Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011 opens with an Oirish whimper (not a bang)

This article is from 2011

Edinburgh International Film Festival opens with an Oirish whimper (not a bang)

65th festival gets underway despite disappointing opening film The Guard

Edinburgh International Film Festival blog

Thu 16 Jun

So the 65th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival is now open. It opened last night, a balmy, spitty Wednesday evening, with a screening of John Michael McDonagh’s decidedly patchy Irish comedy policier The Guard starring Brendan Gleeson.

With no red carpet and no celebrities in attendance the stage was set for a new festival Puritanism. Much has been made of the festival’s staggered pale-faced emergence from the rubble of the recession and there’s no need to go into it here, but shall we just say things were ‘muted’.

Friends and associates of the festival came together to three-quarter fill the Festival Theatre’s impressive auditoriums and after the usual stretched-out wait Gavin Miller, the new CEO of The Centre of Moving Image (the umbrella group that straddles the festival and Edinburgh’s Filmhouse) took to the stage. Miller, the spitting image of actor Tom Hollander, took to the stage to blurt out some politician-style homilies about the age of the festival and that the festival is ‘your festival, and it is our festival.’ Then the new artistic director James Mullighan (a man who likes to refer to himself in the third person) came on with a long list of missives, thanks and declarative statements about the reborn EIFF.

Finally the director of the opening gala film John Michael McDonagh, brother of In Bruges writer/director Martin McDonagh stepped forward to introduce the film. Looking every bit the bouncer in a white blazer, McDonagh went on to dismiss his previous best known film credit as screenwriter on 2003 biopic Ned Kelly as ‘bourgeois nonsense’ and promised The Guard is the real deal.

Unfortunately the film that followed was a badly blended crime comedy (not even in the same league as Guy Ritchie) with some decent dialogue and one stand out performance from Brendan Gleeson. The hyperactive plot, editing and filming slightly detracted from the film’s minimal appeal but cast and crew were clearly in the house so the whoops still came thick and fast from the upper circle - even when the projection disappeared and the dialogue continued towards the end of the screening.

Anyway, it’s a start.

EIFF 2011 ends on Sun 26 Jun.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The oldest continually running film festival in the world, the EIFF draws on its prestige to consistently present abundant programmes of new features, documentaries, retrospectives, shorts, panel discussions and educational workshops, with a few high profile premieres thrown in for good measure.