revolting and sweet. Hence, the John Waters nod. Even the “bad guys” are lovable. Such heart!
Richard Dailey along with collaborator Come form a voice of which I hope to hear much more. 2 reviewers of our second short film Confederate Zombie Massacre! paid me the highest compliment by requesting that “somebody please give this man gobs and gobs of money to make a feature!” which I shall now repeat in regards to Richard Dailey (though gobs of money to make webisodes would be another fun option.) This man has a world that will positively delight many of us, turn others off completely and violently outrage even more – he should be funded at once – we need him!
Appropriately we ended the evening on the veranda with cheese, wine and discussion. At first I attempted to plead utter exhaustion and head to bed at a reasonable hour for a change, but found it utterly irresistible to engage in the very necessary post-screening discussion. You can’t watch The Visit and just walk away – you’d inevitably spontaneously combust. I gradually felt my eyelids grow heavier, however, and enjoyed this warm, tingly feeling consuming me. I remember thinking how perfect it all was - surrounded by crazy geniuses with wild brains and hearts and all of us sharing this enormous passion for films, wine and cheese (ah, the cheese!) There is a heaven on earth – it’s called the Cannes Independent Film Festival. I slept better than I ever have in my life that night (with the most insanely wacky dreams courtesy of Mr. Dailey no doubt – thanks again!)