The first film for me was therefore Heart Of A Dog, directed by American performance artist Laurie Anderson, who was also married to Lou Reed for the last five years of his life (a Reed song in fact plays over the end credits). It's not often I say this about a film, but I hated Heart Of A Dog from very early on in its running time until the end. It failed to resonate with me in any way, and in fact encapsulates exactly the kind of pretentious self-indulgent cinema I actively try to avoid at film events such as LIFF. I don't mind accepting that I was clearly in the minority in holding this view, as many in attendance at Hyde Park gave Anderson's film a round of applause as the credits began to roll.
Next up was Tangerine, a revenge film based within the sex trade of Los Angeles which I had heard good things. Tangerine is a film I enjoyed whilst watching, but which may in fact go up in my estimation after reflecting on the craft that went into it and learning more about it as a cinematic statement. Whilst I recognised that it had been made on a shoestring budget from the start, for example, I wasn't aware that the whole film had been shot using only a handful of iPhone 5 smartphones and apps. Definitely a film worth seeking out if you can either in Leeds (it's being shown again at Hyde Park on 11th November) or elsewhere.
Spending only a few days in Leeds is always a slightly bittersweet affair: whilst I've had the chance to see a great many films that I might not have experienced otherwise, it feels as though I've finally settled into a festival frame of mind just as I have to prepare to travel home again tomorrow. As next year will mark thirty years of LIFF, I have no doubt that the festival organisers will be cooking up something extra special, so I may have to be here for a little longer in 2016 than I have these past three years if at all possible.
Anyway, that's all way off into the future. Returning to the present, Sam will be picking up the LIFF29 baton next weekend for another couple of days' coverage. With plenty on offer next weekend that I'd love to be able to see, I'm already looking forward to seeing what he watches and what he thinks.
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.