Best of the Edinburgh International Film Festival
This article is from 2008
Cinema fever begins with our film critics' picks of the programme
When the 62nd Edinburgh Film Festival begins on 18th June it will be more than the just the programme of films and number of celebrity appearances that is under scrutiny. This year is also the first for the festival in its new home in the cultural calendar, having been this year liberated from the chaos that is Edinburgh in August and set free into the relative calm of June.
With the festival no longer shackled to absurdity of the festival season epicentre, there are a few pleasant surprises as a result. Those visiting from outside the capital can now have available and affordable accommodation, and there are a couple of extra venues freed up to screen films and hold events in. There’s also less distraction from the rest of the Fringe, International, Book and music festival events meaning that as a audience member you can concentrate on giving the film festival the necessary time, and, er, the budget, it might warrant.
There’s also more room for EIFF coverage in The List too, both in the magazine and online, and our team of critics will be living and breathing the EIFF in order to provide up to the minute coverage of everything ranging from the gala premieres, Q&As with to the off-piste hidden gems and the downright obscure that you’ll need to catch before they disappear completely.
Key to our coverage this year is a film digest via email which will offer our critics’ recommendations on the upcoming screenings worth buying tickets for, tips on the films likely to sell out and news and rumour from the heart of the festival. You can subscribe to it here: www.list.co.uk/you/email
Highlights of the 2008 programme include strands featuring the work of directors Werner Herzog and Errol Morris and an appearance by special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen.
The popular pre-festival outdoor cinema event Film Festival Under the Stars returns to the Mound on 13th and 14th June where the films showing will be Back to the Future, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Local Hero and Strictly Ballroom.
With over 300 features, documentaries and shorts screening over the course of the 10 days, there’s guaranteed to something of interest lurking within the programme for everybody, so whether you’re attending the festival in person or reading our comprehensive critical coverage online, The List is going to be immersing itself in the Film Festival 100%.
See you in the popcorn queue.
The Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 18-29 June 2008.
For The List’s full EIFF preview and up to the minute content see: www.list.co.uk/articles/edinburgh-international-film-festival
Subscribe to the RSS feed: www.list.co.uk/articles/edinburgh-international-film-festival/articles.xml
For full programme: see www.edfilmfest.org.uk
THE BEST OF THE EIFF
By Paul Dale
Shirley Clarke Retrospective
Long overdue retrospective of selected work of junkie US underground filmmaker Clarke, often known as the female Cassavetes.
From Sun 22-Sat 28 Jun, Filmhouse, times vary, £6.50 (£5.20) per screening.
Comedy developed by MySpace users about historical re-enactments and marital strife. Stars Eddie Marsan, Ewen Bremner and Jessica Hynes (formerly Stephenson). Could be great, could be awful. Closing film of the Festival.
Cineworld, Sat 28 Jun, 9.30pm & 9.45pm, £11 (£8.80).
Visually impressive immigration odyssey about a journey from North Africa to Spain with music by Youssou N’Dour.
Filmhouse, Thu 26 Jun, 7.45pm & Sat 28 Jun, 3.30pm £8 (£6.40).
Black Box Shorts
The best new experimental film shorts in the world at the moment.
Filmhouse, Sat 21 Jun, 2.45pm & Sun 22 Jun, 3.45pm, £6.50 (£5.20).
Zany America comedy horror about a carnivorous car.
Filmhouse, Thu 19 Jun, 10.30pm, £8 (£6.40).
Documentary telling the real story behind Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewitt’s cartoon band.
Cineworld, Fri 20 Jun, 9.30pm & Mon 23 Jun, 5.15pm, £8 (£6.40).
Bigga than Ben: A Russians’ Guide to Ripping Off London
Morally and ethically ambiguous but hilarious comedy portrait of two Russian draft dodging wide boys at large in England’s capital.
Filmhouse, Fri 27 Jun, 9.30pm.
Captain Abu Raed
Delusional airport cleaner and widower Abu (Nadim Sawalha) tells the local street kids he’s a pilot. Tall tales and class divide are dissected in this warm and moving portrait of life in modern day Jordan.
Filmhouse, Sun 22 Jun, 6.20pm & Fri 27 Jun, 6pm, £8 (£6.40).
Death Defying Acts
Edinburgh, 1926, Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) falls in love with sexy psychic Mary (Catherine Zeta- Jones). Confidence trickster romantic thriller written by Tony Brothers of the Head Grisoni and directed by Australian Gillian My Brilliant Career Armstrong.
Cineworld, Tue 24 Jun, 8pm & Thu 26 Jun, 5pm, £8 (£6.40).
Eat, For This Is My Body
Bewitching visual poem set in and about the decline and fall of the Haitian colony. Esoteric but unforgettable fare.
Filmhouse, Fri 20 Jun, 7.15pm & sat 21 Jun, 5pm, £8 (£6.20).
A Film With Me In It
Murder and mayhem strike in this dark British comedy thriller starring Dylan Moran, Keith Allen and Mark Doherty.
Cineworld, Thu 26 Jun, 5.45pm & Fri 27 Jun, 6pm, £8 (£6.20).
Mythical heroes weave out of the mind of an injured stuntman in 1920s LA in this fantasy epic from India/US filmmaker Tarsem The Cell Singh.
