19 March 2003

Florida Film Fest Diary - Entry #9

Saturday was the day it all caught up to us hard.

We did manage to go see the 1981 movie Thief with James Caan -- and with Mr. Caan actually in attendance at the screening. The movie was an above-average gangster movie, illuminating the lonely life of a professional thief very well. It is also one of Caan's few leading-man parts (another one being Rollerball, which was screened as a midnight movie).

Where Thief really shines is in it's handling of dialogue -- you can really see where Quentin Tarentino gets his patter from. This has to be one of his favourite movies.

From the moody Tangerine Dream score to the muted 80s colour schema (the movie is set entirely in sombre, overcast Chicago), Thief's elements all zoom in to focus on one thing -- James Caan's character. He's an anti-hero in the classic mold, he barely communicates at all, even in intimate moments, and he doesn't emerge from this picture a winner or a changed man, but nonetheless the film stays with you.

Kudos to Heather for correctly spotting the Green Mill Lounge, a legendary nightclub/venue in Chicago that's used as Caan's HQ in the film and where we have spent a memorable evening ourselves. Good place for the blues, the Green Mill.

As I mentioned, James Caan himself was on hand, and graciously answered a few questions after the show. Pity his interviewer was not really up to the task, prefering instead to polish his James Lipton impression. We left to eat and spend some time together.

Then I made my big mistake.

Noting that we did not plan to attend another film until 7pm, I decided to have a nap. Having not slept much the previous days, this was risky -- but I was prepared and had set my dollar-store alarm clock to wake me.

After a week of serious sleep deprivation, it was folly to think this would actually work.

Before I knew it, it was 5:30am Sunday morning. I had slept right through Only the Strong Survive and yes, even Rollerball! I am still kicking myself for this. Watching a fun 70s sci-fi flick like Rollerball on the big screen with a large crowd of other hip film mavens, and possibly a return appearance by Caan ... oh it must have been heaven! Curses! Drat! Etc!

Still, as they say about the rain in this time of the year, "it was much needed." To have slept for almost 14 hours indicates that maybe my body and mind were trying to tell me something. Heather claims she tried to get me up earlier in the evening but I was having none of it. Ah well.

Coming up tomorrow: the festival winds down just as I'm warming up.

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