Mr Nice, Pelican Blood and The Good Heart among Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010 highlights

  • 1 June 2010

This article is from 2010.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2010 listings highlights

Rhys Ifans as Howard Marks in Mr Nice

The Edinburgh International Film Festival programme was announced today. Here are some concise highlights as selected by our film critic at The List.

Mr Nice

Rhys Ifans gives the performance of a lifetime in this wild biopic of the infamous Howard Marks. An Oxford physics graduate from the Welsh Valleys who became a drug-runner, dope aficionado, celebrated author and sometime spy, Marks here becomes the engaging antihero of a rollicking cinematic ride, based on his own hit autobiography. Bernard Rose (Candyman; Ivansxtc; The Kreutzer Sonata) directs a superb cast, with Ifans backed by Chloë Sevigny, David Thewlis, Omid Djalili and Jack Huston.
Listing TBC


Provocative and disturbing Japanese movie about the mental and physical effects of war.
Filmhouse, 9.15pm, Thu 17 Jun.

Pelican Blood (World premiere)

Atmospheric, edgy story of an ill-fated love affair between competitive birdwatcher and a seductive environmentalist.
Cineworld, 6.30pm, Thu 17 Jun & 9pm, Fri 18 Jun.

Family Tree

Family estrangement and skeletons-in-closets come to light at a French funeral, with fantastic performances.
Cameo, 6pm, Thu 17 Jun & 3.30pm, Sat 19 Jun.

The Red Machine

Delicious propaganda-style movie featuring safe-crackers and Japanese spies in depression-era America.
Cineworld, 6pm, Thu 17 Jun & 3.15pm, Sat 19 Jun.

Edge of Dreaming

A poetic, personal film in which a woman’s dreams of death come true.
Filmhouse, 7.15pm, Thu 17 Jun & 4.15pm, Sat 19 Jun.

Girl With Black Balloons (World premiere)

A character study of reclusive artist Bettina Bashyi, inhabitant of New York’s Chelsea Hotel.
Filmhouse, 5.30pm, Thu 17 Jun & 6.15pm, Sat 19 Jun.


A Mexican-set father-son bonding story studying the effects of nature and nurture.
Cineworld, 8.15pm, Thu 17 Jun & 1.15pm, Sun 20 Jun.

Two Eyes Staring

Clammy ghost story in the J-horror mould, about a girl befriending a mysterious youngster who lives in the basement.
Cameo, 10.45pm, Thu 17 Jun & 10.30pm, Tue 22 Jun.

World’s Greatest Dad

Taboo-busting black comedy from the twisted mind of Bobcat Goldthwaite, starring Robin Williams.
Cameo, 8.25pm, Thu 17 Jun & Cineworld, 6.15pm, Sat 26 Jun.

The People vs George Lucas

The fans bite back, their faith tested to breaking point by shoddy prequels and Jar Jar Binks.
Filmhouse, 7.45pm, Fri 18 Jun & 3.30pm, Sat 19 Jun.

Thunder Soul

The story of the Kashmere Stage Band, a high school band who gained worldwide recognition in the 1970s.
Cineworld, 8.20pm, Fri 18 Jun & 3.45pm, Sat 19 Jun.


New Zealand’s second-biggest-ever movie from the writers of Flight of the Conchords is a hilarious coming-of-ager.
Cameo, 6pm, Fri 18 Jun & 1.15pm, Sat 19 Jun.

The Hunter

A nightwatchman who goes on a journey of retribution for his missing wife and daughter.
Cameo, 8.15, Fri 18 Jun & 8pm, Sun 20 Jun.

Huge (World premiere)

Buddy movie set in the seedy world of stand-up comedy, starring Noel Clarke and Johnny Harris.
Cineworld, 6pm, Fri 18 Jun & Cameo, 3.45pm, Sun 20 Jun.

Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World (World premiere)

Edward Hogg stars as sweet-natured geek Ollie, whose sanity scurries away when tragedy strikes.
Cineworld, 6.30pm, Fri 18 Jun & 6pm, Sun 20 Jun.

