more than we even thought'.
Scottish Opera Go Round
is the main company's small scale ottshoot. taking opera to places inaccessible to lull productions. ‘Jenuta' is periormed- in English— wlth a cast oi only seven and piano accompaniment. It's a drama oi much passion showing Janacek's beliel that love is basically tragic. Virginia Kerrieels that this works. “I'd really rather do it In this setting with the intimacy ot almost being on top at the audience’. she says. ‘The claustrophobic element helps add to the tension in the piece and actually makes it a lot easier.’ Perhaps one at the best recommendations came irom a leading Czechoslovakian musicologist who congratulated the cast saying ‘This is the way Janacek would have wanted it’ but equally the cast's own enthusiasms must be a measure oi ‘Jenuta"s success. As Virginia Kerr puts it, ‘We would revive this till we’re 100'. (Carol Main) Scottish Opera Go Round, ‘Jenula', Portobello Town llall, Edinburgh. Saturday 11 at 7.30pm.
Lillian Gish is almost as old as cinema itselt; a selection at disputed birthdates places her age somewhere between 88 and 94 but there is no doubt about her well-documented and unique career which began in 1912 with an appearance opposite sister Dorothy in An Unseen Enemy. 105 Ieatures and 76 years later. her co-star is Bette Davis and the lilm is The Whales DtAugust. Lindsay Anderson's Dn Golden Pond-style chamber piece on age and remembrance. Perhaps the linest actress oi the silent era. Gish's most celebrated pertormances aie landmarks in cinema history. Her work in Intolerance. Broken Blossoms. Orphans Dt The Storm and The Wind endeared her to the nations ol the world and brought her an unprecedented level oi control over the choice at suitable scripts and desirable directors. Although she easily mastered the technical demands oi the sound era, Gish was a casualty oi those changing times; her wait-like Victorian heriones consldered hopelessly old-tashloned and her mantle as the screen‘s leading dramatic actress now bestowed on Greta Garbo. Today. she humoroust recollects a desperate bid to spice up
Lillian Gish directed by Anderson C
her overly-c aste image. ‘I was with MGM. An unhappy ending to a lilm was supposed to end a career but Irving Thalberg letme do seven unhappy endings and I got by. Mayer said. “You‘re sitting way up there on a pedestal and nobody cares.‘ He said. ‘Letme knock you oitandthey‘ll care. Ican arrange a scandal toryou.’ Well. Dorothy was in England working and motherwas unwell so I asked lorthree days to think about. lhad neverbeen involved ina scandal and mother always
went with people who would
keep ourname out oithe press. Atthattimea woman‘s name would only be in the press when she
was born. married and died. .
ldidn'twant to disgracethe tamily. Mayer said he could ruin me; put outthe word that anyone taking a picture otmine wouldn't getone irom MGM. So. I Ielttilms
the likes oi Duel In The Sun and The Night DIThe Hunter. Gish has been ill-served by the cinema in recentdecades until the stamina-sapping otteroi David Berry's The Whales Di August. The lilm took~live years to iinance and Gish lrankly tretted as to whether she was uptothe demands at a leading role. Her worries were unlounded and she graces the screen with a beautilully modulated display at sustained. impeccably detailed emotional reacting. Asked aboutthe delights or horrors at working with the redoubtable Ms Davis. the diplomatic Gish genteer circumvents the question with her response: 'I pick people. never money. I never pickthe part. I pick the story; it I like the story and can lit in, well that‘siine. I‘d seen Bette Davis maybe two orthree
times in a lilm but I didn't havetoo much to do with
and returned to the theatre: Aside irom the occasional
I i i 5 !
‘ I "up", aumwen‘mosm lnlemalilonalli‘menslonto who contributes an article
us. liked each other.‘
lnthe wake olthelilm's success. it scarcely seems silly to consider whatthe iuture may hold tor Lillian Gish. There are more otters to contemplate but. asked it this might signily the dawn ot a whole new career she quickly responds: ‘Dh.l hope not. Don't youthink I've been around long enough?’ (Allan Hunter) The Whales DlAugust opens at the Cameo in Edinburgh on 10June.
FRINGE FILM FESTIVAL
The Fourth Edinburgh Fringe Film Festival. which runs irom 10-13th June. moves lrom Adam House into the more salubrious contines ol Filmhouse this year. The change oivenue will not. however, herald any shiit in policy. The Festival remains dedicated to providing a showcase. and a lorum tor debate. tor the independentiilm and video movement. opening its doors to a varied range at contributions. irom one minute long art school iilms to ieature length productions lrom Italy and West Germany. community video to protessional documentaries.
While the Festival admits to a bias toward home-grown material. it nonetheless attempts to achieve a genuinely
its programming. led this year by a strong representation oi independenttilms trom Italy. as well astrom Australia. Germany. and Switzerland.
The screening on Saturday night otthe
banned drama documentary 3
Fireraiser. which Michael Grade pulled irom the Channel 4 schedules earlier this year, is bound to create a stir. The lilm. which stars Max Wall. examinesthe role at Sir Arthur Harris in establishing the patterns at bombing over Germany during World War II. which culminated in the destruction ot Dresden in January 1945. with the loss oi135.DDD lives. Made by the independent production company Twentieth Century Vixen. the lilm makes controversial accusations. and raises important issues on the re-writing oi history. as well as onthe reSponsibility ot lilm-makers.
Discussion has always been a central part oithe Fringe Festival. whether in intormal sessions alter screenings, or in the more tormal seminar settings.
This year‘s seminar topic on
Sunday alternoon is an attempt to look at the whole issue at what ‘independent' might mean in the rapidly changing context at today's lilm and television world, led by Robin MacPherson.
onthe subject to theFringe Festival Guide (£1).
That document. which also includes articles on Italian independents. animation. GFT‘s Desperately Seeking Cinema season. and an invaluable guideto tacilitiesior would be lilm-makers. isthe essential guide to the Festival (in addition to The List. naturally), and containslull details oithe iilms on show. While there is no overall subjectthis year. the Festival is divided into seventeen thematic Programmes, grouping logethertilms on related (and occasionally notso related) topics into structured units. With admission prices held at modest levels. it is an occasion tor experimental viewing as much as tor experimental lilm-making. while side-attraction include a cale and the first ever Videotheque. See Film listingslorturtherdetails. (Kenny Mathieson)
mnge Film Festiv_al: Clockwise below starting T_op_L_el_t: Kiko Stella's Rosso Di Sera (Italian Independents); Di Re‘s The Pit (Italian Independents); Dreamtown—Joyce's Ulyssestranslated to Edinburgh; Max Wall inthe Channel 4 banned Fireraiser;
Timothy Bevan‘s Short. In The Spring.
e 6’ 0 ~ “A, h"- ‘. a raw