Sunday, July 17, 2011

MIFF, take 2

MIFF is honoring Malcolm McDowell with the Mid-Life Achievement Award. As such, he chose 4films that he wished to screen at the festival and was going to be here for a few days. As a result - whether fair or not - my friends and I have been joking, leading up to the festival, that we should stay away from "the guy from A Clockwork Orange." That dude is messed up.

My friend Lisa is one of the guest services coordinators for the festival. Friday morning Lisa, her husband David, another friend Erin, and I went down to Augusta to catch Harry Potter 7.2. After the movie, a fellow MIFF organizer called Lisa to request that she join her and Malcolm for lunch. In planning her next move, Lisa may have taken our joking to heart a bit too much and turned down the invite (to have lunch with us at Panera... we were 20+ minutes away anyway). However, it turns out that she got "roped" into joining them at the restaurant anyway.

And she loved it.

That lunch turned into an invitation for her and David to join him and some others at his "camp" (odd Maine term for cabin) (not that he owns it, just where he is staying) the following afternoon. Apparently, also awesome.

All of this is a rather long-winded back-story to my decision to see one of McDowell's films today: Assassin of the Tsar. Though we (Lisa, David, and I) got one of the last few seats in the 2nd row (ow, my neck), it was worth it because there was a Q&A with McDowell afterward. He's pretty funny. He was also able to give us some insight as to living and working in the Soviet Union for 3months. Some interesting stuff.

A note about the film: It was all in English but something was "off." The dialogue matched the actors' mouths but it just didn't feel right. Apparently, 2versions of the film were made: 1 in Russian, 1 in English. (McDowell spoke English in both.) Every scene was shot twice, once in Russian, and then once in a sort of broken English (the Russian actors didn't actually speak English, so they were just making the sounds), which was later dubbed over by actual Russian English-speakers. I'm glad he clarified. Otherwise I would have walked away thinking that Russian movie making technology in 1991 was decades behind the rest of the world. To be fair... it probably was.

Also: There is a woman in the film who is approximately 12.3feet tall.


  1. You saw Malcolm McDowell! Way cool! My favorite movie of his is 'Caligula! Saw it years ago when it first came out--a combination of historical fiction and soft porn. It was mesmerizing and McDowell was fantastic--at least that's how I remember it.

  2. I had "Caligula" on today while packing... so so bad :þ

  3. So does 'bad' mean 'good' or does 'bad' mean 'bad'--not sure about the semantics here. When I write about 'Caligula' being mesmerizing, I know it was not a good movie, but it was fascinating in its badness--the same reaction you have to 'Starship Troopers' or 'Snakes on a Plane'--so awful you've got to love it! And I still think McDowell was terrific in it!

  4. And I still want to know what word is one letter away from the acronym MIFF!!

  5. You may have loved it because of its badness, but I did not. It was just bad!