Monday, 7 December 2009

A Weekend of Wild Things...

It's been a long time since I've slumped to my desk on a Monday morning and felt like a lot has happened since I last dragged myself up from my generic swivelling chair on the Friday afternoon. Today, this is the case, and while my eyelids could do with a car jack to keep them open, it was worth it! So, my original plan for the weekend was to drive on over to Cardiff to visit a friend and go to see White Lies at the Cardiff Student Union, stay the weekend, and have a relatively nice, chilled out time. The first part of the trip went to plan, and White Lies were really rather good - but they belong to another blog post.

What was responsible for the disruption of my weekend? Well, me, really. But I'm going to blame the superpower that is Twitter. Basically, one of the people I follow are Little White Lies magazine (which, if anyone has any interest in films, they should most definitely give it a read) and I happened to see a tweet of theirs along the lines of 'keep sending us your best childhood cinema memory, they're great so far!' I thought this was just for general chit-chat, and was instantly reminded of when I went to see 'The Lion King' with my Dad, and finding it fairly hilarious that he cried when Mufasa died. So, I shared. The next day, to my great confusion, I saw I had been tweeted back with the news that 'Congratulations!' I had won! 'Won what?!' It turns out I had won two tickets to see a preview screening of the hotly anticipated 'Where The Wild Things Are' at the BFI Southbank cinema, with an exclusive Q&A session with the film's director, Spike Jonze. Wow! I was shocked, excited, confused and anxious all at the same time. While it was incredible to win something, and be given an opportunity that I would never usually get to do, how on earth could I go when I was supposed to be in Cardiff all weekend?!

................With a frigging long train ride!!

Yes, in order to not miss the Sunday plans in Cardiff, and to save a bit of time, I got the train from Cardiff to London and back again. To go to the cinema. And even then, we were so short on time that - in true classy style - we ate our dinner of M&S pasta on the tube under the watchful eyes of changing passengers, which was pleasant. Totally worth it though, even just for the fact that I could walk into the BFI, bypass the queue of people waiting for tickets, and tell people sitting at the desk that my name was on the guestlist. For about 3 minutes I felt important!

Entering the sloping cinema I immediately noticed something that would have made me beyond excited if I hadn't already bought it for myself, on every seat was a shiny copy of the current Little White Lies magazine, dedicated to 'Where The Wild Things Are'. I kept a second copy of it anyway, even just to remind me that in those three minutes of being important that I got something free, like important people do. So, settled in my slightly reclining seat (which was a little disconcerting as all the way through the movie I was convinced it was broken and that my head would end up the lap of some poor unsuspecting person behind me!) we were greeted by a BFI representative who informed us that the movie would play first, and Spike Jonze would come on stage shortly afterwards. Then the lights went down.

There is so much to say about the film that I will have to just post about that separately to stop this becoming a full on essay. I can say, though, that it was certainly unlike anything I have seen before, which is probably why it has caused such a stir. The audience clapped loudly when it had finished, and though I couldn't tell who were the journalists and critics and who weren't, it seems the film had been well received by the majority of people there. Events like this must be a little nerve-wracking for Jonze, as the film has been so long in the making, and he does not have many successful films under his belt, so his reputation and prospects for film making in the future really do hang in the balance of how well this movie is received.

For the question and answer session - something I have never witnessed before - Spike Jonze, a petite, mild mannered man, who speaks with hesitation verging on a stutter, entered the room and awkwardly took his seat, sitting on his hands for the majority of the time. With cameras, an audience, and an expectant microphone all looking intently at him, I didn't envy the guy. But, he slowly eased into it, and managed to maintain a level for enthusiasm for the film that had taken up years of his life, and the same questions he will undoubtedly have already answered continuously for the past few months. That is, all of the questions except one, 'What was your favourite sandwich to eat on set and how do you think that contributed to the film?' I'm not sure if this was pitched from some new, edgy food magazine, or just a random 'hilarious' question. Jonze handled it well, however, and for those that want to know, he preferred a ham and cheese sub with olive oil, and it contributed by making the film 'hammy'. How I did chuckle.

Despite all of the questions that were asked, I still cannot quite grasp how this slight, quiet man managed to make such a face-slapping film, full of the drama of childhood, with such particular and complex special effects to boot. Judging by what he says, when you have a circle of friends like Spike Jonze, you can do whatever you want - his friends are involved in nearly every aspect of this movie. I shall just have to wait for mine to get to the top of their fields so they can do stuff for me too!

As a further souvenir for my day, I managed to add a little scribble to my Little White Lies magazine. It reads 'To Danielle. Hello. Spike Jonze.'

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