AAAAHHHHHHHH! Where do I even start?!
I love film festival time in Edinburgh, maybe even more than all the other Edinburgh festivals, of which there are many. I think it’s because there’s still a feeling of adventure about it, of finding hidden gems, unearthing the next big thing or discovering projects that people, famous and not so famous, are doing, just for the love of the subject or the process rather than anything else. In some ways it’s also sublimely frustrating when you do find something utterly brilliant that never sees the light of day again. I tell you if a film from last year’s Festival, called The Man Who Was Thursday EVER gets a public release, you will never hear the end of it from me – this is top five cult film material, honestly. Anyway, I digress. I always get that stomach knot of excitement as I look through the programme, 151 features this year plus additional very special events, and I try to decide how to see even a tenth of what is on offer.
Events this year are quite easy, as I have booked my ticket already for the must-sees. For me these are the talk with Richard E Grant, which obviously necessitates a re-viewing of Withnail & I, the talk with film composer David Arnold, which you’ll have to follow our twin site at AlbieMedia to read about, and a Q & A with the legendary Oliver Stone as he presents a special screening of Wall Street. I’m also incredibly excited about the fact that I’ve been invited to the Opening Gala black tie/red carpet event, so you’ll hear all about God’s Own Country and the fun of the after-party.
Film-wise it’s a lot more difficult for me to narrow down, especially because there are so many fascinating sounding documentaries on the list. One that I have to see, purely because of the name, is Donkeyote. I mean, with a pun like that, you just have to don’t you? Others that take my fancy include The Groove is Not Trivial, London Symphony, Becoming Cary Grant and Leaning into the Wind. If I can also fit in Doc Salon I definitely will.
For feature films, there are a lot of different strands on offer. Gala-wise, as well as the Opening Gala, I’d love to see the film for the People’s Gala which is The Final Portrait about the artist Giacometti. Other British film offerings that I’m desperate to see include the late lamented Sir John Hurt in That Good Night, Sheila Hancock in Edie and Orlando Bloom in Romans. I’m also going to do my best to see the American film Wakefield, starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner. As far as “rest of the world” films go, very high on my list is Okja, coming to Netflix soon but already being heralded as a brilliant film, and the stunning looking Japanese animation In This Corner of the World. Foreign films get even more of a look in as I fancy seeing the French film R.A.I.D. Special Unit, Tom of Finland and the Russian sci-fi Attraction. As far as the Night Moves horror strand is concerned, I also have my eye on a couple of Hong Kong comedy horrors with Vampire Cleanup Department and The Mole Song sequel as well as Russia's answer to the Avengers with Guardians.
Add in the fact that, since it’s me, I’m going to watch as many short films as I can, see a few of the film related exhibitions dotted around town and take in some of the amazing classic films in the Future is History strand, like Videodrome and The Terminator, and we’re set for a fun couple of weeks. Happy 70th Anniversary dear EIFF. Lang may yer celluloid lum reek.
Images - EIFF