One of the reasons for this blog’s existence is to provide a place for me to work through the ideas that are cluttering up my head. I do not write for any particular audience, I write for my own sake because otherwise I would not be able to get anything done. One of the topics I frequently wrestle with is the ‘job’ of the critic. Its ethics, its philosophical posture and its practicalities. However, a good film critic is not only an analyst, he is also someone who has to have a feel for the film business. An understanding of the realities of film-making. Last week, I experienced something that addressed this much neglected practical side of ‘knowing about film’.
My brother runs a film distribution business in France and he was over in the UK in order to attend the London UK Film Focus event at the NFT on the Southbank. London UK Film Focus is essentially a series of screenings over a few days with some hospitality and drinks receptions thrown in. The idea being that while a buyer might not travel to London to see any of the particular films of offer, they might well travel to see a dozen or so films screened back to back. LUFF, as some call it (presumably those who don’t know about the always amusing Lausanne Underground Film Festival) has a rather Spartan website that gives few clues about what is being shown because the event is aimed not at journalists, cinephiles and critics but at buyers. A lot of the films at LUFF were receiving their first proper screenings anywhere, before they even appear on the festival circuit.
I was there in order to give my brother my ‘expert opinion’ on which films were worth checking out. However, I think it’s fair to say that I got more out of it from my presence there than he did.