We have a small problem. I’m here in very sunny Pordenone, regular faces and new faces abound, familiar haunts are all inviting, silent films from around the world are unspooling before our lucky eyes. One thing is missing however. A catalogue. The immensely detailed, informative and authoritative catalogue that the silent film festival produces each year is not ready yet. Indeed we hear that it may not be completed, printed and handed to us until Wednesday, but which time this festival-goer will have gone home.
This rather spoils the plan of having daily reports for you, because I’m not always going to know what it is that I’ve seen. In particular some of the Soviet and Georgian films lined up are not going to make much sense without explanatory notes. I don’t want to write reports giving general impressions of films for which I can only give titles, date and director. A little bit of background knowledge is essential. So unless a miracle occurs, we’re going to have to abandon the on-the-spot diary plans. Which is a shame. But when you have a day like today, when you have not one but two films with scenes featuring someone trying to poison others by placing match-heads (with sulphur) into their drinks, then you want the world to know who did such deeds, and to say so with authority. At the moment all I can tell you is that, as a strategy, it doesn’t work too well. And a 1912 Italian film with translated title Worse than Death, with striking compositions, lateral camera movement and a denouement that startlingly lived up to the promise of its title. We must report all this, but report it well. Which will be on our return.
Update: I’ve learned the catalogue is now online. Managing all this through my phone is going to be a bit tricky, however, so I’ll keep to reports when I get back.