Evil in the Time of Heroes

Tongue-in-cheek zombie apocalypse featuring Billy Zane as a time-travelling zombie hunter.
Cameo, 10.45pm, Fri 18 Jun & 11pm, Thu 24 Jun.

Toy Story 3

Possibly the most-anticipated blockbuster of the year, with the newly 3D gang planning to escape a day-care centre.
Cineworld, 6pm, 6.15pm & 6.30pm, Sat 19 Jun.


This tender and funny film watches 40-year-old Nenette the orangutan, while listening to the revealing remarks of her visitors.
Cameo, 6pm, Sat 19 & Sun 20 Jun.

And Everything Is Going Fine

Steven Soderbergh’s tribute to vibrant writer and performer Spalding Gray, who died in 2004.
Filmhouse, 6.30pm, Sat 19 & Sun 20 Jun.


Spellbound director Jeffrey Blitz examines the effects of a lottery win on two central characters: Vietnamese refugee Qang and sheltered outcast James.
Cineworld, 8.45pm, Sat 19 & Sun 20 Jun.


An Edinburgh-set bloody gothic horror that stunned audiences at SXSW, from debut director Colm McCarthy.
Cameo, 10.30pm, Sat 19 Jun & 10.45pm, Wed 23 Jun.

Soulboy (World premiere)

A great UK cast revisits the fashion, dance moves and music of 1974’s Northern Soul youth movement.
Cineworld, 7.45pm, Sat 19 Jun & Filmhouse, 4.15pm, Sat 26 Jun.

The Man Who Would Be King

One of Sir Sean’s best, with Michael Caine and John Huston also lending their talents to this Kipling swashbuckler.
Festival Theatre, 6pm, Sun 20 Jun.

Donkeys (World premiere)

The cream of Scottish acting talent take part in this tale of friendship, forgiveness and family secrets.
Filmhouse, 6.15pm, Su20 Jun & 1.15pm, Thu 24 Jun.

Mai Mai Miracle

From the protégé of Hayao Miyazaki comes a fantastical animation about childhood dreams, and how we outgrow them.
Cameo, 1.30pm, Sun 20 Jun & 3pm, Fri 25 Jun.

Cigarette Girl

A dark, retro-comic book aesthetic and a dangerously sexy lead come together in a dystopian future where cigarettes are outlawed.
Filmhouse, 9.15pm, Tue 22 Jun.

The Sentimental Engine Slayer

Daring debut from Mars Volta front man Omar Rodriguez Lopez, featuring identity crises, doppelgangers, and junkies.
Filmhouse, 8.45pm, Tue 22 Jun & 8.30pm, Thu 24 Jun.


From the Palme d’Or-winning director of Kinatay, the tale of a mother who must choose between vengeance and clemency.
Cameo, 5.50pm, Wed 23 Jun & 8.45pm, Fri 25 Jun.

The Good Heart

Paul Dano and Brian Cox pair up as mismatched inhabitants of the same hospital ward.
Cineworld, 8.30pm, Wed 23 Jun & 6pm, Fri 25 Jun.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

David Lynch produces and Werner Herzog directs this dark, weird true story.
Filmhouse, 9.50pm, Wed 23 Jun & 5.55pm, Fri 25 Jun.

Tickets for most films cost £8.50 (£7.50), unless otherwise stated in listings. Exceptions usually apply for discussion events, opening and closing galas, shorts programmes and matinees - see for details.

The Sentimental Engine Slayer

  • 2009
  • Mexico/USA
  • 1h 37min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Omar Rodríguez-López
  • Written by: Omar Rodríguez-López
  • Cast: Omar Rodríguez-López, Tatiana Velazquez, Nomar Rizo, Kim Stodel, Angel Marcelo Rodriguez Chevrez

Omar Rodriguez Lopez, leader of progressive rockers The Mars Volta, turns filmmaker. In a hazy, fractured world of model cars, doppelgangers, prostitutes and junkies, an insecure young man (Lopez) grapples with his evolving identity as events twist and unfold around him. As a director, Lopez employs the same creative…

