The last time I attended a
screening, I was pointed to a publicist contact in order to schedule the director interview.
, according to the only site I found with any mention of them, employs one person, who according to reported sales makes just enough to cover the rental of an office/studio/living space in Park Slope. I was surprised. Questions like, “What demographic of press do they cater to? What other films do they represent?” arose as I compiled my slight pile of research findings. As the weeks after my group interview progressed, I began receiving emails from the same publicist inviting me to attend other screenings; apparently publicists function a lot like nightlife promoters – you’re having dinner with them one evening, you’re on a million and one mailing lists [they’ve sold your name to], the next. I took it with a grain of salt, and read the synopsis for the film in question.
“In A Better World”, was being screened more than a handful of times, I chose one – midday and midweek – to avoid the younger writers I had to sit with during that aforementioned round table talk with Quentin Dupieux, some of whom could not name exactly which publication they were writing for that day, when interrogated in the elevator.
“This will be chill,” I thought as I emailed an invitation for Mr. Haley to join me, “like a research date.” Little did I know I would need a bodyguard.
We get to the Sony building on Madison and 55th; we wind our way through a series of doors and hallways, elevators to floors where they check IDs and names, followed by more elevators to other floors where they take those tickets and tell you to sit, and wait. I look around from my vaguely appointed seat; 10 scattered, middle aged, weathered individuals, with a staidly pall cast over their demeanor sit stooped and silent in their seats.
I excused myself to the ladies room; upon my return, with some speed, a healthy gait, and flourish to my long military trench, I curved around a section of chairs where a lady of indiscernible age was wedged into her large leather seat. I came to a seat directly across from her, longwise across the coffee table, circumvented by 8 square, black leather chairs. I perched on the armrest, staring down at the printed synopsis and listing of cast and awards, alternately glancing at the cactus air plants in the square glass vases – wondering about my failure to keep my own alive and how much the interior designer was paid to come up with such a depressingly modern theme of grays.
“EXCUSE ME. I’m sorry. Can I just ask you a question.”
A woman’s loud voice pierced the air, interrupting my thoughts, offending my ears, and generally starting me from a very meditative state. Her appearance was no less shocking. Beneath her large flat brim, hunter green, forest hat, complete with shoelace chin strap, was a short, plump lady with several large bags next to her seat [and may has well had just as many mangy cats heaped on her knees]. She shoved her body weight forward in the seat with effort, straining her short arms to keep her leaning forward without tipping out. [Mr. Haley later remarked, “she looked like the white homeless women from the myrtle + ryerson intersection circa 2000, with a slightly more trim mustache.”]
“I JUST want to ask – is it painful to walk in those shoes?” Oh my, could this be a compliment escaping from those weathered lips?
“No, they’re actually quite comfortable despite their appearance. They’re platforms – so they’re not so bad.” I lift my foot up an inch to the side to show her what I mean.
Like a dog given the biggest biscuit it’s ever seen, she jumps up in her seat, growing another inch – she exclaims:
“HA! NOT SO BAD. So they DO hurt. YOU’RE A SLAVE TO FASHION!!”
The possible come backs fly through my head, too fast for my tongue to grip onto a single sentiment:
“I’d rather be a slave to fashion than a slave to mediocrity.”
“How does it feel to push everyone way?”
“Do you enjoy being lonely?”
I stare for half a second before shaking my head to loosen my grip on her proverbial neck. I immediately go back to my conversation as if not a beat had been skipped, just like drunk dancing a tango.
An announcement is made, I hear her gather her pile of bags [and imaginary cats] to enter the theater, we wait a while then follow; the lights dim and opening credits roll. Still shaken by our encounter with crazy pre-war feminist lady Mr. Haley and I take our our phones to silence them – there are no ushers here, no previews to warn us about the dangers of distractions.
Another voice pierces the silence, a different tone comes from close behind. “Can you PLEASE turn your phone off, I find it VERY DISTRACTING”. She sits back down before I could snap right back. More head shakes and private threats ensue.
Despite the film preaching passive agression, I was charged with anger by the end of the two hours, hoping for a second run in. Better luck next time – maybe one day I’ll decide to be a diva and make a scene; for now, I write.
I wanted to share the look with my readers [but as some of you know, I have problems keeping clothes on so here is a photo, sans Ms. Marquise]. I call it: “What a slave to fashion wears to a screening”.
Tory Burch sample dress [altered] SS10
Black cashmere knit tights
White Heels by Charlotte Ronson
Burberry wool trench coat FW07