LIFF30 Day Summary - Sunday 6th November - Aquatic reptiles and abandoned buildings

My second day at LIFF30 took me back to Leeds Town Hall for Animation Day to see The Red Turtle, a virtually dialogue-free Studio Ghibli production from Dutch director Michaƫl Dudok de Wit. Whilst beautifully animated and with a gorgeous score, the film failed to engage in the way that Ghibli's very best have managed in the past thanks to a story which was ultimately too simple to satisfyingly fill the film's eighty minutes. The short shown before The Red Turtle, entitled Father And Daughter and also from Dudok de Wit, was pleasing enough, although I never felt as strongly about it as Ghibli's Isao Takahata who reportedly described it as the greatest animated short of the 21st Century.

The rest of my day could have gone one of two ways: either my first choice of heading to Left Bank for a double bill of documentaries; or my back-up plan to stay at the Town Hall for another Animation Day offering before catching one of my most anticipated of the festival, Under The Shadow, which I could also see on Monday. It all depended on buses, thus leaving matters ultimately in the hands of the gods of public transport. As the bus was awaiting my embarkment when I arrived at the stop, I took that as a clear sign for me to head to Left Bank, so off I went.

As well as wanting to see the two documentaries, Homo Sapiens and Paris Tower 13, I was also keen to experience the venue having never been there before. Housed in a former church, Left Bank proved a fantastic setting to experience the films on offer, reminding me of the Town Hall's Albert Room in terms of layout but with much grander surroundings and a bar offering a nice line in alcoholic drinks (of which I did not partake as I was driving), hot and cold soft drinks, and a selection of snacks and cakes (of which I did partake because cake is good). Left Bank was also housing the Abandoned Yorkshire exhibition, an interesting collection of photography of buildings throughout Yorkshire which have been left in various states of dereliction.

Homo Sapiens had been specifically chosen to tie in with the exhibition, consisting of footage from similarly abandoned spaces and buildings around the world. It's clearly a film which won't be for everyone, and some of the locations chosen had more impact than others, but overall it proved fascinating and a film I was very glad to have been able to see. Paris Tower 13 continued the theme in some respects, documenting an empty tower block in Paris which was transformed into a makeshift gallery for the work of over a hundred street artists throughout the year before its demolition. The film's director Thomas Lallier was in attendance to answer questions following the screening, providing further insight into both his film and the project itself. Three films and one short watched, a new venue experienced, a director Q&A and buses being nice to me: I'd call that a good day, wouldn't you?

The 30th Leeds International Film Festival runs from 3rd-17th November 2016 at thirty venues across the city, including Hyde Park Picture House and Leeds Town Hall. Tickets and more information are available via the official LIFF website.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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