Connections: Boffo Box Office

“Jane Fonda in Five Acts”

The busy season was over, or so we thought, when two events proved otherwise. One was a screening of “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” a documentary that jammed Guild Hall on Saturday night even though it was soon to be available on HBO. The other was a very well-attended talk by Sebastian Junger, a writer and filmmaker of international renown, at a private gathering in East Hampton Village.

Ms. Fonda was not here for the screening, but the audience was clearly happy to be able to hear a lively Q. and A. with Susan Lacy, who directed and produced the film, and Alec Baldwin. 

Mr. Junger, who has traveled over and over to places of conflict and lived to tell about them, came to support the South Bronx Documentary Center, a relatively new organization that trains young people, teenagers in particular, in writing and photojournalism. Mr. Junger grew up in the Bronx, and said the time had come for him to step away from the wars he has witnessed and to foster storytelling by young people as necessary tools of change. 

Mr. Junger’s most well-known book is probably “The Perfect Storm,” which was made into a film. It is about a 1991 storm along the East Coast that resulted in physical damages estimated at $200 million, the loss of power to an estimated 38,000 households, and 13 deaths, including six aboard the Andrea Gail, a fishing vessel that left Gloucester, Mass., and sank off the Grand Banks. 

Among his films is “Restrepo,” a full-length documentary made with a partner, the photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed in pursuit of a story in Afghanistan.  

For Mr. Junger, the human search for meaning in life is not about belonging or loyalty. He has been quoted saying, “It’s about why — for many people — war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary.”

And then it was time to grab tickets to the Hamptons International Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 4 to 8. The festival’s program guide — which The Star publishes and distributes every year — contains information on the 68 films that will be screened this year, and it was no mean feat to try to digest enough details on each to make an informed decision on which we would like best to see. I think next year we will get organized with a flow chart and online calendar! Although tickets for HIFF are sold online, by Monday morning a long line stretched down Main Street as wannabe filmgoers waited for the box office at Obligato boutique to open its doors at noon.

Tumbleweed Tuesday has come and gone. HIFF ends on Columbus Day, but it is likely that many part-timers will stretch their stays into that shortened workweek. Pumpkin Town in Water Mill will soon swell with crowds. I’m not sure when the peace and quiet of autumn will return to the South Fork, but perhaps calm will reign by November?