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Monday, September 12, 2005

Mecal Festival’s lackluster opening

The opening day attendance for the 8th annual Mecal Short Film Festival in Barcelona had about as much spirit as San Miguel 0,0%. An uneven catalogue and vacuous auditoriums characterized the event.

It kicked off with a selection of short films classified as Obliqua, audio visual creations characterized by their experimental nature. Then came Docs, a series of short form documentaries; Travelling, the best of Spanish shorts of the last decade; International, short narrative films; and Ok computer, shorts in which computers played a key role in their creation. Unfortunately, many of the films were marred by clichéd B movie style gore. The sparse crowd said more with their unenthusiastic applause than any of the stacks of brochures scattered around the event.

At 10:30 festival goers had a chance to see Italian DJ duo Drama Society “re-mixing” Pasolini’s highly regarded film, Teorema. In what was to be a showcase event for the festival, the audience was presented with a dubious soundtrack remix akin to putting a movie on mute and playing your favorite CDs. The juxtapositions of sound and image seemed accidental, and several times during the so-called performance the wires on the soundboard crossed, producing noise. People largely stayed because they had already paid the exorbitant sum of 15 Euros. Had it been free, I have a feeling the auditorium would have been deserted after the DVD menu switched between languages. So much for film.

The irony of this year’s Mecal film festival is that this is the first year they are charging the general public (5€ for the shorts 12-15€ for Mecal Music section). Instead of a more lavish atmosphere, those attending were lost in a sea of Red Bull propaganda and a small smattering of decent short movies. A genuine community feeling was eschewed in favor of the mighty Euro.