Two at the Telluride Film Festival, three at the Toronto International Film Festival and one at the Mill Valley Film Festival.More at the link.
If that were a list of trophies for the new movie "127 Hours," which opens Friday, the filmmakers would be overjoyed. In fact, it's a partial tally of people who have collapsed during early screenings of the movie about a real-life hiker who amputated his forearm after a falling boulder pinned his hand in a remote canyon.
"I started to feel like I was going to throw up," said Courtney Phelps, who was watching "127 Hours" at a recent Producers Guild of America screening in Hollywood and grew ill just as the amputation scene ended. "So I went to the bathroom, and then I started feeling dizzy and my heart started racing."
Phelps fainted on the restroom floor, and was treated by paramedics who had been called when another moviegoer suffered an apparent seizure. "I have never had, even remotely, an experience like this," she said. "I'm a television producer. I know this stuff is not real."
Evidently, that doesn't matter.
Filmmakers always hope their work will affect audiences in powerful ways. But the strong physical and emotional responses generated by "127 Hours" have not only surprised director Danny Boyle and his creative team — they've also presented a delicate marketing challenge for Fox Searchlight, which co-financed and is distributing the $20-million movie.
"I would prefer that people not pass out — it's not a plus," said Stephen Gilula, the studio's co-president. "We don't see a particular publicity value in it."
Still, Gilula said the swoons — besides the incidents in Telluride, Toronto and Mill Valley, there have been at least eight more at other preview screenings — prove the film's artistic power. "It's the most empathetic experience I've ever seen," he said. The movie, rated R for "language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images," opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, with more cities set to be added in the coming weeks.
I think I may catch this one in theaters.