FishbowlLA was all over AFI Fest this weekend. And we’re happy to report it was one of the best cinematic experiences we’ve ever had. Although it didn’t start off that way. Unlike the LA Film Festival, which had armies of volunteers guiding your every movement, AFI Fest can get a bit confusing. Friday was a zoo, with some sidewalks shut off for the red carpet and virtually no staff presence to help guide confused festival-goers to their destinations. But by Saturday we had it figured out–and we’re certainly glad we gave it a chance. If any of you had a similar experience, don’t be discouraged. It all makes sense after your third or fourth film.
The big news of the weekend was undoubtedly the surprise premiere of Steven Soderbergh‘s new film Haywire. We were unable to attend, as it was a friggin’ mad house. But we admired the clever way the film was rolled out. AFI Fest had been promising a “special screening” for weeks. But it wasn’t until Saturday night that the announcement came it would be Haywire.
Yesterday also saw the festival premiere of Werner Herzog‘s new film Into the Abyss–about the execution of Texas convicted murderer Michael Perry and the lives of those involved in his crime–which we were able to see. Herzog was in attendance at the Egyptian Theater and was sure to explain prior to the screening that his personal position was firmly anti-death penalty. His film, however, is far more complicated than an advocacy piece. Herzog speaks with a woman whose mother and brother were killed by Perry–over a car. When she tells Herzog that Perry’s death brought her the first true peace she’d had since the murders, it’s a difficult thing to argue with.