Date: Sunday 23 September
Films: 3 – The Extraordinary Voyage/A Trip to the Moon; Marnie; Holy Motors
Beverages: 1 cappuccino, 1 water, 1 tea, 1 peppermint tea, 1 Carlsberg; 1 Strongbow
Verdict: A great final day of the festival. First up was The Extraordinary Voyage, a documentary about the importance and restoration of a rare colour version of Georges Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon. One of the highlights of this year’s festival has been the strength of the silent movie presence, following on from the British Silent Film Festival earlier this year. The documentary gave a very accessible and entertaining overview of Méliès career and how the restoration took place over more than a decade. It was preceded by a showing of the end result, the fully restored film (including elements I hadn’t seen before in other surviving versions) along with a jarring new electronic soundtrack, which initially brought back horrible memories of the Giorgio Moroder version of Metropolis, but improved as it went along.
The last entry in the Hitchcock Revisited strand was Marnie, one of his later works which I hadn’t seen before. Plenty to like and admire – a couple of good suspense sequences in particular – but its attitude towards the psychologically damaged Marnie (Tippi Hedren) and her treatment at the hands of Sean Connery’s aggressive lover has dated it in some unfortunate and uncomfortable ways. It’s also a touch overlong, but as compensation it does feature a splendidly lush Bernard Herrmann score.
Finally, the closing night film was Holy Motors, a bewildering tour-de-force of whimsical nonsense, with a plot that is deliberately impenetrable but entertains and challenges in any number of ways. It’s a Rubik’s Cube of a film: a pointless puzzle so beautifully contrived that attempting to solve it seems futile, but doesn’t stop you trying anyway.
After that it was back to the bar at the Arts Picturehouse for celebratory drinks and the obligatory photos. I had a fantastic time as part of the Take One team at this year’s festival, and I can only hope I’ll be there to do it all again next year.