Hi there fellow audience members.
Like most of you, I assume, I have found this to be the best edition of the New York Film Festival in some time. Sure, the selection committee still can't seem to program shorts that can illicit any description greater than "sort of interesting," but the features overall have been above average to phenomenal.
It seems you have loved most of them too, but you know what? The Q&A sessions after the films are not actually there for you to hear yourself speak and attempt to prove how intuitive you are about film. Your Cinema Studies degrees, or lack of them, need not be on display here, and some of us (yes, that would be me) could really do without them. It's one thing to ask a question of the filmmakers on the stage or to even challenge them. Comments are fine too, but try to keep them to a sentence or two. There are plenty of people in the crowd who would like to ask questions, even more who are interested in what the filmmakers have to say, but very few who give a shit about your analysis. You want to analyze the films? Be my guest. Start a blog and write to your heart's content. But taking up several minutes to comment on this or that specific scene in a large room where 75% of the people can't even hear you is not a good idea. (Bravo to Richard Pena for often cutting long-winded questioners/commenters short.)
I can't even count how many times during the various post-film discussions I've heard some blowhard stand-up and talk about how this or that scene made him/her think of Vermeer or why these two scenes were obvious parallels only to have the filmmaker say that's not what he/she was thinking at all. There's nothing wrong with these analyses if that's what you saw in the film; that's your right and perception. However, why not ask the filmmaker what he/she was thinking with those scenes or what influences may have actually existed? And then let them speak rather than recite a dissertation as to why you asked the question? Some people do this very well. Others are obviously too self-absorbed.
Oh, and Lisa Schwarzbaum (selection committee member and Entertainment Weekly critic)? Please stop moderating panels altogether. If you're going to dominate the questioning as you did with Undertow, maybe you should run your questions by a few people before hand so they can tell you to stop being stupid and try again.
P.S.: I know I'm a little slow sometimes, but could someone explain to me why people hiss at the HSBC trailer that shows before the movies? Is it just some comment against big business, especially banks, since we're sitting in an uppity, elite, artistic forum celebrating film? Or am I missing something? Because I think it's a pretty clever little commercial.