Leeds International Film Festival for this year and Leeds is wet. Not just a little soggy. Under a constant blanket of annoyingly consistent drizzle, tinged with the murky sort of cloud that hovers somewhere around your forehead.
What better way to spend the entire day then, than in the cosy insides of Hyde Park Picturehouse?
Lee Scratch Perry's Vision Of Paradise is also a good antidote to a rainy day. A panoply of colour, predictions, God-like wonderings and music, the man himself is more enigmatic than the word 'enigmatic'. Punctuated with rainbow-bright animations (sometimes featuring actual rainbows) Volker Schaner's Documentary is lively and provides just the right sort of structure to a man who defies that very notion. Not that the director doesn't have a job on his hands. Just how do you organise a character who begins by declaring that 'before I was a human being, I was a fish'? The film succeeds most of the time, but Perry's virtuoso declarations do get a little tiring and Schaner does also allow the film to run a little too long.
Tikkun, by contrast, is shot in perfect black and white monochrome, its mood echoed in its visuals. The first of two films today dealing with crises in faith, Tikkun follows the near death experience of Haim-Aaron and his subsequent apparent 'reawakening'. This one is both a thinker and not for everyone. Methodically patient, at least one person in the cinema was audibly asleep. I personally loved the style, but am less certain on the content. Haim-Aaron's 'awakening' is rather like your average, slightly lewd teenage boys, but shot like an art film. I'm not certain yet whether the style of his film excuses director Avishai Sivan of some of the more overt moments.
Rounding off the day was The Club, another dark film (though this time in colour) which finds a new way of analysing the ills of the Catholic church. Focusing on four disgraced priests in an isolated Chilean community, Pablo Larraín's film is both unexpectedly grim, far too obvious in what it shows and how it shows it and uncertain of tone. At times it seems as though Larraín wants to use comedy to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but this makes an uncomfortable bedfellow with the film's harsher moments, which are rather harsh indeed.
And then, it was out into the Leeds air again. Slightly damp it was too.
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.