Yesterday was the opening day of the Wisconsin Film Fest. I didn’t take the day off from work, but My Darling B did. Didn’t get her out of the office, though; she still had to go in for a ten o’clock meeting. That’s just how awesomely important she is: The DMV can’t go on without her at the ten o’clock meeting.
She went home after she was done with that nonsense, did some very important things (napped), then returned to the office to pick me up after I bolted at quitting time.
Opening night ceremonies consisted of a catered party before the show, which was all right but we probably paid too much for it. The noshies were not bad, the beer was pretty good, but the venue was too small for the fiftyish people who sardined themselves into it. And it was too loud: when an acapella group of college students came in to sing us a few songs, the attendees wouldn’t shut up. I moved as close as possible without getting into their faces and yet I was able to hear only one song, and even then I think I was filling in because I knew the words.
Then, on to the show! This is the 20th year of the Wisconsin Film Fest, so the director of the first film fest (can’t remember his name & can’t find it on the internet) came out to give us a little talk about the festival’s history, followed by Ben Reiser, the festival’s PR man, who usually comes out to thank all the people who made the festival possible and somehow makes it sound like a standup routine. A panel of jurists interrupted Ben to hand out the Golden Badger awards to three talented film makers, after which the acapella group from the party filed on stage to sing their arrangement of Ice & Snow, the song featured in the opening sequence shown before every movie at the 2014 film fest and which has become the theme song of every opening sequence ever since.
Finally, the movie! Or movies, because there was a short (“Elemental”) before the feature film, “Mountain.” The short was a guy dancing, filmed in various outdoor settings. I liked it, but it really wasn’t much more than that. “Mountain” was sort of a video collage of mountains and the crazy things people do on and around them. And they were pretty much all crazy things: aside from the obvious (skiing, snowboarding), they climbed up them with bikes over their shoulders, then rode the bikes down at breakneck speed; they jumped from helicopters onto peaks overloaded with snow and rode snowboards ahead of the avalanche they started; they skimmed the rocky flanks of mountains in their wingsuits; they climbed hundreds of feet up the sheer, granite walls with no ropes for safety; and always, always they hurt themselves doing it. But, presumably, they kept on doing it, because people are stupid. Willem Dafoe read a voiceover script that took a stab at explaining the how and why of all this, and he sounded great, but I’m no closer to understanding why anyone would want to snowboard through an avalanche.
Fun bit o’ trivia: Willem Dafoe was born in Appleton, Wisconsin – same as your friendly neighborhood Oman.