Film festivals have become an integral part of film-going life. They are no longer the preserve of industry professionals, now attended by a variety of cinephiles and even casual viewers, who may have read a title or a preview that struck their fancy. Not a few worthy films will never make it into general distribution. We take that for granted, and a festival award may be the best many filmmakers can hope for. A screening at a festival before a roomful of living humans in itself seems more tangible than a showing on cable or one of the streaming networks.
Secrets and lies. Simon Gray had a late-career flop in 1999 with The Late Middle Classes, a comic drama which closed out of town before reaching the West End. It’s not hard to see why. Delicate musings about pedophilia don’t mix well with japery at the post-war middle class and its lawn-tennis-with-drinks-at-five airs. Every character is ready to explode with repressed impulses that are either nasty, immoral, or illegal. The resulting brew sits uneasily between art and entertainment. What audience, exactly, was it intended to find?