Thursday 21 March 2013

Festival showers and a bicycle competition

Somewhere towards the middle of Borderlines 2013 I couldn't help noticing that all three films I'd seen in a row featured a significant shower. As I'm sure, I've remarked before, for me, the way coincidence (sometimes deliberate programming, but more often sheer coincidence ) throws movies together in the most unexpected, often trivial ways is one of the deepest pleasures of film festivals.

First of all there was the potential Italian father-in-law in Woody Allen's To Rome With Love. Given the glorious free rein of his shower room, Giancarlo, played by real life tenor Fabio Armiliato, has a operatic voice to die for.
Outside that comfort zone, nerves get the better of him so the character played by Allen, an outré opera impresario, carries through the delightfully silly 'avant-garde' notion of casting him in Pagliacci, boxed in the armour of a built-in shower cubicle.

Quite a contrast in tone the next day, as I watched the grim Post Mortem and noted that the key event, a brutal government raid on the home of his girlfriend Nancy, takes place as mortuary assistant Mario showers. It's an attack that leaves the house wrecked and charred but Mario seems as clueless and cut-off from the political mayhem surrounding him in Pinochet's Chile as he is oblivious in his shower cubicle to the noisy and violent upheaval taking place just across the street.

Day three and the shower scene to end all shower scenes, Psycho of course. Hitchcock catches us and his main character unawares, unwinding after a day of flight, deep anxiety and moral tension under the soothing rays of a penetrating warm shower.

After that, I couldn't help seeing showers everywhere from the spectacular blood waterfalls that accompanied every initiation of a new vampire in Neil Jordan's Byzantium to Philip Seymour Hoffman as second violinist Robert in A Late Quartet attempting to hose off a raunchy infidelity and weeping in the shower at the enormity of the marital and professional betrayal he has just committed.

It got to the stage that I could count on the fingers of one hand the films that didn't feature a significant shower scene. Or any shower scene at all.

In the spirit of a different coincidence - bicycles - you might like to have a go at our Bicycle Thieves competition. Identify the titles of the four films we showed at Borderlines 2013 that prominently featured bicycles.

Email your answers by midnight, tomorrow Friday 22 March for a chance to win a copy of the Bicycle Thieves DVD, courtesy of our long-term sponsor, MovieMail.

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