The Miami International Film Festival, Part III

As expected, “Red Road”  won the Fipresci Award. It also won the Miami Festival’s Knight World Competition Prize, which pays $25,000. The Fipresci Prize pays nothing. All we offer is glory. Let me put it this way: that 25 grand from the Knight Prize might last a week — a week-end at most at South Beach prices — and all the “Red Road” people (the award was accepted by actor Tony Curran, who looks like he might enjoy a good time) will have afterwards is a headache and embarassing memories. The priceless glory of a Fipresci award lives forever.

But the Miami Festival was not all artistic glory. There were celebrity sightings as well. For example, at the chi-chi dinner celebrating Luc Besson I not only shared a table with a charming, cinephilic banker from Wachovia (one of the Festival sponsors) who admitted to weeping at the Adam Sandler film “Click,” but I also got a glimpse at Mickey Rourke, who was either a surprise guest or crashing the party (both the Wachovia gentleman and I agreed that Rourke was the best thing in “Sin City”).

A day or two later I was walking down Lincoln Road and I spotted Fred Willard, winner of the Boston Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor Award in 2000 for his performance in “Best in Show” and at the festival representing the closing night film, “Ira & Abby” (no award there, I fear). He looked confused; perhaps he had just seen the man with the six Italian greyhounds.

On a lighter note, I also met this bird, who seemed friendly at first but turned verbally abusive and violent. Unlike the seraphic Eclectus, perhaps the nicest parrot I have ever met. A terrapin delighted us with this spot-on imitation of Mickey Rourke.

To top off my trip, I met the most special Surprise Guest of all.

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