Edinburgh Film Festival preview

iofilm, UK
Aug 17 2004

Edinburgh Film Festival preview

Plenty in treat with typically diverse EIFF 2004

By Rebort

EIFF opening and closing films: The Motorcycle Diaries (top) and E
J-Yong’s Untold Scandal

The glam

Edinburgh is not a big starry event on the level of, say, Cannes, but
still attracts a fair smattering of famous faces. Obvious places for
sleb-spotting are the opening and closing galas. The festival starts
strongly with Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries, a much feted
adaptation of revolutionary pin-up Che Guevara’s autobiographal
journal about his travels as a young man through South America.

Wong Kar-Wai’s follow-up to his luscious-looking In The Mood For
Love, 2046, was pulled as the closing film, at the last minute,
organisers said, because the film is still not finished. EIFF
artistic director Shane Danielsen quipped it was “one of the pitfalls
of working with eccentric artistic geniuses’. The organisers have
fallen back on E J-Yong’s Untold Scandal, a lavish period remake of
Dangerous Liaisons set in Chosun-period Korea.

The first Saturday of the fest always brings the paparazzi out, with
the world premiere of former EIFF award-winner Pawel Pawlikowski’s My
Summer of Love given the red carpet treatment at the Cameo on
Saturday night, 21 August. Pawlikowski uses his vivid cinematic style
to give a portrait of the blossoming friendship of two 16-year-old
girls during a languid Yorkshire Summer.

Hot tickets

Can’t get tickets to see those galas; or Morgan Spurlock chundering
on his umpteenth McDonald’s meal in Super Size Me; or film stars
puffing away in Jim Jarmusch’s eccentric Coffee and Cigarettes; or
those big waves in Stacy Peralta’s thrilling surf doc Riding Giants?
Don’t give up yet. Extra screenings are often scheduled in for
popular films, tickets for press and guests reallocated and people
don’t pick up tickets. Check with the EIFF box office (full details
at end of this article) what the state of play is. Alternatively,
check out iofilm’s reviews to see if our team has found any gems that
you can see instead – we cover the full programme of films.

Home-grown cinema

Obvious choices: Ken Loach presents Ae Fond Kiss, a Glasgow based
tale of inter-racial romance and Shane Meadows’ dark and gritty Dead
Man’s Shoes, about two brothers returning home to find the same old
drug dealing gangs.

In Hamburg Cell, Antonia Bird dramatises the events leading up to the
September 11 hijackings through the eyes of a young Muslim who
evolves from secular student in Germany, to Islamic ideologue,
jihadist and hijacker. Peter Mullan, a regular at the EIFF, is back
as a blind and jealous landowner caught in a love triangle of sorts
in a drama called Blinded.

Richard Eyre’s tantalising Restoration Comedy, Stage Beauty,
introduces Billy Crudup as the “compleat female actor” until he
becomes overshadowed by his own former dresser (Claire Danes) after
King Charles II (Rupert Everett) changes the law to allow women to
play themselves.

Other world premieres include Irish director Damien O’Donnell’s
Inside I’m Dancing and Terry Loane’s Mickybo and Me.

Kung fu escapes its Asiatic origins and relocates to Scotland, in the
not too distant future in Richard Jobson’s The Purefiers. The title
comes from a gang who having rejected a suspicious truce, find
themselves surrounded on all sides by factions warring to control a
disintegrating Britain. Chop-socky cinema that is one amongst a
fistful of Kung-fu films at the EIFF this year.


Fahrenheit 9/11 has not been the only political documentary making
headlines in this US election year. Control Room, directed by Jehane
Noujaim who made the doc Start-up.com, has kept the talk shows stoked
with this embedded view of Al Jazeera, the Arab news service that has
been condemned by the Bush administration as “the mouthpiece of Osama
Bin Laden” and was shut down just days ago by the acting Iraqi
administration for a month.

Filmmakers also aimed their cameras into the darkest corners of human
existence to find stories such as Checkpoint by Yoav Shamir, which
follows the mutual insanity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and
A Social Genocide (Fernando E. Solana), an angry look at the
squandering of Argentina’s national resources. Guerrilla: The Taking
of Patty Hearst (Robert Stone) offers viewers a chance to step back
in time and re-examine the events surrounding the kidnapping of
Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, an American 1970’s
terrorist militia.

It will be fascinating to see how Thomas Riedelsheimer, who made such
an evocative film about artist Andy Goldsworthy in River of Tides,
conveys the visual and aural harmony of Evelyn Glennie in Touch the
Sound – A Sound Journey. It just won an International Critics Award
at Locarno.

In a similar vein is Armenian filmmaker Harutyun Khachatryan’s
Documentarist where he paints a black-and-white, cinematic mosaic of
life in his ruined homeland.

In Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the real life hard rockers give
Spinal Tap a run for their money.

The Horror, the Horror

The EIFF has successfully carved out a spot with horror fans with
edgier, late night films. This year includes the world premiere of
American director Chuck Parello’s Hillside Strangler, a true tale of
two “tag-team’ Seventies serial killers (in the Late Night Romps
section of the programme). And Colin Firth wakes from a coma to find
his wife dead and himself implicated in a celebrity murder in
psychological drama Trauma.


The eye in the back of the EIFF head is cast upon Italian director
Valerio Zurlini. “Who’s he?’ You might ask. Between 1955 and 1976,
Zurlini made eight feature films, looking at men and women in crisis.
The retrospective is aptly called “Il Ritrovato: the Rediscovered.”

Commemorating the tenth anniversary of the death of director Lindsay
Anderson, the EIFF will be screening two of his features, O Lucky
Man! (1973) and the Whales of August (1987), and hosting a panel
discussion with a number of Anderson’s creative associates. Actor
Malcolm McDowell, pays tribute to Scottish director Lindsay Anderson
(he made his screen debut in Anderson’s If…(1968) by performing a
one-man show consisting of his personal stories and anecdotes.

Short life

As always, the EIFF programme is chocker with short films, from the
McLaren animation programme to short docs and short form drama,
usually of 5-20 minutes.

Recommendations? Always difficult, but we will have a keen eye on
this year’s three Tartan Shorts – directors often go on from these
prestigious Scottish short fiction pieces to greater things. The EIFF
shorts programmer, who whittled the programme down from 1000 has
these recommendations:

(1) Mona Lisa (Antipodean Shorts Programme)- “A guy lives with his
mother- very low key performances, so simple but well written and
beautifully shot.”

(2) Headway (Nordic Shorts Programme)- “The director (Jens Jonsson)
has done lots of short films. I think he is destined to be the next
big European features director.”

(3) Who Killed Brown Owl (UK Shorts Programme)- “One long take shot
in a summer park. Simply fantastic, everything a short film should

And there’s more: Mirrorball is back this year with “a mad mix of
music videos, rock documentaries, live events, promos, ads and
animations”. Mirrorball programmers David Drummond and David Ladd
have lined up music videos from Sweden to Australia in Global
Selection, toured to Japan for some commercials, and gathered “the
best of Britain’ (including Basement Jaxx, The Streets and LFO) in
Fresh Tracks.

Latest Edinburgh International Film Festival reviews

Edinburgh International Film Festival Box Office and Information
Edinburgh International Film Festival,
88 Lothian Road,
EH3 9BZ,
Ticket hotline +44 (0) 131 623 8030
Information line +44 (0) 131 229 2550
Telephone +44 (0)131 228 4051
Fax +44 (0)131 229 5501

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress