I hadn't heard of the festival, but there's some really good stuff going on this weekend, all of which I'm going to miss because we still have some work to do on the Bedroom In The Sky, but at various venues across London there are screenings of films like Death Proof, They Drive By Night and On Dangerous Ground, Q&As with the likes of Tarantino, Poirot star David Suchet, Life On Mars legend Philip Glennister and Bugsy Malone director Alan Parker, and writers like Ruth Rendell, Val McDermid, Martina Cole and Lynda La Plante. This is, best beloved, not a festival put on by a bunch of amateurs.
Anyway, yesterday evening we had a screening of an outstanding little film written and directed by Scott Frank (who screenwrote Get Shorty) called The Lookout. It came out in the States in March, so maybe the villagers on the other side of the village pond have already heard of it, but I'm told it isn't coming out over here until late next month. And it's terrific. Simple, straightforward, low-key, beautifully shot and with what I thought was an outstanding score. The cast are really excellent, at the top of their game. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has come on considerably since his days on Third Rock From The Sun, Jeff Daniels, who I almost didn't recognise but who very nearly stole the film, and Matthew Goode, a British actor who was going to come to the screening but couldn't on account of he had to be in Canada to work on, er, Watchmen, in which he plays Ozymandias. I don't think anyone was annoyed that he didn't turn up; he had a reasonably good excuse.
I loved the film and can't recommend it highly enough. It's out on DVD in the States now, if you want to rent it.
And then afterwards, after a night-time coach tour of London because there was an accident on Piccadilly, we went to a launch party in Covent Garden, where Bogna and I were introduced to Mike Hodges, director of the original Get Carter (the best British gangster film ever), seventy-five years old, deaf in one ear and one of the sweetest people I ever met, and we spent a while talking about writing and film-making and Philip K Dick. Cor.
And when I got out of bed yesterday morning all I had planned for my evening was cooking a couple of chicken Kievs for our dinner and nodding off in front of the telly. Of course, we got home very late and I made the mistake of dealing with my email and blogging a bit before I went to bed, so I felt terrible all day today, but that was a good evening. Nice to see life can still hurl a surprise or two my way.