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AFI closes with ‘Sea’ of bashes

Film fest concludes run with good-bye bash

HOLLYWOOD — AFI’s 10-day film fest concluded Sunday with an ArcLight bash for the U.S. preem of “The Sea Inside.”

Film students danced their cares away in the cavernous venue opposite the Dome, while everyone else clamored to get inside the tiny green room.

There, helmer Alejandro Amenabar admitted he hesitated before casting Javier Bardem as the real-life quadriplegic in his late 50s.

“I only had in mind Ramon Sampedro when we were writing the script,” Amenabar explained. “I never thought of any actor who could play him.”

Bardem, who is 35, said he and the helmer discussed their reservations.

“We took a month, and as we were talking, we realized that even if we were wrong we didn’t care,” Bardem said. “We just want to do the movie. We just want to talk about his man.”

At Saturday’s party for “The Chorus” (Les Choristes), tyro helmer Christophe Barratier admitted he didn’t make it easy for himself when he chose a period piece with young children and musical sequences as his first film.

“I had in one film all of the difficulties that even experienced directors say are difficult,” he said.

Other AFI bashes included a ThinkFilm soiree Wednesday and a party following the “RX” screening Friday night.

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