Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Sundance Effect?

I think English filmgoers are pretty stoic. My friend L recently told me she went to see the film The Secret in their Eyes at a London cinema and the audience clapped at the end, something she’d never seen before. When we got back here and I started going to movies again in the States, both A and I commented on how easily the audience responded. Anything that might give someone a hint of a smile brought about belly laughs. When I went to see Let Me In a few months ago I was annoyed by all the things the audience laughed out loud about. It wasn’t that funny.

Fast forward to seeing Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey last week where the film was introduced by the director who watched the film with us and then fielded questions afterwards and again the audience was so animated. Now the film was absolutely sweet and deserved the laughs and noises of approval but it made me wonder if what I was experiencing the rest of the year at other movies was the Sundance effect. Are folks here so used to going to films with filmmakers where they feel the need to be so encouraging that they are overly effusive?

As I was chatting to a few other volunteers Sunday night as we all waited to get into the film Like Crazy I threw my theory out. One of the other volunteers said she thought that people were overly effusive because people in Utah still consider going to the movies family entertainment and they are just not as jaded as other audiences. Well, that might be true if I was going to see Avatar at the local Cineplex but must of the time I’m going to the Salt Lake Film Society theatres which don’t really cater to the family entertainment kind of audience. So I still think there might be something to my theory…

Oh, and P.S. if you don't mind subtitles I recommend The Secret in Their Eyes.  It reminded me a lot of a 70's era Al Pacino film like And Justice for All.

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