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Film Festivals: Get Your Daily Dose

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Now hear this! People should attend film festivals whenever they can, even if they are not big movie lovers (like me). Why?

The one film festival I attend every April is the wonderful celebration of French Cinema known as COL COA,* a week of French film premieres in Hollywood. I first started attending because my husband, Pascal, is French; we both love movies; and he really, really loves hanging out with his own kind once in while (they get to agree with each other about things like, "zat cheese zey are serving is not too disgusting!)." Plus, it's right up the street from us at the Directors Guild of America building, so we can walk. But this year, it dawned on me that love of films might not be the only good reason for binge-watching movies -- one to three a day sometimes! -- for seven days.

Creative people possess the magical ability to harness our collective consciousness -- our thoughts, feelings, concerns -- and help us to make sense of it all through artistic mediums like literature, music, theater, dance and film. By the time you've seen movie after movie, day after day, without realizing it, you have tuned in to the issues currently being processed by all the other people who share this planet with you. By the end of the festival, you have witnessed some of humanity's prevailing problems, dissected them, digested then, and, in some cases, resolved them!

I've been very busy with work this year so didn't get to see as many films as I would have liked, but with the four films I saw in three days, I had the opportunity to meditate on our capacity for cruelty through an Algerian story called The Rooftops; on trailer park life, alcoholism, love and healing in an unexpected tale titled One of a Kind; teen exploration of sexuality through online prostitution in Young and Beautiful; and on the meaning of family, friendship and infidelity through a film called We Love You, You Bastard.

Infidelity comes up a lot in French films. Come to think of it, infidelity abounds in just about every film I've seen in recent memory. What's that about? Um, I think infidelity and its cousin, loyalty, must be on our collective minds.

In the last couple of weeks, my inbox has been flooded with emails from Ashley Madison, a dating service for married people whose tagline exhorts Life is short. Have an affair. I wrote about this company years ago after seeing their provocative tag line on a billboard day after day on my way to work. I wonder if that's why I'm getting these emails now? I wrote about it, therefore Google's expert spying engine must have told them that I'm a prime target for their services! Which gets me ruminating -- again -- about how our privacy has gone the way of the dinosaur. Although, I recently read that technology might enable scientists to recreate dinosaurs, letting them loose among us at the mall, turning shopping into such a disaster.

See what I mean? Seeing a lot of movies really gets your brain going.

If you don't get to COL COA this year, mark your calendar for April next year. Film festivals are a must!

*City of Lights, City of Angels