People who complain that Stanford has no culture don’t look in the right
places. They may misguidedly pander their misery to the sympathetic ears of partygoers and pedantic hipsters who count fraternities, athletic wear and Will Ferrell among their pins on a “Loathe” board.
The merry seeker of cultural-delight finds, instead, steadies himself with the periodical planks of pop-up events, most recently the Palo Alto International Film Festival. Intermission’s mouth watered at the promise of free screenings, Pixar exclusives and food trucks, but the kick of the films in that traditional film-fest bent we had almost overlooked warmed our wanting hearts the most.
We started the weekend on Thursday at the premiere of Pixar’s digital Short … in 3D! The 1950s black-and-white “Paperman” stole our hearts before we could lose it watching the remastered-in-3-D Hitchcock classic “Dial M for Murder,” and yes, Grace Kelly pops even more with that final dimension. We sprinkled in some documentaries, shorts, Curry Up Now and even cried when Omar Sy of “The Intouchables” couldn’t make his scheduled talk, but it was “Renga,” the video game under the guise of a movie that really held our attention.
They said, it was a movie. It was really a video game on a big screen, manipulated live and played by the entire audience with lasers — yeah, like laser pointers — pointed at the screen. The audience worked together (but mostly in loud verbal conflict) to gather quads to build a ship while not getting destroyed? Something like that.
Shouting, laser light shows and even a sassy Hal-esque bot made for a surprisingly engaged half-hour of big screen game play. Dropping in at the fest between meetings and homework (and Endless Summer), festivalgoers to PAIFF can rest assured that culture is for the determined of mind.