I hadn’t seen any of the films in the Odd War strand so I thought I’d start the last day of the festival with The Manchurian Candidate. Unusually the film was shown with French subtitles (presumably the only available print) but that only made the screening feel even more special.
I already knew what a wonderful cinematographer Jack Cardiff was but I was still really looking forward to seeing Cameraman, a documentary all about him. The film turned out to be highlight of the festival for me (and many others) and the whole experience was even better because the director Craig McCall, was there to introduce the film and talk about it afterwards. McCall went on to introduce Black Narcissus in the main theatre which got off to a bad start by being projected backwards but was quickly turned around (literally) and up and running. The quality of the print seemed quite poor especially compared to the extracts shown in Cameraman but it was still great to finally see this Powell & Pressburger film for the first time and on a big screen.
My penultimate film of the festival was going to be The Harimaya Bridge but technical problems meant that we never got to see the final half of the film, this was a real shame because I’d gone in not quite sure what to expect and really liked the first hour. Keswick Film Club will be show the film again at the end of the Spring Season but I don’t think I’ll be able to get back to see it.
Apart from selecting the winners (and shortlist) for the Shorts competition the hardest decision I had to make at the festival was which of the closing films to see. I wanted to see Animal Kingdom at Leeds Film Festival but didn’t, knowing it was planned for Keswick, but then I saw the trailer for The Tempest and thought that looked wonderful. In the end I saw The Tempest, it seemed like a better fit for Keswick and the theatre and I know I’ll make the effort to see Animal Kingdom when it comes to Hyde Park Picture House next month. The Tempest was a nice way to end the festival but was definitely lacking something, it’s also a shame that more people didn’t come and see it as it was a good preview for the festival to show.
All in all, despite too many technical problems, it seemed like a huge success. I enjoyed something about all the films I saw and didn’t regret any of the choices I made. I still need to see Animal Kingdom, Summer Wars, Cleo From 5-9, Whisper With The Wind, Waste Land and track down the end of The Harimaya Bridge. We’ve already started thinking about what we can do the 2013 Festival and I can’t wait to get started on it.