1.People are willing to get out of bed at seven in the morning to watch a movie about people starving themselves to death. I don't care how much people paid to be here: it is simply amazing that the 8:30 am showing of Hunger (which Kim reviewed at Cannes) -- one of the most intensely unpleasant films I've ever seen, with a program description that did that aspect of it justice -- was a near-sellout at Telluride's largest venue. By the time I got to the theater at 8 am on a rainy Sunday morning, I was 259th in line. Everyone keeps saying that what "makes Telluride special" is the enthusiasm and undying cinephilia of the audience (most of whom come back year after year), and nothing epitomizes that attitude better than this morning's Hunger queue.

2. Anyone who fights to save the whales is automatically a hero, no matter his means. Just as it was remarkable to see people line up at the crack of dawn to watch an indescribably painful art film, it was disappointing to see a Telluride audience give an uncritical standing ovation to "eco-pirate" Paul Watson following a screening of Pirate of the Sea, the mediocre, one-sided documentary profiling him. Watson, a Greenpeace dissident who goes out on a boat and tries to sink or sabotage whaling or seal-hunting operations, may well be a hero, but there's no way you could fairly come to that conclusion after watching the hagiographic documentary, which takes Watson's word as gospel, and refuses to explore the troubling implications of his often violent efforts. Another documentary about Watson, called At the Edge of the World, will play Toronto; here's to hoping it's a bit more considered and thoughtful.

categories Cinematical