The lights faded, the screen lit up and we all settled down for a relaxing evening at the flicks (or, as we used to call it, the cinema). Not on your bleeding nelly!. The Keswick Film Festival was very many things, but relaxing it certainly wasn’t. I spent some, in fact quite a bit of it, watching Tony Palmer’s epic film about Wagner lasting a total of seven and a half hours. It was, as they say, a very long one. The film was, probably for the sake of personal hygiene, split into three seperate segments, a decision that made the experience a tad more manageable. The 1983 film stars Richard Burton as the mane man in his last (and perhaps most important) major screen role. He was simply magnificent.
Now, prior to this, I had been talking to a friend about how come we become obsessed with certain, often dangerous pursuits. For artists and musicians this can become all consuming. Indeed Wagner springs to mind, along with Van Gogh, our very own Dave Pearson and many many more. On a more mundane level, perhaps we can all follow the pipe tune of the obsessed, riding our bikes, throwing ourselves down mountainsides, writing our books etc. Maybe part of this is to do with, not just our desire to have fun or become famous, but the drive to fulfill our fundamental human potential. Perhaps, inside us all there is a driver propelling us upwards, towards greater things, I have christened this the Hero Impulse.
Meanwhile, at Keswick Film Festival, lucky cinema goers were enjoying such treats as Pardon, Tyrannosaur, Bird on a Wire, Melancholia and many, many more great films . John Hurt came and was his gracious, generous, self. Indeed, you might say, a true hero.