FFF The Last Day


Sonia, From Columbia, During the Q & A

Sadly, today begins our last day at the FFF. Number One Daughter and Mrs. LanceAround join me for one last film.

We drive up to the Regal Theatre and interview some movie goers queued up to see “The Wind Journeys”–an international narrative feature from Columbia.

I spot a young lady in line and ask her what brought her here, she replies simply, “School.” “School?”, I inquire. “Winter Springs High School,” she continues, “We have to write a report about the movies.” She said they can choose whatever movie they want, then report what it’s about, if they liked it and the experience in the movie theatre. She identifies herself as Michelle Figueroa.

I spot another theatre goer in line and ask if she would like to be interviewed for the blog. She says, “no.” She obviously does not want to be interviewed. I ask again, and she emphatically says, “No thank you.” I type this and read it aloud to her while she sips her coffee. Then she laughs. When I ask to whom I should attribute this emphatic quote of “no,” she points to the man beside her. “who is very fortunate to be my date today,” she says, forgetting that she did not want to consent to be interviewed. I Never did get her name.

Brad Johnson says, “This is my first year at the FFF,”. He’s seen six movies. His favorite was the “International animated shorts.” “I liked the diversity and style,” he points out.

We enter the theatre and prepare to watch “The Wind Journeys”. The movie is from Columbia. It’s a modernistic (1968) retelling of an 1800’s legendary fable which chronicles the story of an accordion player and his journey to return his instrument to his master as a would-be protégé tags along. The movie is beautifully filmed and well acted. The scenic landscapes through which they cross, along with the sounds of the wind provide a canvas upon which their journey is painted.

Unlike most films in this country, this movie moves at a pace that is consistent with the Columbian landscape. Each scene is crafted in slow, melodic tones that mirror the rhythmic sounds of the accordion. As the accordion player doggedly makes his way to his destination, he encounters villages and tribal communities that offer various obstacles and opportunities.

It seems clear that there are many cultural references and heritage sites indigenous to the Columbian audience that are beyond my understanding. This is confirmed by the line producer during the Q & A after the movie.  Sonia Barrera is here with her translator.

Number One Daughter asks, “why an accordion”. Sonia says this movie is the legend of a real life ‘jugler’ who is a person that travels from town to town to play the accordion. It is the most important instrument of that region of Columbia. The movie was shot in over 100 locations in Columbia over two months. In this region, to be a musician is very, very important.

She goes on to explain that Columbian movies are very different from American movies. They do not rely, so much, on special effects and exotic sets. Instead, they focus on the story and the characters; often moving at a slower pace.

I’m glad I saw this movie, even though I am so exhausted from my week of blogging that the slow pace occasionally lulled me into near sleep. (Mrs. LanceAround seems to think my snoring indicated that it was ‘actual’ sleep.) I was especially glad that Sonia was present to help me better understand the cultural references.

The theatre empties and I sadly realize this was the last film that I’m going to see at this year’s festival. Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Daughter and I prepare to drive to the Enzian for one last meal and the opportunity for a last interview or two and a retrospective of this year’s FFF.

We run into Henry Maldonado, president of the FFF, in the lobby of the Regal as we head towards the exit. We take a few moments to exchange our favorite movie moments from this year’s festival. He asks me to give him an email, once things settle down, so we can “do lunch.”

Wow, “do lunch” LanceAround is finally going Hollywood.

I put on my sunglasses, hop into my electric car and drive off, into the sunset.

(Disclaimer–I don’t own any sunglasses, I can’t afford an electric car and the sun had already set. That was just a fun fantasy–But Henry really did ask me to email him so we can do lunch.)

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