Edinburgh International Film Festival

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Little Red Hoodie

Little Red Hoodie

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is a firm highlight in the capital’s calendar. Here Anna Docherty gives you the low-down on what to expect

After 61 years it was finally time to let go of Mummy’s hand and, last year, for the first time since its birth in 1947, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, instead of taking place among the August celebrations, went it alone in June. It proved to be a great success and will be repeated this year.

Artistic Director Hannah McGill says that ‘Last year went above and beyond and we had so many sold out films.’ As a film festival with such a stronghold in the industry, giving it its own spotlight seems to have really worked. McGill adds: ‘I think we’ve proven that having the festival in June gets it more attention and gives it more of a definition.’

Indeed, it now seems to stand bolder and taller than ever before and for 2009 they are placing extra focus on stimulating cinematic debate. As well as talks from actors and filmmakers there will also be discussions based around the ‘Digital Britain’ report - which will, among other things, look into the amount of time we spend watching moving images (i.e. how googly-eyed we have all become).

These interesting new additions to the festival schedule help keep it fresh and ensure it continues to grow in a positive direction: ‘It feels very generative, which is what I’ve always said I wanted it to be,’ says McGill.

This year there will also be a special celebration of 3D films, which is likely to excite those who enjoy wearing funny glasses and feeling like the big screen is about to attack their face.

You see, what the EIFF does is find a delicately strung balance between popcorn entertainment and films which invite you to think. Indeed, the two are often seamlessly interwoven and that’s the sign of a true gem. 

The Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 17-28 June. For more information and a full programme of events, visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk

The Shortie: Little Red Hoodie
This short film will run as part of the Cinema Extreme screenings and is a bold and stylistic vision of the effects of a sexually orientated media. Our pre-teen protagonists wear home-made push-up bras and oodles of poorly applied make-up. It’s a contemporary re-telling of the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ fairytale, in that it is about a young girl going to visit her gran. But this retelling is hyper-real and relies on visuals more than dialogue. Norwegian director Joern Utkilen is known for his distinctive character portrayals and dry Nordic humour, so expect this shortie to make its mark on you. 

The Sure-fire Hit: Away We Go
The opening night film will be the newest offering from Oscar-winner director Sam Mendes, with Mendes himself expected to attend. Away We Go is a quirky road movie which follows an expectant young couple as they travel across America in search of the perfect place to raise their family. Their adventure sees them collide with old friends and relatives - some of whom are slightly wacky, but each play a part in helping the couple discover the meaning of ‘home’. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph play the leads, with Jeff Daniels and Maggie Gyllenhaal providing the more familiar faces. 

Chéri

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • UK/Germany
  • 92 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Stephen Frears
  • Written by: Christopher Hampton
  • Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend, Felicity Jones, Kathy Bates

Adapted from Colette's controversial 1920s novels 'Cheri' and 'The Last of Cheri', which centres on a six-year love affair between a young man (Friend) and an aging courtesan (Pfeiffer) and its aftermath, Stephen Frears' film is a complex and visually exquisite meditation on ageing and loss; themes that are effected on…

Kimono, Tea and Films

  • E

Opportunity for visitors to put on a kimono and to experience the flavour of Japanese maccha green tea. In addition, two Japanese cultural documentary films will be screened non-stop: 'Woodcraft as Art - Ohno Showasi' (1990) and 'Kurumegasuri - The Traditional Patterned Cloth'. Ohno Shawasi (1912 - 1996).

Paper Soldier

  • 2008
  • Russian Federation
  • 120 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Alexey German Jnr
  • Cast: Merab Ninidze, Chulpan Khamatova, Anastasya Sheveleva

Daniel (Ninidze) is an idealistic medic assigned to care for the health of the first Soviet cosmonaut troop. His concerns over the safety and morality of the project mesh with doubts about his own personal choices, as he enters a troubled extra-marital affair with the lovely Vera (Sheveleva). Eloquent, compelling and…

Adam

  • 3 stars
  • 2009
  • US
  • 100 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Max Mayer
  • Written by: Max Mayer
  • Cast: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Frankie Faison, Mark Linn-Baker, Amy Irving, Peter Gallagher

Quirky romantic drama about the relationship between a neurologically different young man and a beautiful young cosmopolitan. Great performances by leads Byrne and Dancy are undone by fairly uninspired execution by director Mayer.

Boris Ryzhy

  • 2008
  • Netherlands
  • 60 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Aliona Van der Horst

A visionary lament for the Russian poet Boris Ryzhy, who committed suicide at the age of 26. Van der Horst weaves an absorbing tribute through powerfully empathetic work with Ryzhy's surviving family and beautifully observed scenes from his snow-clad industrial home town.

