Edinburgh International Film Festival 2012
The 66th Edinburgh film festival began on Thursday with a wipe-the-floor-with-’em red-carpet opening gala for EXORCIST director William Friedkin’s new film KILLER JOE and its assembled firmament of stars.
… a mixture of A through D list talent reminiscent of a queasy acid trip.
Last year’s festival is still referred to by some in terms usually reserved for a natural disaster, national scandal or war-time atrocity. One of EIFF’s many ‘crimes’ last year, apparently, was not to have enough celebrity events to pull in audiences; although the truth is, of course, slightly more complicated. In an attempt to remedy this, the opening night featured a mixture of A through D list talent reminiscent of a queasy acid trip. The new pagan deities to grace the red carpet for this Midsummer tantaliser were: Jim Broadbent (Lugus), Elliott Gould (Taranis), Gina Gershon (Anu), Edith Bowman (Epona), Craig Hill (Comedian), Brian Cox (Toutatis), Dylan Moran (Sucellus) and Ian Rankin (Merlin).
The 2012 programme is opaque at best. In recent years Edinburgh International Film Festival has seen itself eclipsed by its ugly step-sister city to the west. Glasgow has had a consistently more open and interesting programme, expanding the festival beyond traditional venues without suffering the tantrums of the media and those who miss their red-carpet premieres and tick-box cinematic cultural happenings. The Athens of the North must stop kidding itself that it is also the Cannes of the North.
It ranks, however, as an outstanding showcase for the industry. The special events provide superb opportunities for those working in film to network. They and the press are catered for – in terms of screenings and information – wonderfully well. As for the programme, no-one can accuse the festival of not knowing its audience, whatever consequences that may have. There is plenty to please those who know what they like and like what they know. Strands this year include a focus on the Philippine New Wave, the cinema of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay and the excellent Films on Film, which includes Mark Cousins’ new film and the superb SODANKYLA FOREVER (if ever there was a film festival to aspire to, SODANKYLA would be it). The Michael Powell award for best British film has been resurrected for whatever slim pickings there are to be had in that category . There are also retrospectives on Gregory La Cava and Shinji Somai.
Take One will be covering highlights of the festival programme including THE AMBASSADOR, mischievous Danish ‘performance journalist’ Mads Bruegger’s next project after the excellent, but morally suspect THE RED CHAPEL; Sergei Loban’s epic musical-comedy CHAPITEAU SHOW; Berlinale critics’ hit TABU and the newly restored cyberpunk classic TETSUO II: BODY HAMMER.