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First time at the Guildhall

20 Aug 2021

Live jazz, a new documentary, an updated documentary and another film I had missed first time
around – just another couple of successful days at the 29th Chichester International Film Festival.
It all goes to show what fun festival time is, although having run into artistic director Roger Gibson
at two films in one day it was sobering to find out that he had shoehorned another in between my
two.

The catch up film for me was Insomnia, part of director Christopher Nolan’s intriguing catalogue,
and homework for me before attending the Nolan talk on 28 August. ‘Insomnia’, based on a
Scandinavian film, was a solid, enjoyable thriller set in Alaska. Al Pacino, of course, was very
watchable, while the plot and filming kept me intrigued. My only quibble was with the dialogue
sound quality, which is a problem I noticed with Nolan’s Dunkirk. The sound design for the music
and effects was clearly crafted with great care, but I had trouble following what they were saying
at times. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment but left me wondering. ‘Dunkirk’ won an Oscar for its sound
so what do I know?

Misha & the Wolves was, as I predicted in the August edition of the Chichester CineFile podcast, a
fascinating documentary. The memories of a holocaust survivor are turned into a book with
completely unpredictable results. Thoughtfully constructed, the documentary leads you through
the tale without spoon-feeding the details. It was well worth a watch.

On Thursday evening, I decamped from the auditorium to the Guildhall in Priory Park, which was
the first time the venue has been used in the Festival. The occasion was an updated version of a
film about jazz drummer Spike Wells, A Love Supreme, preceded by a concert from his latest
offering – an unusual line-up of tenor sax, bass and drums, under the name The QOW Trio. Wells is
an interesting subject. After making his name behind such names as Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott,
Humphrey Littleton, Stan Getz, Roland Kirk and more, he decided to become an Anglican priest at
around the age of 40.

The Guildhall looked wonderful although the sound was not perfect with some echo, but the
quality of the music and Wells’ engaging personality won out, with sax player Riley Stone-Lonergan and bass player Eddie Myer both contributing to an adventurous and well-received performance. There’s a clip on the cinema’s Facebook page if you would like to get a flavour.

Chichester Cinema at New Park | Facebook

 

Sandy Guthrie, from the Chichester CineFile podcast

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