Evil in the Time of Heroes and The Extra Man highlights of EIFF screening frenzy
Edinburgh International Film Festival Blog
This article is from 2010.
Saturday 19 June
I was feeling pretty ashamed of my films-seen-to-days-attended ratio on Friday morning (as it stood at a paltry 1:1), so I went a bit crazy on the screening front. At the crack of dawn I attended ‘Mai Mai Miracle’ at the Cameo, a Japanese anime with themes of childhood imagination and the stresses of growing up, directed by Hayao Miyazaki protégé Sunao Katabuchi. Then, I marched over to Cineworld, where ‘Jackboots on Whitehall’ (the UK’s WWII answer to ‘Team America’) was mercifully running a few minutes late, allowing me ample time to settle in. A quick break for lunch, then back to Cineworld to see Paul Dano and Kevin Kline in Manhattan-set comedy of manners ‘The Extra Man’ (worth watching for sterling supporting performance by John C. Reilly), followed by a late showing in the evening of Greek time-travelling zombie-apocalypser ‘Evil in the Time of Heroes’ – more on that later.
Saturday was slightly less hectic – another early rise to be among one of the first UK audiences to see ‘Toy Story 3’, which, just for the record, is sure to be yet another critical and commercial hit for Pixar and the House of Mouse. I then raced from Cineworld to the cozy confines of The Blue Blazer pub, where I shared a beer and a long chat with Josh Hyde and PJ Fishwick, respectively director and producer of Peruvian/American culture-clash movie ‘Postales’. These guys are fast becoming my EIFF buddies – they helped pour me onto a night bus home after the extremely debauched affair that was the Opening Gala after-party, and I’ve kept bumping into them ever since. Rest assured, this doesn’t colour my judgement of the film – I‘ve yet to see it. But the pair’s faith and enthusiasm in their project, which was funded, Josh says, by ‘exploiting student loans, calling in favours and remortgaging my mom’s house’, is plain to see: it’s been a labour of love spanning seven years, incorporating both trained and untrained cast and crew members from the US and Peru, and the guys are just happy to have it completed and showing at the Festival.
Swiftly finishing off my beer, I jogged across the road to meet Yorgos Noussias, director of the aforementioned ‘Evil in the Time of Heroes’. It’s a splattery, hilarious affair that doesn’t take itself too seriously (one memorable laugh involved four survivors being surrounded by zombies in a football stadium, which cut to a title card reading ’10 minutes later...’, followed by the four blood-soaked survivors saying, ‘Well, that worked out well,’ with no further explanation). Introduced as ‘one of two zombie movies ever to come out of Greece – both directed by the same man’, the film picks up where the little-seen previous instalment (simply called, ‘Evil’) left off. Noussias, who personifies the word ‘unruffled’, voiced his only concern over this point: ‘Will people understand the characters’ motivations if they have not seen the first movie?’ Worry not, Yorgos – between the head-pulping action and rivers of blood, I think they’ll get the idea.
After that, I managed to cram in another film – Kiwi comedy-drama ‘Boy’, by ‘Flight of the Conchords’ director Taika Waititi – before heading along to the opening party for ‘Soul Boy’, a Martin Compston-starring Northern Soul nostalgia trip (not to be confused with the almost-identically titled ‘Soulboy’, a coming of age movie set in Nairobi). Unfortunately, it was running behind schedule, and the DJ had barely even started spinning the great tunes before I was whisked off to attend the premiere of Muirhouse-set supernatural slasher ‘Outcast’, starring James Nesbitt. Mr Nesbitt, along with around 20 of his fellow cast and crew (this is only a very slight exaggeration) stood up on stage to introduce the film, and a few of them stuck around to field some answers for a Q+A session.
Tragically, these Qs and As were unheard by me – my final stop of the night was Ghillie Dhu, where the Film Festival Ceilidh was taking place. I arrived just in time to nearly trip over Sir Patrick Stewart (where does he get the energy to be everywhere at once?), who was leaving after boasting of having had at least two dances with Britt Eckland. Inside, I met up with (who else?) Josh and PJ of ‘Postales’ fame, and we danced the night away at the post-ceilidh disco. By the by, never challenge PJ to a dance-off – the man can ‘thread the needle’ like nobody’s business, while my spasmodic body-pops and shambolic moonwalk left much to be desired.