Traditionally by the last day of the festival a large number of attendees have already left for flights back home and so breakfast was a lonely affair this morning.
My first film today was to be another of the Wellman films, which for me have turned out to all be very entertaining, one way or another. Today it was THE OX-BOW INCIDENT (1943) – a dark, disturbing western starring Henry Fonda with a very unsettling lynching scene. Having watched Wellman’s THE YELLOW SKY only a few days previous, I noticed a similar scene near the beginning of this film. In both films there’s a scene where some guys enter a saloon, stand at the bar staring at a picture on a wall of a girl and comment on what they’d like to do with her. Although the film was made in 1943 and set in 1885, lynching in the US was still happening so no doubt must have caused a stir on release.
Next for me was Jerzy Kawalerowicz FARAON (1965) in all it’s scope glory! I believe it’s known for being the most expensive Polish film made at the time and it’s not hard to see why with its lavish sets and costumes. I had to leave the screening before the end as was keen to hear the discussion around the festival strand “Il cinema in guerra contro Hitler” with Peter von Bagh, Bernard Eisenschitz and Olaf Moller.
Lunch was at the Lumiere cafe with Kevin Brownlow.
The first of my afternoon screenings was a couple more of the Italian episode films that I’d enjoyed earlier in the week. Today it was IL PROFESSORE, Marco Ferreri’s episode from CONTROSESSO (1964) and RENZO E LUCIANA, Mario Monicelli’s episode from BOCCACCIO ’70. Both were excellent, with a particularly fine restoration of the latter with such strong, rich vibrant colours.
Then it was time for an interview with the A HARD DAY’S NIGHT director, Richard Lester.
Lester was in fine fettle regaling us with tales of making A HARD DAYS NIGHT and what it was like working with The Beatles. He also told a very funny story of working with Margaret Rutherford and what it was like working with George C. Scott on PETULIA. Lester was a great raconteur who had us all hanging on his every word!
Final film of the day, and festival for me, was to be Ernst Lubitsch 1932 film THE MAN I KILLED aka BROKEN LULLABY. A poignant film on the plight of a French soldier who is wracked with guilt when he kills a German soldier in WW1. After the war he sets off to Germany to seek forgiveness from the dead soldier’s parents and fiancé. Lionel Barrymore stars as the dead soldier’s father. In spite of a bit of wooden acting, I really enjoyed this movie. The screening was so packed I had to sit on the floor to view it, but this did not hamper my experience one iota. A rapturous applause filled the cinema at the end of the screening and well deserved.
So this was to be the end of the festival and yet another great year of cinematic discoveries. Dinner this evening was with 10 members of the Aussie film contingent along with that legend of French cinema, Pierre Rissient.