About Sabina Stent

Surrealism, Culture, Randomness.

TCMFF: Ain’t Nothing but a Good Time

The return of TCM Film Festival following a pandemic-induced two year absence was always going to be an experience, but even I — who always has a ton of fun during the festival — did not expect to have the obscenely good time I had. Although I had barely socialised and not travelled since October 2019, my decision to break the ice by flying halfway across the world was an extremely chilled experience. To be honest, any residue anxiety dissipated the moment I sat on the plane. It was definitely foreshadowing; I laughed and stayed up until 2am most nights and watched a bunch of films with my friends and it was therapy. There are so many anecdotes and in-jokes I that have nothing to do with the festival (most will not be revealed on this blog, lol, others will be shared elsewhere), but here are some bits and pieces and photos and things from festival week:

Films I watched:

Dinner at Eight (1933)
All of Me (1984)
Miracle Mile (1988) — I keep falling asleep and jolting awake during the midnight screening which added to the experienced of an already excellent film!
Three on a Match (1932)
The French Way (1945)
Portrait of Jennie (1948) — this left me rapt and I’ll be writing about for my next newsletter (currently in the works!)
Polyester (1981) — a midnight screening in Odarama with Mink Stole in attendance!
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
7th Heaven (1927)

Portrait of Jennie, Dir: William Dieterle, 1948.

Other highlights during festival week included:

Boardner’s! So many great nights (and an afternoon waiting for it to open) at our favourite bar/the best bar in Hollywood.
An afternoon trip to the Folic Room.
Sneaking selfies at The Hollywood Museum.
The TCFMFF closing night party was poolside at the Roosevelt this year (instead of cramming us all in the ballroom) which was nice. I kinda wanted someone to fall in to REALLY make it a party!
Midnight fries at In-N-Out Burger.
Waiting for Boardner’s to open with Jessica and Brandon.

This year’s festival was catharsis, and it was greatly needed. Love to all those I hung out with, ate dinner with, gossiped with, and with whom I had the best time. Yes, I did stay on in LA, and I’ll probably write something about moments from my extended time in the city, too. But as for TCMFF, until next time x

TCMFF 2022: The Return!

After two years away, the Turner Classic Movie festival is back and I will be returning to my beloved L.A. for a prolonged stay in ten day’s time! The highlight of the festival for me is always seeing friends but even more so this year, as I’ll be watching a bunch of good movies with the gang I have not seen since 2019. While I am usually bouncing off the walls by now, I am not going to lie about feeling greater anxiety for this year’s lengthy journey (and all the new paperwork required for International travel). But I know the excitement and realisation will kick in once I’m seated on the plane.

I have other fun things planned aside from movies, which I will be blogging about on here and in greater depth in my newsletter (please subscribe and follow!). But first, festival! Will I stick to these films and schedule? Who knows! Here are my tentative TCMFF picks.

Thursday 21 April

I have a confession to make. I will not be seeing any festival movies on opening day because I’ll be heading to the The Whisky on the Sunset Strip to see the Enuff Z’Nuff perform live. I’m stupidly excited, and of course it clashes, but these things don’t come around all too often. Plus, when else will I have the opportunity to see this band live — and live at The Whisky? So, that’s my plan for Thursday night. However, I will be enjoying the E.T. red carpet up until then, and lurking at The Roosevelt, because the funnest, funniest, most typical festival highlights usually occur when you are just hanging out.

If I didn’t have plans, I would either be at The Harvey Girls, but more likely Jewel Robbery with the divine Kay Francis and the irresistible William Powell at the TCL Multiplex. Or, failing that, hanging poolside Fast Times at Ridgemont High at the Hollywood Roosevelt. As I have seen all of these movies before, I would probably see what every else is doing and maybe head to dinner with friends before the chaos unfolds. As for the later slot, and because I have seen both A Star is Born (1937) and Lover Come Back, I would probably plump for Jules Dassin’s Topaki, especially because I loved Riffifi. Hoping that one gets a re-run slot on the Sunday.

Friday 22 April

This is where it gets insane, which I love. I’ll most likely start my day at the Hollywood Legion for Dinner at Eight, because I still haven’t visited the venue and it’s a great one to start the day. Should I be extremely bleary-eyed, it’ll be either The Sunshine Boys or Maisie Gets Her Man at the TCL. Then I’m hoping to see The Group, followed by Coming Home, and then All of Me. These are all draws because Diane Baker, Bruce Dern, and Lily Tomlin in attendance respectively.