Cineworld, Thu 26 Jun, 9.30pm & Sat 28 Jun, 4.45pm, £8 (£6.20).
Gloss: The Director’s Cut
Russian fashion industry satire from veteran filmmaker Andrei Konchalovsky (Maria’s Lovers, Runaway Train).
Cineworld, Mon 23 Jun, 8.30pm & Thu 26 Jun, £8 (£6.20).
In the City of Sylvia
Enigmatic, minimalist Spanish/French memory and romance drama that has drawn comparisons to Last Year in Marienbad.
Cineworld, Sat 21 Jun, 7.45pm & Sun 22 Jun, 6pm, £8 (£6.20).
Jesus Christ Saviour
Fascinating documentary about the great German actor Klaus Kinski’s work as a monologist particularly his early 1970s one-man show in which he reinterpreted the Gospels with Jesus as a ranting psychopath. Scary and stunning this is one of the documentary highlights of the festival.
Filmhouse, Wed 25 Jun, 10pm & Thu 26 Jun, 10.15pm, £8 (£6.20).
Man on Wire
James Wisconson Death Trip Marsh returns to the documentary form to tell the remarkable story of high wire walk artist Philippe Petit and his 1974 Twin Towers wobble.
Cineworld, Tue 26 Jun, 8.30pm & Fri 27 Jun, 9.30pm, £8 (£6.20).
The New Ten Commandments
Eleven artists interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in short film form to mark the document’s 60th anniversary.
Filmhouse, Sat 28 Jun, 1.45pm, £6.50 (£5.20).
Of Time and the City
Legendary film poet and filmmaker Terence Distant Voices, Still Lives Davies’ documentary paean to his hometown of Liverpool. Will be followed by an extended Q&A with Davies and producer Don Boyd.
Cineworld, Thu 19 Jun, 5.30pm, £6.50 (£5.20).
Ray Harryhausen: In Person
Claymation and special effects god in conversation. Unmissable.
Cineworld, Wed 25 Jun, 5.30pm, £15 (£12).
Roger Deakins & Seamus McGarvey: In Conversation
Legendary cinematographers have a chinwag in front of an audience.
Cineworld, Sun 22 Jun, £15 (£12).
Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest (Parts 1-5)
Chinese writer/director Yang Fudong’s bonkers, deeply poetic five-part meditation on modern China made between 2003 and 2007 needs to be seen to be believed. By turns ravishing, challenging and perplexing, this is the kind of five-hour experience that only a film festival can provide.
Filmhouse, Tue 24-Sat 28, times vary, £25 (all five parts), £8 (£6.40) per screening.
Shane Meadows takes on London, runaways and Polish settlers in his starkest yet most humane work to date.
Cineworld, Fri 20 Jun, 5.30pm & sat 21 Jun, 2.30pm, £8 (£6.20).
Super 8 Workshop
Hands on workshop with this beloved almost extinct film medium followed by DJ set and screenings. Places limited. Non EIFF delegates can book a place by contacting the organiser Steve Cook in advance on firstname.lastname@example.org
EIFF Delegate Centre, 10am-5pm, £40.
Animated Pixar feature about the last robot on the planet. Pixar animator Angus Maclane will be on hand to give away some of his trade secrets after the screening.
Cineworld, Sat 28 Jun, 2.15pm, £8 (£6.40).
Thomas The Station Agent McCarthy’s new film is another touching parable of human connection, foibles and liberal insight. Recommended.
Cineworld, Sat 21 Jun, 7.15pm & Sun 22 Jun, 2.30pm, £8 (£6.40).
Bigga Than Ben: A Russian's Guide to Ripping Off London
- 1h 25min
- Directed by: S A Halewood
- Cast: Ben Barnes, Andrei Chadov, Ovidiu Matesan
Allegedly based on the diary of a young Moscovite who came to London in the late 1990s, 'Bigga Than Ben' is, for the majority of its running time, a distracting black comedy. Cobakka (Barnes) and Spiker (Chadov) are a couple of Russian wide boys who, on arrival in Britain, quickly learn the beauty of cashback, shoplifting…
- 1h 35min
- Directed by: Gerardo Olivares
- Cast: Adoum Moussa, Illiassou Mahamadou Alzouma, Aminata
Three Africans undertake the arduous journey from Niger to Spain, crossing deserts, trying to get through corrupt border controls and having their humanity tested all the way. The utter predictabilliy of '14 Kilometres' (which refers to the incredibly short distance between North Africa and Spain) ultimately drains it of…
Eat, For This Is My Body
- Haiti / France
- 1h 45min
- Directed by: Michelange Quay
- Cast: Catherine Samie, Sylvie Testud, Hans Dacosta Saint-Val
Set in a stunning but slightly decrepit Haitian mansion, the two white women who run this Caucasian dominance could be two sides of the same coin: the ageing matriarch who lies in bed and the young woman wandering naked around the corridors. Clearly influenced by the voodoo elements that the film accesses early on, 'Eat…
- 1h 43min
- Directed by: Tom McCarthy
- Cast: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira
Widower Walter Vale (Jenkins) is a grouch. When work sends him to Manhattan, a series of misunderstandings lead him to form a friendship with Syrian drummer Tarek (Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend Zainab (Gurira). Underwritten and beautifully performed, The Visitor is a sentimental drama that manages to access a…