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by Jenny Mather

This isn’t something I’d ever thought I’d be accused of but it’s surprising what you can do by mistake.

At last year’s Filmfest I went along to the accreditation desk in the middle of the afternoon and received my pass, my bag and my catalogue of movies. The opening movie later in the evening looked like an interesting one so I decided to watch it. First I popped over to Dammtor railway station to kill some time and have an early supper. My fish and chips were deplorable and tasted as if they had been made early in the morning and left to fester until I came along.

Then, feeling queasy and greasy, I returned to Dammtor Cinnemax to discover that a red carpet had been laid at the entrance. I slipped on my film pass, bypassed The Beautiful People standing around to be admired and went into the cinema. Lots of the seats had already been filled and some had Reserved papers on them so I carried on down towards the front, feeling decidedly shabby because everybody was wearing dressy dresses and smart suits. I spotted an empty seat, scuttled towards it with my head down and discovered to my surprise and delight that it was next to Nancy Tilitz and Karen Pecota, who were as gorgeously dressed as everybody else. Nancy had even put her hair up.

They explained that opening night was an invitation-only affair with a “bunfight” afterwards, and that was why everybody was dressed up. Nobody appeared to claim my seat so the worst-dressed person got to see the movie, The Fisherman and His Wife and to see the director and the four main actors come on stage afterwards to answer questions from the audience.

The film was based on a German folk tale and involved lots of shots of Japanese carp swimming around and people back on dry land wearing fish-coloured clothing. Indeed, the director herself looked like an exotic mermaid in a shimmering sea-green evening dress. I tried hard to like the movie, which was a visual delight but it had a poor storyline.

Afterwards it was time to take my guilty secret of being a gatecrasher home, while Nancy and Karen joined Hamburg’s Best for a lovely evening with invitation-only wine and cheese.