And Everything Is Going Fine

  • 2010
  • USA
  • 1h 29min
  • Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Steven Soderbergh pays tribute to the legendary writer and performer Spalding Gray. From the first time he performed Swimming to Cambodia – the one-man account of his experience of making the 1984 film The Killing Fields – Spalding Gray made the art of the monologue his own. Drawing unstintingly on the most intimate…


  • 2010
  • Japan
  • 1h 25min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Kōji Wakamatsu
  • Written by: Hisako Kurosawa, Masao Adachi
  • Cast: Shinobu Terajima

A provocative, disturbing account of the physical and psychic ravages of war, from a legendary cult director. 1940, and Shigeko's husband returns from the Second Sino-Japanese war a decorated hero. She's not exactly thrilled, however: partly because his awful injuries make him entirely dependent upon her, and partly…

Cigarette Girl

  • 2009
  • USA
  • 1h 31min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Mike McCarthy
  • Written by: Mike McCarthy
  • Cast: Cori Dials, Ivy McLemore, Helen Bowman, Danny Vinson

Some years into the future, smokers are confined to the outskirts of cities, and the underworld profits handsomely from the illicit trade in cigarettes. After years of selling on the streets, Cigarette Girl is ready to quit both her own habit and her place in the supply chain. But getting out proves far from easy? With a…

The Edge of Dreaming

  • 3 stars
  • 2010
  • UK
  • 1h 13min
  • Directed by: Amy Hardie

Amy Hardie dreamed of a death, and it happened. When another dream then prophesied her own imminent demise, she was understandably concerned: did her subconscious know something she didn't? A poetic, personal project, some nine years in the making, this film explores humanity's relationship with dreams, death and destiny…

Evil In The Time Of Heroes (To Kako Stin Epochi Ton Iroon)

  • 2009
  • Greece
  • 1h 28min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Yorgos Noussias

An ancient evil re-emerges after centuries and bloodthirsty zombies run amok in Athens. As a disparate group of people fight for survival in a city of the living dead, seemingly impossible odds mount up against them. Featuring a memorable cameo from Billy Zane as a time-travelling, zombiehunting monk, this grisly…

Family Tree (L'Arbre Et La Foret)

  • 2010
  • France
  • 1h 35min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
  • Cast: Guy Marchand, Françoise Fabian, Sabrina Seyvecou

Secrets are stirred by a family funeral in this classy, absorbing drama. When wealthy patriarch Frederick refuses to attend the funeral of his firstborn son, other family members can't stomach his decision. What could possibly drive a loving father to absent himself from such an occasion? As his gesture sends…

Girl With Black Balloons

  • 2010
  • USA
  • 1h 1min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Corinne van der Borch

The Chelsea Hotel is a New York City icon – ever wondered who lives in it? Girl with Black Balloons is no ordinary character study but a multi-faceted portrait of Bettina Bashyi – a reclusive, artist living within the confines of Manhattan's legendary lodgings. Reflexive and tender, the film develops a dialogue between…


  • 3 stars
  • 2010
  • UK
  • 1h 20min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Ben Miller
  • Cast: Noel Clarke, Johnny Harris, Oliver Chris

Mildly diverting comedy-drama about a feuding comedy double act, directed and co-written by comedian and panel show regular Miller.


  • 2009
  • USA
  • 1h 36min
  • Directed by: Jeffrey Blitz

The master of the ensemble documentary returns with an examination of that elusive dream: winning the lottery. Qang is a Vietnamese refugee, whose American dream materialises in the form of $22 million while working the floors of a meatpacking factory; James is a sheltered outcast living with his team of cats in a…

Mai Mai Miracle (Maimai Shinko to sennen no mahô)

  • 2009
  • Japan
  • 1h 33min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Sunao Katabuchi
  • Cast: Mayuko Fukuda, Nako Mizusawa, Ei Morisako

Inspired by her grandfather's stories, a young girl embarks on wild flights of fancy about the history of the little town she lives in. Created by a former assistant director to Hayao Miyazaki.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • USA/Germany
  • 1h 31min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Werner Herzog
  • Written by: Werner Herzog, Herbert Golder
  • Cast: Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevigny, Udo Kier

David Lynch and Werner Herzog band together to tell the tale of an actor who commits the crime he is to perform in a Greek tragedy. Pairing two of the best cinematic talents promises so much, but delivers both the best and worst aspects of their collective oeuvres.

