Whilst God distracts the faithful I see eleven films over four days, only two of which are new. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Garden of The Finzi-Continis; the latter had been sitting on my shelf since just before Christmas and as I’d seen The Conformist on Netflix only a few weeks ago, it would complete a Dominique Sanda double-bill. The Conformist is visually striking but in that category of ‘appreciate’ as opposed to ‘love’, whereas Finzi-Continis, having a gorgeous colour palette, is not only beautiful to look at but a film I’ll watch again; this despite a soundtrack that on occasion appears off, apparently the result of being post-synchronised rather than recorded live. Something I couldn’t help noticing with both Italian films is that voyeuristic regard to female nudity you find in late 60’s and early ‘70s European cinema. There are some who will call this a brave (for the time) expression of female sexuality; you believe that if you want, it looks like a wet t-shirt to me.
Giorgio Bassani's story is of a wealthy Jewish family separated from the rise of Italian fascism by the walls of their estate; odd that I too came to believe the high-walled garden would shield them from the world outside. There were many festival highlights, but the other that springs to mind is an old favourite, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. My reaction each time is the same. It starts quirky, turns rather clever and - just at the moment you feel a danger of it disappearing up its own fundament - becomes something quite wonderful. Joel shows Clementine an embarrassing moment of his past, to which the younger Clementine leads the younger Joel away through a gap in the fence. “I’m so ashamed” he says. “It’s OK”, she replies “you were a little kid.”