Friday, May 19, 2006

documentaries and popcorn

I went to see a documentary today with a friend. Because we both had appointments we had to go to directly after the film which would run through lunch, my friend suggested we stop by the convenience store and buy a couple of riceballs to eat during the film. I suggested that perhaps it wasn't the kind of story you'd want to watch while eating lunch, and she responded that having a riceball wasn't any different than eating popcorn. I think my point was that I can't remember the last documentary I watched and thought, "I could really use something to eat". Whether it's a documentary about war, a police cover-up or a nature program on the mating habits of African elephants, there's been plenty of times I could use a stiff drink; but popcorn?

When our film, "the ballad" showed in competition recently at the Visions du Reel Festival in Switzerland, I excitedly called my editor, Lizzie, to tell her we were showing in a theatre that sold popcorn. Then we had a good laugh at my naivete; is our film, about addiction and homelessness, the kind thing you watch while eating popcorn? When Lizzie and her assistant, Anthea, flew out for the screening, I made sure we had everything we needed; I skipped the popcorn and made sure that everyone on our team had a drink in their hand during our film. And it just felt right.

The film I saw today was a documentary about a prostitute who served high ranking American officers stationed in Japan after World War II, called "Yokohama Mary". It was amazing, heart-breaking and beautiful. The riceballs stayed in my bag. But damn, I could have used a drink.

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