(Hulu/kanopy/VOD)? Every film nerd I’ve known has their favorite seat. I certainly do: I prefer middle aisle as I have long legs and prefer not to be tightly compacted for ~two hours, and I enjoy a slightly more distanced view of the screen, as opposed to having the screen fully fill my vision.
However, sometimes — especially with film fests — you aren’t going to score your favorite spot. Sometimes you’ll get the worst seat in the house. My wife and I certainly did when we nabbed stand-by tickets for a screening of MELANCHOLIA during the 2011 Chicago International Film Festival.
If you aren’t familiar with MELANCHOLIA, it’s Lars Von Trier’s meditation on depression and, while I run hot-and-cold on von Trier (especially regarding his on-set approach to filmmaking), MELANCHOLIA is certainly one of his more palatable films and features fantastic performances all around, but especially from Kirsten Dunst. It’s also arguably one of the most visually jaw-dropping films from von Trier; there’s a scale and scope and painterly look to MELANCHOLIA that’s absent from the majority of his other works. (One exception might be the psychodrama horror of ANTI-CHRIST.) While it’s absolutely gorgeous, this is a film that was not meant to be viewed in an offset front row seat which, surprise, was what our stand-by tickets garnered us.
You’re left without any distance from the mind-numbing depression and cosmic confrontation. It hammers itself into your head; you have nowhere to run. I’m sure von Trier would smirk if he read this, but it turns the film into something absolutely appropriately overwhelming and suffocating, but a perspective on the film that I would not recommend. Keep with the middle row or watch it at home and keep your distance, or it will mess with you even more than it’s intended to.