Darren Aronofsky: In Person

  • 90 min
  • E

Darren Aronofsky seems to have achieved it all with lightning speed: the golden-boy breakthrough, 'Pi' (EIFF 1998); the visceral, disturbing cult classic, 'Requiem for a Dream' (2000); the difficult auteur statement, 'The Fountain' (2006); and the mature, eloquent, out-and-out hit, 'The Wrestler' (2008). Next he will take…

Five Day Features

  • 90 min
  • E

Having collaborated on a string of hits including 'This is England' and 'Dead Man's Shoes' (EIFF 2004), director Shane Meadows and producer Mark Herbert have gone back to basics for their lo-fi comedy 'Le Donk'. Their conclusion? Whatever your budget, five days is optimum for a film shoot. Hear these industry insiders…

Jerichow

  • 2008
  • Germany
  • 93 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Christian Petzold
  • Cast: Benno Fürmann, Nina Hoss, Hilmi Sözer

Plotted as a loose adaptation of James M Cain's classic novel 'The Postman Always Rings Twice', this tense and elegant work reunites the director and star of 'Yella' (EIFF 2007) to hypnotic effect. Hoss stars as Laura, a glamorous young married woman who works for her husband's catering business. When handsome ex-army…

Joe Dante: In Person

  • 90 min
  • E

No one mutates Hollywood's glo-bright dream gleam quite like Joe Dante. We're talking killer fish, suburban paranoia and Santa-strangling beasties! Now, see the director of 'The Howling' chitty-chat at EIFF! See the arch-Gremlin infester of Spielberg's toy house! See the man who made Looney Toons crash 'n' dash through…

Kicks

  • 2008
  • UK
  • 81 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Lindy Heymann
  • Cast: Kerrie Hayes, Nichola Burley, Jamie Doyle

Lindy Heymann's gripping and thought-provoking feature stars Burley (EIFF/Skillset Trailblazer 2008) and newcomer Hayes as Liverpudlian teenagers devoted to their favourite football player, Lee (Doyle). When Lee's move to Spain is announced, the girls resolve to change his mind by any means necessary. A tense thriller…

Sharmila Tagore: In Person

  • 90 min
  • E

She's not only a legendary actress and a muse of Satyajit Ray - her soignée glamour helped to create modern Bollywood. She's also the Chair of India's Board of Film Certification, a UN ambassador and a princess. The great Sharmila Tagore is coming from India especially for the EIFF, and has chosen extracts of films and…

Festival Under the Stars

  • E

The outdoor cinema experience for all the family moves to a new location in The Grassmarket, for a weekend of film classics on the big screen under the stars. Full screen listings for the weekend will be announced online on Friday 15 May. Check the EIFF website or www.grassmarket.net for more information on this year's…

Can Go Through Skin (Kan Door Huid Heen)

  • 2009
  • Netherlands
  • 97 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Esther Rots
  • Cast: Rifka Lodeizen, Wim Opbrouck, Chris Borowski

After a ferocious assault in her own home, Marieke retreats to a dilapidated house in the quiet Dutch countryside. Whilst battling hard to confront her fear and anger, she works maniacally on renovating the place, and as the building's condition starts to improve, so too does Marieke. A brilliant and brutally honest…

Cinematic Television 1: In Treatment

  • 150 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Rodrigo Garcia
  • Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Josh Charles, Embeth Davidtz

Inviting clients into his own home, psychiatric therapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne, in a Golden Globe-winning performance) explores the darker aspects of the human condition. This brilliantly conceived, character driven, continuous drama is designed to air five nights every week (four 30 minute episodes, each featuring…

Cinematic Television 2: True Blood

  • 120 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Alan Ball
  • Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell

In a Louisiana where vampires are out in the open, drinking synthetic bottled blood in bars, a telepathic waitress (Oscar-winner Anna Paquin, who won a Golden Globe for this performance) meets an alluring, enigmatic stranger (Stephen Moyer) and finds herself drawn into the perilous, seductive world of the undead. In…

Coming Up Scheme

  • 158 min
  • E

Coming Up is now in its ninth year, and is the only UK scheme where emerging talent has the opportunity to make original film drama with a guaranteed network broadcast, on Channel 4. Over 100 writers and directors have honed their skills through the trusted and supportive Coming Up series, ably supported by Channel 4 and…

Garapa

  • 2009
  • Brazil
  • 110 min
  • E
  • Directed by: José Padhila

After achieving international success with Bus 174 and Elite Squad (EIFF 2008), Jose Padilha makes a remarkable return to the documentary arena with this exposé of the widespread effects of malnutrition in Brazil. For Rosa, Robertina and Lucia every day is a battle to stay alive, their only sustenance being the local…

Modern Love is Automatic

  • 2009
  • US
  • 93 min
  • E
  • Directed by: Zach Clark
  • Cast: Melodie Sisk, Maggie Ross, Carlos Bustamante

Lorraine (Melodie Sisk) is a nurse who preserves a contemptuous distance from just about everything. When a sideline in S&M sex work suggests itself, however, she's empowered to explore extremes… At once a bravura exercise in style, a daring black comedy and a solemn exploration of apathy and sexual dysfunction, this…

Meera Syal: Skillset In Person

Meera Syal boasts numerous other credits alongside her prominent television work. She wrote the script for Gurinder Chadha's 1993 breakthrough 'Bhaji on the Beach'; adapted her own autobiographical novel 'Anita and Me' for the 2002 film directed by Metin Huseyin; and created the story for the hit Bollywood stage musical…

Lord David Puttnam Keynote Address

  • 60 min
  • E

The Oscar-winning producer of 'Chariots of Fire', 'The Killing Fields' and 'Local Hero', Lord David Puttnam is also Chancellor of the Open University, Chair of Futurelab and President of the Film Distributors' Association. His keynote speech for EIFF will examine the opportunities and challenges for film and the creative…

Trisha Biggar: EXPO Costume Event

  • 90 min
  • E

Trisha Biggar's career has taken her from Glasgow's legendary Citizen's Theatre to a galaxy far, far away. Her television work includes 'The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones' and 'The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders', and she has also stayed true to Scottish film, designing the costumes for such titles as…

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