I've spent a week in the darkness of movie theaters thanks to the
fabulous AFI FEST (AFI is the American Film Institute) https://www.facebook.com/AFIFEST/?fref=ts who organized its annual film festival in Hollywood's movie theaters. Being armed with a press badge I had the luxury of seeing up to 3 movies a day, until I stumbled out of the dark in a daze, only to be nearly blinded by the relentless California sun. There is something deliciously forbidden about going to the movies during the day.
The creative movie community of filmmakers, journalists, social media "experts" is mostly young, and if I were a timid, insecure older woman I could have felt like an outsider who had smuggled herself into a (self-proclaimed) hipster environment that should not be infiltrated by gray-haired females but left entirely to the young. But a lovely surprise happened. I've met quite a few very young writers and filmmakers who actually stroke up a conversation with me, and I, again, felt not just acceptance, even a dash of admiration, but also saw that kindred spirits have no age. We talked about movies, and ultimately about ourselves and forgot about what separates us. Which in the end was just HAIR-COLOR&YEARS.
Since my blog is called "Gray in L.A." (And not "Blonde in Vermont") let me come up with some sort of connection here. Hollywood and older women could be an obvious match made in heaven, right? But, sadly, there is not a very big connection since there are still very few in front or behind the camera. Are they gray? Some are (you know who they are: Frances McDormand, Jamie Lee Curtis...eh...well, who else? - and I don't mean the British ones, that's another story!) Sorry, running out of names!
It is unforgivable and yet, hope springs eternal! For us, the fans, the lovers and admirers of movies, there is still magic when the lights go down (and the movies aren't too horrendously boring and violent) and the screen comes alive and you start chewing that expensive popcorn.
It is still true: The dark is the great equalizer. I realized why I love the movies so much. It unites us all, regardless of age (just like music), gender and hopefully religion. Gray, red, blonde, brown, black - who cares.
When you sit in those comfy seats and stare at the people and images, bigger than life, one sometimes might easily feel reduced to the child one once were - like me. I ran as fast as I could at the age of 9 or 10 - to the huge old movie palaces just to see all the old American Westerns and B-Movies in my native Germany that still looked pretty shabby and war-torn in 1956. I fell hard for Cowboys and Indians, CinemaScope and 20th Century Fox's newsreels. And in a way, is hasn't totally changed. Except the movies are bigger, louder, longer, more expensive and less breathtaking; and the stars faceless and generic.
But they are still there, the ones that matter! The movies "Youth" (with Oldies Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel and Jane Fonda) and Michael Moore's witty and entertaining new provocation "Where to Invade Next" were excellent. But here's my tip. I saw a true masterpiece.
The incomparable Cate Blanchett is "CAROL", a glamorous closet-lesbian in repressed 50s America whose heart beats hard under her mink coat for a mousy but strong-willed shop-girl with big eyes. Sounds dull? Nope. A true heartbreaker and a reminder that we still need great movies and great stars.