Thursday, June 11, 2009

SFF Day 9: The September Issue

After stepping out of the previous film we came back over about 10 to 9 for a 9:15pm film only to find a queue stretching up Market Street and along George Street to the lights opposite the QVB. This should be quick we thought - alas it was not to be so.

The previous film and Q&A ran over...they didn't start the queue moving until around 9:35pm so we stood outside in the cold for around 40 minutes.

When we finally came in the theatre slowly filled. Claire Stewart came out to introduce the film and in true SFF fashion after an unpleasant experience (Queuing for a film) the audience hissed and she responded with a "well I waited at Sundance freezing my arse of in the cold" (before apologising - she did apologise) an interesting response from the director of a festival in trouble! As a long-term subscriber time delays are just part of the festival - this was one of the biggest I have experienced whilst waiting outside however and a lot of the punters for this one were single ticket holders - will they come back next year? If the festival is dependent on the single ticket buyers to ensure it's livelihood - timeliness to schedules, queue and seating management/ticketing are big hot spots.

Anyway the film about the process of putting together the September 2007 issue of Vogue is fascinating watching. The audience were waiting for glimpses of Wintour ala the character based on her in "The Devil Wears Prada", they were disapointed. The film does give insight into the power this woman weilds in the fashion field. Meeting with designers before their shows and saying no or yes (More often no) controlling the input into the next seasons shows almost as much as she controls every detail of the issue itself. Many of the staff are not willing to express a counter opinion (with one refusing to express an opinion at all in case it disagreed with her).

Interstingly the relationship with creative director and former model Grace Coddington (which is passively adversarial) is the true gem of this film. Two women with such different views and wasy of expressing themselves have had a begrudging evolving professional relationship for many years. Interstingly the mutual respect given almost grudgingly is glimpsed at the end of the film. Coddington is willing to openly challenge Wintour (and in her own way) use whatever means necessary to stay true to the artistic vision she presents (including the documentary crew).

The influence she weilds with designers (both established and new) and the insight she has is fascinating. All this is done with a level of detachment at all times - as shown by the amount she gives away (almost nothing) with the film crew and the staff.

Wintour comes across as the strategic visionary one step ahead of fashion or writing it herself (it is hard to tell. Coddington comes across as the artistic visionary with an eye for fascinating stunning shots. An amazing counterpoint.

An amazing film for its insight into a world most of us will never see. The rushing pieces set to music (of outfits and accessories moving around) were probably unnecessary but fun. I enjoyed this film.

I haven't had the chance to mention my own personal ticketing issues I had the pleasure of finding someone in my seat - the festival had sold mine, and my neighbours seats on Tuesday night (Which is interesting as we have subscriptions with the same seat to all the evening sessions!) . Luckily it has only been the once during the festival.

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