The Hamptons International Film Festival took place where the deer and the Steven Spielbergs play - in the incredibly charming village of East Hampton. With its quaint New England style houses and vibrant fall colors the Long Island village was clearly the festival's main attraction.
For East Hampton fits the Hollywood concept of what a country town should look like. Its featured attractions include a picture-perfect duck pond, a picture-perfect cemetery, picture-perfect country inns, picture-perfect delis (where they charge Rodeo Drive prices for designer sandwiches) and picture-perfect boutiques. What's more the road into town is lined with such superb examples of pumpkin sculpture you would think that Martha Stewart had decorated the local vegetable stands as a public service. In fact it's possible she did for she owns one of the multi-million dollar summer "cottages" that are tucked away in the town's quiet lanes.
Despite the obvious allure of the setting my visit to the third annual Hamptons festival was, of necessity, a hit-and-run affair. East Hampton has a number of Hollywood stars in residence among them Alec Baldwin and his very pregnant wife Kim Basinger. But they were clearly keeping a low people during the first few days of the festival perhaps at the request of festival director Darryl Macdonald who informed the New York Post's Page Six that this is "a serious festival." The board of directors of the festival apparently told Macdonald to downplay the "Hollywood glitz" and from what I saw he succeeded in doing just that.
I did bump into one distinguished local resident however - Anthony Harvey who served as film editor on such British film classics as THE L-SHAPED ROOM and directed the memorable LION IN WINTER . Harvey happily confessed that he's been living in East Hampton for three years and that he was looking forward to tending to his duties as a member of the festival's Golden Starfish Awards jury. After seeing two movies he was wondering if he would ever get to meet his fellow jurors who included actor-director Bob Balaban. It was Balaban who won both the Most Popular Film Award and the best director award at last year's festival for his second feature THE LAST GOOD TIME.
Julianna Lavin's "Live Nude Girls," one of this year's festival entries, may not win any awards but it is a fairly entertaining movie. In it five longtime friends let down their hair at a bachelorette party. The cast includes some of the most appealing and talented young actresses around - namely Dana Delaney, Kim Cattrall, Olivia d'Abo and Cynthia Stevenson who are far more engaging than the bawdy conversational script. Stevenson, in particular, is a comic delight.
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