Reel Science events programme among highlights of Edinburgh Film Festival
Tomboy, My Brothers and Project Nim among film highlights
This article is from 2011.
After my fearless leader’s less-than-generous appraisal of this aged Festival’s opening night, I’m hoping to bring a little bit of love for EIFF back to these web pages. Admittedly, the pared-down nature of this year’s Festival is most noticeable in the lack of big exciting new films in the programme, but while I’ve seen a few stinkers over the last couple of days of intense film-watching, I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by a few real gems, namely Celine Siamma’s Tomboy, My Brothers, the debut from Somers Town writer Paul Fraser, and James Marsh’s new documentary Project Nim – all highly worthy of your time. Also, there’s been some very negative reviews popping up for David Mackenzie’s Perfect Sense ahead of it’s screening tomorrow night, but although I’m officially embargoed from telling you my opinion yet, I will just say that I certainly don’t agree with those reviews. But I’ll hold off on any more verdicts for now, as here at The List we’re going to be dishing out our own EIFF awards this year – so you’ll have to wait and see.
On another note (you’ll thank me for that pun later) the other side of the Festival is the events programme, and it forms a considerably larger chunk of this year’s Fest than in previous years. Last night I went to check it out, squeezing into Filmhouse’s Screen 2 for the first event in the heralded Reel Science strand, Improvising Live Music For Film. Somehow the enterprising musos from Glasgow Improvisors Orchestra had managed to cram themselves, a piano, double-bass, sax and electric guitar into the space between the almost-full-up seating area and the screen. It was close community for sure, but thanks to the energetic and infectiously enthusiastic hosting from Music Psychology Professor Raymond MacDonald, the cramped conditions started to add to the feeling that we were all a little band together, and that actually we were in for something quite special. While some of the Prof’s musings about science, music and the nature of neural understanding made my brain hurt, things really took off once the meat of the event got underway. The band unleashed all kinds of rampant freestyling to the already quite bizarre short films of animator Norman McLaren, and the results were truly hypnotic.
The great thing about this event was that the contribution and enthusiasm of all the participants felt thoroughly genuine; there was no sense of pretension, and through the band’s on-the-spot outworking of the concepts that MacDonald discussed, it was easy to find an access point, even if you’d never previously thought to wonder about the relationship between music and pictures. In a year when the Festival’s been dogged by politics, statements and counter-statements, it was refreshing to experience something so purely in love with film and its potential. If this is the way the events strand of the festival continues, then I’m with it all the way.