Fri 7.19.2013

Would You Boo?

We weren’t surprised when Nicolas Winding Refn came to the Los Angeles Film Festival for the North American premiere of Only God Forgives, and gave an introduction that was as provocative as his work. (“I’m a pornographer,” he told the audience, “and I make films about what excites me.”)  After all, this is the man who’d just been booed at Cannes. Now that the film is coming out in theaters, the lightening-rod director is often asked how that felt. “…art is meant to divide, because if it doesn’t divide, it doesn’t penetrate, and if it doesn’t penetrate, you just consume it,” Refn told Vulture.

Refn is in good company, of course. This past spring Brooklyn’s BAM Theater ran a cool screening series called Booed at Cannes, featuring wrongfully maligned Cannes premieres like Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura, Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and David Lynch’s Wild at Heart.

All this has gotten us talking about booing in theaters: who’s done it and who wouldn’t dare. Here’s what Film Independent’s most passionate film lovers/haters said:

“If you can laugh, cry, gasp, scream and clap in theaters, you might as well boo if it’s called for!” –Stephanie Allain, Festival Director

“I’m an interactive type of gal, so if the spirit hit me. I’d boo, for sure.” –Mel Jones, Festival Assistant

“I would boo in my head, but only in a commercial theater and never at a film festival with the filmmakers present.” –Michael A. Lopez, Director of Institutional Giving and Strategic Partnerships

“Never! No matter how awful I thought it was, filmmakers pour their heart and soul into their films and it’s disrespectful. Would you boo someone’s baby?” –Mike Piacentini, Database and Website Manager

“Booing at Cannes is definitely on my bucket list. But I’d never do it in the U.S. Here I save all my boos for the New England Patriots.” –Pamela Miller, Website and Grants Manager

“I’ve never done it and probably would never do it, but have seen some films that left me wanting to.” –Francisco Velasquez, Project Involve Manager

“In order for a film to deserve my booing, it’d have to insult me directly as a person. I’d only boo a film that is explicitly homophobic, racist or extremely manipulative.” –Cristhian Barron, Senior Accountant

“My good friend doesn’t boo but rather “hisses” if she doesn’t like a film. Must be a South African thing…”  – Shawn Davis, Director of Event Production

“I’ve never booed that I can think. Does walking out count?” –Ryan Gilden, Graphic Designer

So tell us, film lovers/haters: Would you boo? Leave a comment!

By Pamela Miller / Grants & Website Manager