Date night at Leeds International Film Festival

During my stress management session last week, I was asked when was the last time David and I had been out together as a couple, on our own. I couldn’t remember.

So, as soon as the session ended (in a rare grabbing-the-bull-by -the-horns moment )I went straight to the Leeds International Film Festival box office, and bought a pair of tickets for the closing gala film, ‘Shame’, which was showing at the Leeds Town Hall last Friday night. Of course, having bought the tickets, I then needed to get hold of  a baby-sitter. Thankfully my Dad stepped into the breach. As my parents and in-laws give us so much support through the day, I often find it hard to ask them to look after the children so we can go out, but I’ve come to realise that we need some time as a couple too. After all, one day the children will grow up and leave home (all being well), and it’ll be just the two of us again!

The film was shown in the Victoria Hall, a two tiered hall with a stage. All around the top of the hall, in beautiful tiles, are typically Victorian mottos of industry, religion and altruism. It’s a lovely room, and one in which I’ve never seen a film before. In fact, although I’ve planned to for many years, I’ve never seen a film at the Film Festival before, so I’ve decided that, despite the lack of much effort on my part, this counted as one of my 35;35 Challenges.

As my sister-in-law said ‘my challenge, my rules!’

This year’s Festival was the 25th Anniversary, and Leeds has been accepted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to become part of the Academy Awards® process in the categories of Live Action Short Film and Animated Short Film for the 2013 Oscars®. So, exciting times and it was a great pleasure to finally see a film as part of the Festival.

Now, I’m not a film critic, and this isn’t a post about the film itself, more about finding some balance in my life, but I will say a little about ‘Shame’. Mostly because it’s ingrained on my memory. Shame stars Michael Fassbender as Brandon, a sex addict, and Carey Mulligan as his suicidal sister. As you can tell from this, it’s not a feel-good kind of film. There is a huge amount of nudity and a lot of sex scenes. As Brandon is a sex addict, these are not scenes of loving, joy-filled sex, but of his gradual, seedy and desperate descent into the gutter. It’s a powerful, heart-breaking film and both actors are brilliant, but it’s not easy to watch and was quite a challenge for me.

When I start to suffer from stress, I keep myself in a little bubble, locked away from any particularly difficult news, or fictional content. Instead I watch a lot of easy comedy, read light hearted literature and insulate myself from anything challenging. Mainly because I react badly, and in the case of the news, the feeling of being powerless against the worst is something I do not handle very well.  Once I’m back on form, then I break free from my self imposed bubble and start to take part in the world again!

So, a rare night out, a final Film Festival experience and some time spent with my lovely husband ( who, incidentally, reacted to the film in a similar way to me). Not too bad, all in all and I’m happy that we have resurrected Date Night. Long may it continue.

2 Responses to Date night at Leeds International Film Festival

  1. Well done on ticking another activity off your 35:35 challenge! Harrowing though the film may have been, I imagine it gave you and your husband plenty to talk about and if you’re anything like me, the opportunity to have a not everyday conversation can bring a lot of joy and connectivity x

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