The first evening slot will be tricky, because as much as I love Giant, I don’t want to find myself lagging for the midnight screening of Miracle Mile (which I’ve never seen before!) at the TCL. I love The Letter, but will likely opt for Cocktail Hour at the TCL, followed by Cooley High at the Legion, before heading back for the witching hour. The midnights are always a highlight, and of course I’ll need to refuel at some point in between, so if I skip something so be it. Plans constantly change, that’s the beauty of film festivals.

Saturday 23 April

This one is a tricky day, and the only thing I’m sure about is going to the midnight screening of Polyester with Mink Stole in conversation. So, I’ll likely start my day with James Cagney in Angels with Dirty Faces, followed by the wonderful Three on a Match or the wildly intriguing The Last of Sheila (all at the TCL). I’ll then scurry along to the Legion for Baby Face.

I figure this will be followed by a break, which will allow me plenty of time to get back in line for The Hustler with Piper Laurie in attendance at the TCL. That being said, Invaders From Mars sounds like a hoot, and when else will I get the chance to see it on the big screen? But when will I get the opportunity to see Piper Laurie, either? As much as I favour seeing the new-to-mes, this choice will be tough.

As for the evening, I’d would relish the opportunity to see Diner at the Legion, especially with multiple members of the cast in attendance, but the minimal time between that and Polyester means it will be tricky — and that’s providing everything runs on time. So, I figure I will plump for always enjoyable Drunken Master II at the TCL. EDIT: I stupidly overlooked Portrait of Jennie, and am now leaning towards seeing that — it’s about art, how could I not! But it’ll be tricky deciding, for sure. Once again, the day is all about the midnight slot.

Sunday 24 April

The final day already? With a chunk of the schedule TBA, very often repeated showings of earlier films, I’ll just tell you what I know. As much as I love The Thin Man series, seeing Paper Moon on the IMAX screen is too irresistible to refuse. That being said, the Wim Wenders doc, Desperado, has really piqued my interest.

My Sunday choices certainly have a retro theme. At noon I’ll be watching Kathleen Turner and Nic Cage in Peggy Sue Got Married which means missing Key Largo and Bogie and Bacall on the Legion screen. Maybe I’ll change my mind on the day. This is why I never write my choices.

No midnight screening means two slots left, and The Sting at the IMAX is very tempting, giving me an hour to grab a bite before my closing festival film: A League of their Own. It’s always nice to go out on something special and in my eyes this is a perfect movie, plus cast members Megan Cavanagh, Ann Cusack, Jon Lovitz, Lori Petty and Anne Ramsay will be in attendance.

Then, onto the afterparty at The Hollywood Roosevelt, but we know the real fun comes after. See you at In-N-Out Burger!

The TCMFF website and schedule can be found here: https://filmfestival.tcm.com

Newsletter: Spellbound

The latest instalment of my newsletter is for paying subscribers only (a girls gotta eat, after all). The subject will come as no surprise if you know me — I wrote about Surrealism in/& Hollywood: Women Artists, Surrealism, and Hollywood. Please read and share and if you don’t want to pay, maybe read the free posts and subscribe to them! Or tip me on Ko-Fi — whatever!

The Women. Dir: George Cukor, 1939.

Ida

“Often I pretended to a cameraman to know less than I did. That way I got more cooperation.” Happy Birthday, Ida Lupino! Writer, director, producer, & star!

Surrealism inspired photo-series by Scotty Welbourne (1941).

A Late New Year Update

Some of you know about my Substack newsletter, and I am very grateful for those of you who read my sporadic updates. In a bid to be more regular, I recently (as in December 2021) activated the membership option. It’s basically Patreon, but not Patreon (is Patreon preferred? Let me know if so). This will enable me to keep the newsletter free, while enabling me to fund my research. The first piece is on Maar and Oppenheim’s (Em)body(ing) Art. More to follow shortly!

Man Ray, ‘Erotique Voilée’ (1933).

Happy Birthday, Dora Maar

“All Picasso’s portraits of me are lies. They’re all Picassos. Not one is Dora Maar.”

Happy Birthday to the brilliant Dora Maar 🖤🐚

Dora Maar in her Paris apartment, photographed by Lee Miller (c. 1956)
Dora Maar, Untitled (Hand-Shell) (1934)
Dora Maar, Untitled (double-exposed portrait) (1936)
Dora Maar, Père Ubu (1936)