Edinburgh Film Festival 2004 – Day Two

iofilm, UK
Aug 20 2004

Edinburgh Film Festival 2004 – Day Two
EIFF 2004 Diary: Day Two

Super Size Me proves to be an extra large hit and the director, super

By Douglas Bell

Edinburgh venues have a tendency to be far too hot during August.
Whether it’s a local joke to provoke tourists or just a problem with
the old venues, today seemed a welcome exception as the cruel heat
stayed at bay. The enormous UGC at Fountainbridge seems best equipped
with air conditioning, so at least you may sit in comfort whilst you
watch the abysmal Hungarian murder movie After The Day Before. This
time it’s Hungarian inbreds who are all cross-wired, rather than the
more dangerous Belgian kind.

A jigsaw of non-linear events have been thrown together and you have
to pick up the pieces. It makes you suspicious of everyone from the
start, and unfortunately, suspicious that nothing is ever going to
happen in the movie.

The film festival offers an abundance of foreign productions this
year and they are not all of this standard. The Filmhouse is hosting
the Armenian black and white Documantarist which drew oohs and aahs
from the audience with its emotional observations of a damaged
nation. The caesarean births may put you off your Deuchars at the
Filmhouse bar afterwards, but there’s plenty mind broadening stuff
out there for all to see.

If you thought that the World’s Weirdoes all perform on The Royal
Mile, you should see some of the ones caught on film. It seems that
nothing has escaped the camera as even butt-naked coal-covered Dutch
diggers adorn the screens with their coal black buttocks and communal
shower scenes.

Today’s big show was undoubtedly Super Size Me, which had its UK
premiere at the UGC, introduced by the director/victim himself, the
spellbinding Morgan Spurlock. The anticipation surrounding this movie
is like no other and it leaves no-one in any doubt whatsoever about
how they feel about McDonald’s. I was sneaky enough to get into the
packed theatre to witness Spurlock’s witty intro. With the same
humour he uses to get his powerful message across on film, the man
had everyone at ease and craving for more.

Having seen the movie, he took his wife to the bar whilst Edinburgh
sat through his gastric study. He was delighted to chat with your
diarist and had no pretence about his work and the film’s incredible
success. Spurlock is very smart and modest. His ability to be
perfectly normal is one of his most endearing qualities and it’s a
powerfully authoritative way to get people to listen to something
that should be obvious – McDonalds will not make you happy, nor

His next piece may well end up being called `Would you like salt and
sauce with that?’ as I suggested he try the Rose Street Fry whilst in
town. He was amused by the recent closure of McDonald’s at the UGC
too, although he refused to take any credit for it. This man made the
fast food giant take the supersize option away from an addicted
America, and yet he boasts of nothing.

We joked about the weight that he’s lost over the last few months
eating little more than aeroplane food as he follows his success
wherever it calls him. We were very lucky to have him here in
Edinburgh and he felt lucky to be here. We should all watch his movie
as he went through Hell to do us all a favour. It’s also a great
documentary and amongst my favourites. Somehow, I think that it will
have a profound effect on the way we think about food. Even those who
already hate junk food should go and see it. It’ll be good for you.