Day eleven – the people of MIFF

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I felt like I skived off a bit today. Although I thought I had successfully left my husband and kids behind to come to MIFF, Ron followed me down for a couple of nights and he got to experience my MIFF world. We took the morning off and trekked out on the Eastern Freeway to visit my sister’s chocolate company, Loving Earth. I had no idea the freeway went out so far. We sampled chocolate, got to see where the chocolate is made – it smells very nice – and joined in the weekly staff lunch.

Ron joined me for my two films of the day – Body, a quirky Polish drama seemingly about death, and Sherpa, an Australian documentary about the Sherpa people of Nepal and their involvement in the lucrative Everest-summiting industry. He enjoyed the films but has declined to write his own reviews, trusting in my much greater insight (at least that’s what I inferred). He was amazed at seeing two films in cinemas that were completely full. I think this might say something about his cinema-going habits.

MIFF is a good opportunity for people-watching. I’m getting to know my fellow MIFF-member tragics by sight and they all seem to be of retirement age. I think this says something about the luxury of regular attendance. On the other hand, the volunteers of MIFF seem to all be young and gorgeous and ever so friendly. I’m sure it’s not always an easy task dealing with queues of people, all keen to get a good seat.

While waiting in the member queue for The Maid the other day, a man in front of me started to get agitated at the delay in going in. The previous film had a Q&A session afterward which was obviously going overtime (it was Graceful Girls, that enthusiastic callisthenics crowd). Angry Man started mumbling and threw his program onto the ground with considerable force. Then his bag, and his bike helmet and his lunch. A volunteer denied that there was a Q&A happening, something that angered him all the more, and he muttered angrily about stupid Australians and Q&As all the way into the cinema once the graceful girls had slowly exited. As the director of The Maid took to the microphone before the film and announced there would be a Q&A afterwards, I wondered whether Angry Man would stay for it.

In contrast, while sitting outside the Kino cinema in the forecourt, a mother and her three adult daughters were celebrating her 70th birthday. They had brought a cake and sang loudly. My friend and I joined in for the three cheers and this earned us much appreciation and a slice of the very delicious chocolate and walnut cake. It was a moment of connection that buoyed me up for the rest of the day. I can’t help but wonder what a difference I could have made to Angry Man if I had tried to do the same, just asked him if he was okay and told him it would be fine.

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