Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Camera Shy "Darling" at the Lobero

The first full day of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival culminated with a tribute to Julie Christie.

The red carpet promenade outside of the Lobero Theater preceding the tribute was pretty much a one woman show, and the one woman, Christie, wasn't too interested in lingering for very long to have her photo snapped, leaving the contingent of local paparazzi somewhat disappointed.

Photo Courtesy Janelle Holcombe

However, once inside the tribute was a fascinating affair covering the career of an actress who won her first academy award over 40 years ago (Darling) and is now nominated again this year for her role in Away From Her.

Christie, who was interviewed by film critic Leonard Maltin, told Maltin and the audience, that filled about two-thirds of the seats in the Lobero, that her primary motivation for participating in the tribute was to draw attention to Away From Her, a film that might otherwise go unseen because of its subject matter which deals with a woman suffering from Alzheimers.

At one point in the interview Christie was trying to recall the name of a disaster picture that Richard Lester, whom she had worked with several times in her career, had directed. She couldn't come up with it and neither could Maltin who has authored a number of books on films. In an impressive display of his encyclopedic knowledge of movies film fest director Roger Durling, seated in the front row of the audience, shouted out the name of the film "Juggernaut." Apparently, Durling was the only one in the house who knew the name.

For what it's worth my favorite Julie Christie films:



Don't Look Now


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So has the rainy weather thrown a wet blanket on the attendance at the film fest? According to Durling, they had more sell outs yesterday than on any previous Friday at the film fest. When it's raining it's movie going weather!

For a true film fest disaster story you'd have to go back to the year when Jessica Lange was one of the honorees. According to film fest publicity chief Carol Marshall that year rain storms and mudslides on Highway 101 closed off access to Santa Barbara from both the north and the south. Lange couldn't get here to attend the ceremony. They ended up projecting a slide with her picture onto the screen on the stage and did the interview with her by telephone.

* * *

Although its not attributable to the weather there is a major cancellation in today's (Saturday's) film fest program. The writer's panel, originally scheduled for 11 am, has been cancelled. At least two participants have backed out due to flu like symptoms. There is some speculation that the cancellation of the panel may be due to the WGA writer's strike. Those who already bought tickets for the panel will be able to get their money refunded.

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