Ang Lee was also present to introduce his new feature Taking Woodstock. Star Demetri Martin, who plays Elliot Tiber one of the organisers of the infamous festival, was absent, prompting more criticism of his reluctance to promote the film. Sashaying my way down the red carpet, I nearly trod on Imelda Staunton - she's so little. It's day 14 of the festival!
Ang Lee was also present to introduce his new feature Taking Woodstock. Star Demetri Martin, who plays Elliot Tiber one of the organisers of the infamous festival, was absent, prompting more criticism of his reluctance to promote the film.
Which is a real shame because Martin is superb as the interior designer, returned from Greenwich village to the Catskills to help run his parents dilapidated motel. When Elliot hears that a neighbouring village has revoked its license for a 'hippy' music festival, he contacts the organisers and offers his motel, and a local farmers land to make Woodstock happen. You know the rest.
But actually the film shows little of the musical highlights, and surrounding historical events such as the moon landing are confined to passing TV reports. It's a much more personal story about a young man seeking acceptance from his parents, and longing for his own freedom away from his hometown.
It's billed as a light and entertaining film, which is not untrue, comic moments come aplenty from Staunton's formidable matriarch and Dan Fogler's theatre troupe leader, who strip off at every opportunity. But this also belies an unexpected emotional depth that's only fleetingly glimpsed, thanks to Martin's restrained performance - an achievement for someone is new to acting from the stand-up comedy scene.
Contrasts between the cliche of late sixties liberalism, and the realities of prejudicial hangover are perfectly exemplified by Elliot's mostly hidden homosexuality, while straight couples cavort naked around his land.
Ang Lee has a great skill, not just in lush cinematography, or organising hundreds of extras in a field, but in finding these fragile moments that enrich a simpler story. In this sense, it's not a million miles from Lee's Brokeback Mountain The word 'beautiful' is often repeated in TW, and it sums it up...beautifully.