The Good Heart

  • 2009
  • Iceland/Denmark/France
  • 1h 35min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Dagur Kári
  • Written by: Dagur Kári
  • Cast: Brian Cox, Paul Dano, Isild Le Besco

Paul Dano and Brian Cox reunite for this absorbing, funny story of an improbable friendship. First paired in the memorable L.I.E. (EIFF 2001), Dano and Cox return here as mismatched inhabitants of the same hospital ward – the former a naïve, giving homeless man, the latter a world-weary and foulmouthed bartender. A…


  • 2009
  • France
  • 1h 8min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Nicolas Philibert
  • Cast: Nénette

Born in the jungles of Borneo forty years ago, Nénette the orangutan is now the most senior inhabitant of the world's oldest zoo ? and the star of this awe-inspiring, tender and funny film, from the director who charmed the world with 2002's Etre et Avoir. What we see is Nénette, going about her daily business; what we…

Ollie Kepler's Expanding Purple World

  • 2010
  • UK
  • 1h 30min
  • Directed by: Viv Fongenie
  • Cast: Edward Hogg, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Knott

Donnie Darko meets Billy Liar, in this ambitious and absorbing British drama. The brilliant Edward Hogg (White Lightnin'; Bunny and the Bull) provides the unforgettable performance at the heart of this deeply-felt and darkly funny study of one man's walk on the weird side. Ollie is a sweet-natured science geek, happily…

Pelican Blood

  • 2009
  • UK
  • 1h 39min
  • Directed by: Karl Golden
  • Cast: Arthur Darvill, Oona Chaplin, Harry Treadaway, Emma Booth

An atmospheric, edgy paean to that one mad love affair we all live to regret… Nikko (Harry Treadaway) is a charismatic youth with good looks, good mates and a feisty dedication to the highly competitive art of high-end birdwatching. He's also deeply troubled, and carrying a heavy load of guilt from a recent…

The Red Machine

  • 2009
  • USA
  • 1h 24min
  • Directed by: Stephanie Argy, Alec Boehm
  • Cast: Lee Perkins, Donal Thoms-Cappello, Meg Brogan

Japanese spies. Safe-cracking felons. Dapper 1930s slacks. It's like Roger Corman never went away. Eddie Doyle is a depression-era cat burglar, 'employed' by an unsmiling Lieutenant Coburn in a covert war between Japanese spies and the US Government. But has Eddie cracked his last safe? Minimalism is the key to this…

Thunder Soul

  • 2010
  • USA
  • 1h 24min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Mark Landsman

One of the funkiest bands of the Seventies explodes out of the schoolyard. Straight out of a high school in Texas, the electrifying Kashmere Stage Band was the brainchild of gifted music teacher Conrad Johnson. Johnson's dynamic arrangements transformed the idea of the high school band, and brought his students…

World's Greatest Dad

  • 4 stars
  • 2009
  • USA
  • 1h 38min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Written by: Bobcat Goldthwait
  • Cast: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Evan Martin, Lorraine Nicholson, Henry Simmons, Geoff Pierson

Dark, daring and thought provoking comedy about a lonely high school poetry teacher who gets a chance of living his dreams if he can live with a certain amount of guilt. Williams turns in a nuanced performance while Bobcat Sleeping Dogs Goldthwait writes and directs with the usual misanthropy and sarcasm. Definitely worth…

Two Eyes Staring (Zwart Water)

  • 2010
  • Netherlands
  • 1h 52min
  • tbc
  • Directed by: Elbert van Strien
  • Cast: Barry Atsma, Hadewych Minis, Isabelle Stokkel

Holland's scariest movie since The Vanishing. The dark wave of 'J-horror' that started with The Ring and The Grudge quickly changed the face of Stateside chillers, and now European directors are discovering the power of clammy, damp nastiness. A grippingly confident psychological thriller about a young family who move…

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