My first film of the day was Aferim! at Vue in The Light, a Romanian period drama with a distinct Western flavour which focuses upon the retrieval of a runaway Gypsy slave by a police constable and his son. Whilst I was glad to have seen Aferim! after watching, particularly for its continually impressive cinematography, I have to admit that it left me considerably unsatisfied. I'm still mulling over exactly what part or parts of the film resulted in this feeling - especially as its one that seems to have been particularly well-received at several festivals throughout 2015 - but looking pretty wasn't enough to save it for me.
By Our Selves was also the first opportunity I've had to experience the Everyman Cinema in Leed's Trinity Centre, despite this being my third year attending the festival. It's not for want of trying, though, as there were films I wanted to see at the Everyman in both 2014 and 2013 that sold out before I could get a ticket.
Despite being a venue that seems to split opinion amongst festival attendees, my first time there was a very positive one. However, I could see where some of the negativity may have come from. The screening I was in was no more than half full, meaning most people got a sofa to themselves (the Everyman offering sofas and armchairs as opposed to traditional cinema seating), but even then there were some people who came in later than me who struggled to find a position in the auditorium that offered an optimal view. It was also quite warm in the cinema when the film started as the previous screening had been a full house; watching even something the length of By Our Selves' ninety-ish minutes in that level of heat could easily become an uncomfortable affair. There seem to be more showings at the Everyman this year than in either of my previous years, however, so its obviously a venue LIFF are committed to using, and based on my first film there I'd certainly be happy to return.
The 29th Leeds International Film Festival runs from 5th-19th November 2015 at venues around the city, including Hyde Park Picture House, Cottage Road Cinema and Leeds Town Hall. Tickets and more information are available via the official LIFF website.