Everyone loves a good cry (even the ones who act like they're too tough). And the movies have always provided the perfect release, a way to let off a little emotional steam in a safe environment. Those of us lucky enough to live in this fine city know better than most how important that is, unless you want to end up on the tube, crying on a stranger's shoulder. So it's strange that no one had put together a London-based film festival entirely dedicated to cinematic tragedy. That's all set to change when SadFest kicks off at the Genesis in Mile End on March 3.
And it's a stunning lineup - forget your trashy 'Titanic's and blubbering 'Beaches', this isn't weepie-cosy, Haagen-Dazs in your dressing gown comfort viewing. This is the serious, bawl-your-guts-out heavy stuff. The opening film on Friday night is David Lynch's immaculately distressing 'The Elephant Man' starring the late, great John Hurt, which is set and was filmed in and around the East End. It'll be followed over the weekend by Ken Loach's timeless, heartbreaking 'Kes', the mighty Meryl Streep facing the Nazis in 'Sophie's Choice', sumptuous and stylish marital melancholy in 'In The Mood For Love' and street-level trauma in the devastating 'Precious'. There'll also be live music and poetry readings in the bar, and discussions around some of the films.
Tickets are on sale now, and every one will include a charitable donation to the Samaritans. If you do go, remember to drink plenty of water and eat salty popcorn. No sense adding injury to tragedy.