Flexibility always comes in handy when you make your plans for a festival. For example, the first film I had planned on seeing was for some reason cancelled. That can happen for various reasons, but it does occasionally. I feel for the staff and volunteers who have to deal with that. For me it meant finding something else that fit my time window. As it turned out, I wasn’t disappointed.
In 1973, the first Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race was held. The superstars of sailing took part. The Weekend Sailor is a documentary (looking back forty years) to the Mexican entry, Sayula II. When Mexican businessman Ramon Carlin saw an ad about the race, he thought it would be a good thing to do with his teenage son. He had no boat, no crew, and very little experience. His wife, son, nephews all were part of the crew and a few people from other countries with some experience sailing joined with them. This was a very hazardous voyage (a few sailors from other crews died in the race). This race was definitely over the head of most of the crew. And yet…. The Weekend Sailor is a story not so much about the race (although we follow the boat and crew through the race and its perils) as it is about the bond that developed among this crew and the way they handled themselves in good times and bad.
When I turn in my ballot for audience awards after each film (all audience members get to rate films as excellent, good, fair, or poor) I tend to hold off on using “excellent” except for something exceptional. My first “excellent” of the festival goes to The Man Who Knew Infinity. Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons star in this story about Srinivasa Ramanujan, an uneducated Indian mathematician who is “discovered” by G. H. Hardy of Cambridge. Hardy brings Ramanujan to Cambridge just at the start of World War I. Ramanujan intuited math and likened the theoretical mathematics that they were involved in as art. The film also reflects on the importance of both proof and faith. Hardy was an atheist who could not believe what could not be proven. But Ramanujan saw in mathematics “the thought of god”. The Man Who Knew Infinity opens in theaters next Friday.