Film Scouts Diaries

1999 Telluride Film Festival Diaries
Rocky Mountain High Culture, Part 4

by Emmett Gray

Telluride, Colorado, September 4, 1999

Another gorgeous day, I decided to rent a mountain bicycle and explore. I rode most of the way up to Bridal Veil Falls, a spectacular cascade at the central headwall of the box canyon surrounding Telluride, then started to fade and cheated - caught a lift from a passing SUV and threw my bike in the back. (Having acclimatized somewhat, I fared better than I thought I might have, flatlander that I am, but I didn't want to overdo it. I did push too hard in Aspen once, climbing a nearby mountain the day I arrived, and was in bed for days with a fever and major headache). Anyway, a spectacular vista of the valley is had from the headwall, and of course there is a corresponding spectacular view of the falls from the valley floor, and at many points along the way up.

Just before noon there was a participant photo call, and the one honoree I hadn't yet seen, Catherine Deneuve, showed up and looked mahvellous.

The afternoon saw the presentation of "Dracula", the restored 1931 Todd Browning talkie starring Bela Lugosi, with a new score by Philip Glass (there was no original score) and performed live by Glass on keyboard with the Kronos Quartet, with Michael Riesman conducting and also playing keyboard. It was received with a standing ovation, well deserved in my opinion. The musicians played the engaging score beautifully and Riesman kept near-perfect synchronization with the picture, a skill for which he is noted in his stewardship of live presentations of "Koyaanisqatsi" and "Powaqqatsi".

In the evening I went to dinner in what's called the Mountain Village. Instead of sprawling the town of Telluride, expansion has been achieved by building this planned satellite town, accessible by a free gondola ride (the gondola runs normally until midnight, but until 2:30 AM during the festival to accomodate those attending midnight shows). It's reminiscent of the towns in "The Prisoner" or in "The Truman Show" - too perfect, too planned, too cute, and on top of that, this one is too wealthy, but I couldn't really hate it since it's so damned environmentally friendly.

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