Here we are at Day Three of Telluride already. Only one more day of fun and film at 10,000 feet to go before I'm off to Toronto. Today was beautiful in Telluride, absolutely perfect for sitting outside to interview Venus director Roger Michell during an afternoon screening of his film. Michell was every bit as delightful in person as he seems in his Q&As. He was due to take off right after the post-show Q&A to get his kids back to London in time for school tomorrow, before heading to Toronto himself to promote the film there. I'll have the interview up as soon as I have enough spare minutes to get it transcribed.
After the interview, I had a little time before I needed to queue up for the screening of Infamous at the Galaxy, so I headed down to Main Street (aka Colorado Street), the heart of Telluride, to score a sandwich to eat in line. On my way back to the Galaxy, I found a nice little coffee shop, where I got a lovely triple-shot latte -- just what I needed to boost me through the afternoon and evening. Finally got into the Galaxy after waiting in the queue forever. It's a neat theater: They convert the elementary school gymnasium into a full-fledged theater by covering everything in black velvet drapes and bringing in lots of cool neon galaxy-themed art. I enjoyed Infamous more than I expected to. I wasn't sure the world needed two films about Truman Capote in as many years, but the film was well-done and well-acted, with Sandra Bullock putting in a particularly strong performance as Capote's childhood friend, Pulitzer prize-winning author Nelle Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird). I love To Kill a Mockingbird, but I had no idea that Lee based the character of Dil on Capote. I know, I'm probably the only person on the planet who didn't know that. That's okay. You learn all kinds of unexpected things at film festivals.
Following Infamous, I headed back over to the Chuck Jones Cinema for a screening of the much-buzzed about Russian flick The Italian, which took top honors at Berlin in 2005. This film totally blew me away. Maybe it was partly because the six-year-old boy in the film reminded me strongly of my own six-year-old son, but the film really got under my skin. It's about a little boy in a Russian orphanage who, on the verge of being adopted by an Italian couple, escapes to try and find his real mother. My review of the film will be up later today.
Director Andrei Kravchuk held an interesting Q&A after the screening. He talked some about the conditions in Russian orphanages, and how the rural ones, like the one they filmed in, really are that bad. He said that a lot of people in Russia these days are suffering from the effects of political decisions and poor economy, but rather than taking action themselves to change things, they sit around, complain and wait for the government to make it better. With this film, he said, one of the things it was important to show was that the character of Vanya is just a child, but rather than sit around waiting for someone to solve his problem for him, he takes action himself. He is smart, resourceful and doesn't quit -- no matter how difficult the situation is -- and Kravchuk wishes more adults would be like that. Toward the end of the Q&A, a woman asked whether this film had effected any political changes in Russia with better licensing of orphanages and tighter regulation of adoptions. He considered her question, then strongly responded that the problem is not with adoptions, the problem is with the underlying economic conditions that have people in a situation where they feel they cannot care for a child, but that he does not believe that a movie can cause a political change great enough to impact that. All in all, one of the more interesting Q&As I've seen here.
Tomorrow is the last day of the fest. There's a packed schedule on the TBA list. I'm going to try to catch The Namesake, Fur, and The Lives of Others. From there, I'll be heading off to Toronto on Tuesday, where we'll have a whole team assembled to cover the Toronto International Film Festival from stem to stern.