You arrived on the 15th. It's the 25th. Ten days and ten nights, a nice round number. Round because it's rolling over you, and you feel that weight. How is the cat doing? What about the mail? How are the plants? You left all these things in the hands of friends, but you still worry. You'd like to go take care of them yourself. Because then you'd be home. You still need to get thank-you gifts for the custodians of your keys, the cat, the plants. You've seen 24 films. You needed to go back through the press screening schedule to arrive at that number. Consult your notes, scrawled in a clumsy hand in the dark of the various theaters. Last night, you ran into a film critic for a weekly magazine you've gotten to know. He was leaving a film you were about to see. How was it, you ask. He offers a sentence and shrug. I've run out of opinions, he says. You know the feeling.
But opinions is what you're here for. You're a machine in this job -- you turn a movie into a thousand words, five hundred words, two hundred words, a paragraph. A sentence. A well-polished phrase for broadcast or another journalist. You want to be clever and insightful, because those things got you here. That and a plane. Now and then, a film doesn't work for you and you get up, get out. You step on feet. Pardonnez moi, Pardonnez moi. Apology is a universal language. You don't write about a film if you walk out of it. You have something like ethics, or maybe it's just standards. You're in it to win it, opening title to final credit. And if you walk out of something, maybe you can get to something else. The endless pursuit of the next experience. I heard this one was good. That one has no buzz. I don't know a thing about that film, but it's in competition. All your research has been used up. Now you follow the timing of the press guide, as if all of cinema was a bus line; you'll take whatever comes along next.