Sunday, May 1, 2011

UFC At TFF

Tribeca Film Festival needs to go back to its roots. The ticket prices are ridiculous. The fest used to focus on independent films with no-name directors, actors, writers. Now, every third film has some superstar in it. Me no likee.

This year, the schedule sucked. Few daytime showings during Spring Break. T and I did not make it together this year. Sigh. Next year, TFF needs to run things by us first.

The silver lining: this year, Eddie got a taste of the experience. He needed to have another film fest adventure after our last very absurd one.

ESPN supports several films about sports, so when the day came to buy tickets on AMEX presale, I was all set to snag two tickets to Catching Hell, a documentary about the fan who interfered with a play in baseball and received death threats. In two seconds, the show was sold out (or as they say in Tribeca, all the tickets were now RUSH, which means you stand on line for three hours, not knowing how many tickets are left and if you'll get it). The only one not sold out was the one on Easter, which we couldn't go to. So instead, I found a film about Anderson Silva, the ultimate fighter, called Like Water. It was a ten PM showing, which is way past my bedtime, but it was on a weekend, so I could do it. He would just have to poke me a lot if I was tired.

Turns out, I wasn't tired. Despite the letdown of everything else, I was excited. I was excited to see Eddie's experience, I was excited to be part of the experience, and I was excited that TFF was here, which means it's Spring and it's wonderful.

We found the theatre (after I got turned around for a while after getting out of Penn and couldn't find the Q train--every now and then, it happens). We got our tickets from Will Call after the girl in the booth had a verbal clawing match with the girl running the line. Fun Fact: TFF charges you $3 to hold a ticket at will call. That's in addition to the $2 charge for handling. What's the difference, pray tell?

We got snacks from the deli across the street because once you go into the theatre, they keep you in a herd and you can't break free. We saw that the line was at the other end of the block and was getting longer by the second. We waited on line while people passed by, asking what celebrities were supposed to be there. Who knows? We walked passed the largest security guard known to man and hustled into the theatre. We found good seats on the aisle and watched the rest of the place fill up. We saw lots of MMA jackets. Lots of these people were fighters.

Then a woman announced that this is the fest's tenth year and the film would begin. She said that the director was there to take questions afterwards. Then we heard a few people behind us say that Anderson would answer questions too. Eddie and I looked at each other--Did you hear that? Yup, the fighter was there.

The film started with a clip of Bruce Lee explaining how an athlete must move like water, hence the title of the film. Then Anderson Silva appeared on screen. Then he began speaking in Portuguese. Uh-oh. It never dawned on me that the film would be subtitled. I didn't know how Eddie was going to fair with that, but afterwards, he said that he got into it and didn't mind it. I did find one grammatical error in the subtitles--your's. What's that mean? Teaching English is sometimes a curse. I'd bet no one else caught that.

The film was pretty good. It followed the training up to a certain title fight that Eddie and I had watched on Netflix, so it was very apropos for us. I'm sure the filmmakers had us in mind.


The lights came up and the woman came back to announce that there would be a Q&A and she kind of glided over the names of the people including Anderson Silva. Then he stood up. He was five rows away from us, wearing a Yankee cap, white t-shirt, and jeans. As he walked forward, people realized who he was and started cheering.

The Q&A was great. He answered some things in English and some in Portugese. Someone asked a question in Portugese and he answered in both languages. Then someone asked why he doesn't always speak in English and he explained in Portugese and his manager/translater explained in English: sometimes his vocabulary isn't wide enough to say exactly what he wants to say.

What we did understand was this: when someone asked if he would fight Chael Sonnen again (Chael Sonnen is the loudmouth who ripped Silva all the way up to the fight, basically kicked Silva's ass, and then LOST when Silva got him in an arm bar who also condemned Lance Armstrong for taking steroids and giving himself cancer and then later was banned from the UFC for testing positive for steroids), Silva said he wasn't sure. "Good fighter, but...no win." Then they asked about another fighter. Silva responded, "Good fighter, but no win."

For the last question, someone asked what Chael Sonnen whispered to him after their title fight. Silva answered in Portugese. His translator said, Chael said he loved him, but he doesn't think that's true. It was a good way to end the night.

Silva is one funny guy. He's affable. He stood up at the front and greeted people. Eddie went up and took a close up shot. He wanted to meet him but there were too many people and they were kicking us out of the theatre. We tried to hang around but the largest man in the world was telling people, you can't stand here so keep it moving people keep it moving. We kept it moving. We didn't want to incite the wrath of large man.





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