Full Circle

The artist expoundsYou may recall that my cousin Mark Peranson has been having a really good year, touring the world’s film festivals as both the co-star of Albert Serra’s cracked Nativity story “El Cant dels Ocells” and the director of “Waiting for Sancho“, the “kind of making-of” of that film.

(When he’s at home, Mark is the respected programmer at the Vancouver film festival as well as the editor and publisher of Cinema Scope magazine.)

Synchronicity being what it is, I’ve had the opportunity to follow Mark’s odyssey on the festival circuit — I was able to attend the Cannes premiere of “El Cant dels Ocells”, and of course there was its TIFF engagement just last month, which gave me the opportunity to interview Mark for a post on the NOW blog. (Link not working; I’ll get it up as soon as I can.)

And last night, at Vienna’s lovely Urania auditorium, I got to see “Waiting for Sancho” with an audience — and watch Mark’s subsequent Q&A with the crowd, featuring Serra as a special guest. (“El Cant dels Ocells” is here, too; I missed it in London last week by just one night.)

I know I can’t be critically objective here — and the obvious conflict of interest prevents me from ever reviewing either movie professionally — but I think “Waiting for Sancho” is pretty damn good. As promised, it’s an unconventional making-of that works very well as a tonal reflection of Serra’s film. “Sancho” is also quite striking, visually, which is even more impressive when one realizes it was shot with a tiny consumer-grade HD camcorder. It may also be that the locations, on Tenerife and the Canary Islands, are just so much more beautiful in color than they are in Serra’s monochrome vision.

It’s also dedicated to our grandparents, and seeing that dedication on the screen — shot on their kitchen table, which it turns out Mark took home with him to Vancouver — was a final grace note that proved especially emotional for me.

Tomorrow will mark the second anniversary of our grandmother’s death. Mark was in Vienna then, too — he suspended his duties as a FIPRESCI juror to fly back home. And this year, because I’m sitting on that same jury, I get to be here for this.

Everything comes around again, doesn’t it? And the connections never stop.