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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

entry arrow11:42 AM | Standing Ovation

Sometimes, reading the PR on some local films that make it to international film festivals, we get breathless accounts of how this film or that got a 5-minute applause, or better still, a standing ovation. Lest they spin this and tell you later on that despite all the negative criticism, Serbis got an S.O. in Cannes, here's Roger Ebert giving us the inside deal:

[A]ny Cannes veteran would tell you [that a standing ovation means] nothing. Every film gets a standing ovation at the black-tie evening premiere at Cannes, unless it is so bad it transcends awfulness.

There are really two premieres at Cannes: The press screening at 8:30 a.m., and the black-tie, or "official," screening in the evening. Both fill the vast, 3,500-seat Lumiere auditorium. The morning offers a tough audience: Critics, festival programmers, people who have may have seen hundreds of other movies in this room. They are free with their boos, and if a movie doesn't work for them have been known to shout at the screen on their way out.

The black-tie screening, on the other hand, includes many people who have a financial motive for wanting a film to succeed: The worldwide distributors and exhibitors, their guests, and lots of Riviera locals. Or they may have been given tickets and are thrilled to be there. ("I recognized the woman sitting next to me from my hotel," Rex Red told me one year. "It was my maid.") In some cases, they may simply think it's good manners to cheer movie stars who flew all the way to Cannes. Then too, the stars are seated in the front row of the balcony. Everybody below stands up after the movie, turns around, and sees them bathed in spotlights. The Standing O creates itself.

Yes, dear. It is unfortunate, but Brillante Mendoza's Serbis, our first film since Lino Brocka's Kapit sa Patalim to compete in the festival, got slaughtered. I hope that when Dante comes home, he will have learned from the experience, and make a great movie.

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