Film festival aims to ‘astonish’

BBC News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK

Film festival aims to ‘astonish’

The Motorcycle Diaries will get its UK premiere at the festival
Organisers of this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival say they hope to
“surprise” and “astonish” film-goers with this year’s programme of features.
The annual event was launched at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on Wednesday.

This year the festival will show more than 80 films from 27 countries
including Argentina, Armenia, Taiwan and Ukraine from 18-29 August.

Artistic director Shane Danielsen said: “I really believe that this is the
strongest programme we’ve had yet.”

‘Strongest programme’

The festival starts with the UK premiere of the film The Motorcycle Diaries,
based on the 1950s travels around South America by Cuban revolutionary
figure Che Guevara.

Our opening night is amazing

Festival artistic director Shane Danielsen

The festival has billed the film, which stars rising Mexican actor Gael
García Bernal, is billed by the festival as “one of the greatest films of
the year”.

“I really believe that this is the strongest programme, certainly in my
time, that we’ve had yet,” said Mr Danielsen.

“Our opening night is amazing. It’s an exceptional film. I also like the
fact that it’s about a leftist with asthma – like me,” he said.

The festival will also include The Purifiers, which is billed as Scotland’s
first martial arts film, and Hamburg Cell, a fictionalised film about the 11
September hijackers.

One of the most controversial films is expected to be Anatomy of Hell, by
Catherine Breillat.

Director tribute

It stars Rocco Sifredi as a gay man who is picked up at a bar by a woman.
Sifredi starred in Breillat’s 1999 film Romance.

The festival’s Bafta interview will be given by Kes and Land and Freedom
director Ken Loach.

Actor Malcolm McDowell, who starred in Lindsay Anderson’s If, will present a
personal tribute to the director, who died 10 years ago, at this year’s
event.

He said the documentary programme included a series of “absolutely
extraordinary” films about the “dangerous time” people faced, Mr Danielsen
said.

“As all this happens suddenly people are looking to the cinema again for
representations of their concerns, their lives and their stories,” he said.

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