Saturday, June 15, 2024

Hamptons Film Festival Shows How Many Local Celebrities Want to See New Films — A Lot– And a Famous German Director Arrives


The 30th Hamptons International Film Festival took off Friday night hasn’t looked back. So far the big films, for better or worse, have included “The Whale,” “The Triangle of Sadness,” “Groucho and Cavett,” “Living,” There are more to come today including Hugh Jackman in “The Son.”

At a brunch at Nick and Toni’s on Saturday, director Peter Hedges popped in, and so did top doc director Nancy Buirski, and Oliver Hermanus, director of “Living,” a terrific film starring Bill Nighy.

But the surprise twist to the lunch was the very late arrival, through the back door, of an older gentleman who asked if he could sit with us. “Everyone’s gone,” he said, looking at all the empty tables previously occupied by the likes of Alec Baldwin, who plays a big part in the festival. (He emceed a Q&A with Dick Cavett later.)

So what do you do, I asked this nice man. “I make movies. I’m a director.” Anything .I’d know? “Maybe. I made The Tin Drum.”

OK, what???? My friend, Regina Weinreich, whose documentary about Paul Bowles was in the very first Hamptons Film Festival three decades ago, blurted out “Are you Volker????”

Indeed, he was Volker Schlondorff, one of the most important German directors or of any country. He made “The Tin Drumer” and “Swann in Love” and the TV version of “Death of a Salesman” with Dustin Hoffman. He lives in Berlin, but knows his way around the Hamptons. He’s brought a documentary called “The Forest Maker” to the festival. A giant of a movie maker, just hanging out.

Over at the screening of “The Whale.” the very large East Hampton Middle school theater filled up very quickly. Famed photographer Bruce Weber, “Interview” magazine publisher Sandy Brandt, and CBS’s Alina Cho were all there, as well as the Beatles’ and Bee Gees famous public relations man Peter Brown. (You hear him name in “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”) Some people wept, some harrumphed. Everyone swore off dessert at dinner.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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