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Back to Home >  Entertainment >  Movies  >  Bruce Newman >

Bruce Newman's Sundance Journal

Friday, January 21, 2005

Who Are You?

Sundance has a way of producing great drama, and not always just on the screen. Seats filled up quickly at an afternoon press screening of "The Jacket" -- a psychological thriller starring Adrien Brody -- and by the time Ruthe Stein of the San Francisco Chronicle entered the room, every chair had a body in it. Except one.

Anthony Kaufman, covering the festival for the Village Voice, had put his coat and a bag on his chair, then headed off to the men's restroom. Stein insisted, loudly, to a volunteer in charging of staying within fire regulations that someone was supposed to have saved her a seat. When she was told she would have to leave if she didn't have a seat, she removed Kaufman's coat and bag from his chair and plopped down. When he came back and asked her, politely at first, to give him back his seat, Stein simply kept repeating the words, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

But she refused to budge.

With the movie about to begin, Kaufman began insisting more forcefully that she get out of his seat, and she continued to refuse, pointing out again that someone was supposed to save her a seat while she was in the bathroom. When he stalked off to get help from someone in authority, she turned to the person next to her and laughed about the altercation.

But soon Kaufman was back, and when the festival managers refused to intervene on his behalf, he was incredulous. "Who are you?" he demanded of Stein. When he realized everyone in the room was now transfixed by this exchange, he announced, "I'm going to have a temper tantrum," then leaned down toward Stein -- now hunkered down in her chair as if it were a slit trench -- and bellowed, "Who are you that you think you can do this?"

This produced a round of supportive applause, but still Stein did not move.

Finally, the man seated next to her volunteered to give up his chair, leaving Kaufman and Stein seated uncomfortably close -- elbow to elbow, if it came to that, which it didn't -- for the next two hours. As the man who gave up his seat left the room, he leaned over to me and asked, "Does everybody think he was yelling at me? That I'm the jerk?" I assured him that it was a more discerning crowd than that.


Blogger Howard said...

I noted in Ruth Stein's review today in the Chron NO MENTION of the fireworks she precipitated.

January 26, 2005 at 5:41 PM  

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