Sunday 31 May 2015

A Sydney Film Festival blog (1) - First things first - Where and how should the festival show its movies to best advantage

Geoff Gardner:  It’s not easy for festivals to get the image up on the screen right all the time and I’m not wildly interested in constant whinges even though I do have one constant whinge myself this year which is that the shift of weekday day time screenings from the state of the art Event Cinemas back to the 1929 State Theatre is a most retrograde step. Why it was done is beyond me but there you are. Apparently some see luxuriousness where others see a postage stamp-sized screen and mediocre sound.

Max Berghouse: Indeed, the Event cinema is newer and generally has better projection, with a more immediate screen size.  BUT it is a simply frightful area, filled with the detritus of humankind, earnestly trying to get pretty much the worst takeaway franchised food, in the area immediately preceding the cinema entrance. Because seating in the Event is unreserved, to be reasonably assured of a good seating position one has to be prepared to stand in line for an hour or more prior to the viewing – something I was prepared to do, and even then, on entering the cinema (usually cinema 4 or 9) one is submerged into patrons from the previous screening, who refuse to leave the theatre and stand in line for the next screening. On top of that they leave their "hats, gloves,thermoses, sandwiches etc", to indicate that that seat and the next umpteen dozen are reserved for persons yet to arrive.

At least in the State, in the main there is reserved seating although I note that when I secured my seats for the State on the Sunday immediately after purchasing became available, on the prior Friday, practically all the seating in the mezzanine section had already gone, presumably to the great and good (and possibly for free), into which class, unfortunately I do not fall.

Geoff Gardner: I have to admit the smell of Subway which infects the Event Cinema entrance area is one of the more malodourous food smells in this part of civilised society. The State doesn't have reserved seating in the stalls for daytime weekday sessions. I find it hard to believe that the cost of daytime screenings at the State is worth it in additional sales but what do I know. Dont answer that.

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