Trevor Johnston checks out the final few days of the Film Festival.
l SIDEWAth STORIES Charming contemporary silent film lrom black American director Charles Lane. who also stars as a l homeless street artist looking alter an abandoned child. - Filmhouse 1, Lothian Road. 228 2888. Aug 27. 9pm. £4. |
l CONOUEST OF THE SOUTH POLE Scots version oi Mantred Karge's celebrated German play sees a group at unemployed young people brightening up their lives with a spot oi polar exploration. Filmhouse1, Lothian Road.
'- 228 2688. Aug 27. 7pm. £4.
g I SANTA SAHGHE Instant cult classic status is
assured tor Chilean
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and maternal obsession. Cameo Cinema. Home Street. 228 4141. Tickets
tram Filmhouse Festival
j 80x Oltice, Lothian Road.
228 2888. Aug 28. 9pm. £4.
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Trevor Johnston reviews this year’s I Edinburgh International Film
Festival and looks forward to a I packed final weekend. i
More than anything else, this year’s 43rd I Edinburgh International Film Festival will | probably go down as a period of transition. Although Chairman Colin Young at the opening
Certainly Robinson’s concentration upon young cinema, from both new directors and student film-makers, has given Edinburgh a new impetus and focus, and it’s to his young team’s credit that this strand was woven into a wider programme of quite admirable quality and diversity (well perhaps just diversity in the case of the new British films). However, lurking ominously in the background remains the question of the financial feasibility of such an expanded programme, for although we’ll have to wait for the final sums to be added up, the intitial prognosis seems to be that the box office returns
night gala of Giuseppe Tornatore’s New Paradise Cinema made light ofthe fact (and I think misguidedly so) that the current event had been cobbled together in record time, in terms of the organisation and presentation of the Film Festival there were still a number of problems (an unreadable mini-programme, often appalling standards of projection) to set beside the positive things about David Robinson’s first stab at
may not fulfil the organisers’ expectations. It could be that simultaneous screenings in three different cinemas has spread the audience just a
little too thin.
Still, a disappointing deficit could well add urgency to the search for a proper year-round structure for the Film Festival, and that at present is the issue that most immediately needs sorting out. Robinson has been offered the post of director for the next two years, and once his decision is known and the final 1989 revenues totted up then we’ll be able to get on with the
Anyway, what ofthe films? Well, personally speaking this was the first year I’d experienced the Edinburgh Film Festival after having already been to Cannes, and sickening though it might seem to say it, the fact that I’d previously seen a fair proportion of the major films on offer for myself took away a lot ofthe excitement that usually goes with the August fortnight. Even so, there remained discoveries to be made, like Daniel Day-Lewis’s remarkable performance as
writer Chr'isty Brown battling against cerebral palsy in My Left Foot, Maggie Greenwald’s evocatively seedy Jim Thompson adaptation The Kill-Off. Bruce Weber’s melancholy Chet Baker portrait Let’s Get Lost and even Lewis Gilbert‘s commercial heartwarmer Shirley Valentine.
On the debit side, yes, there were dogs too, notably (and unfortunately) Scottish Television Film Enterprises’s Killing Dad which turned out to be a dreary and utterly uninvolving attempt at stylish black comedy. One hopes that STFE don‘t give up entirely after only one shot at it, but they’ll need to come up with more worthwhile material than this, for what may have worked on the page most certainly fell flat on film. Much more encouraging for film culture in Scotland was Ian Sellar‘s thoughtful look at the experience ofa marginal community in Venus Peter, and Timothy Neat’s sometimes infuriating. sometimes breathtaking, but always thoughtful examination ofstorytelling in a post-oral technological culture Play Me Something. Not a film for everyone. but the kind ofdifficult project that should have its place in these parts.
Finally, the Day By Day Diary will tell you, there’s still lots to come over the last three days. As well as the trio of Gillies Mackinnon‘s auspicious feature debut Conquest ofthe South Pole. Jodorowsky‘s Santa Sangre which quite frankly has to be seen to be disbelieved, and Charles Lane’s silent winner Sidewalk Stories, I would recommend Jim Jarmusch‘s Mystery Train, another wry comedy (although in colour this time) that centres on one night in Memphis to all admirers of his minimalist aesthetic.
Which just about wraps it up for another year. All that’s left to say is that Anne Turner‘s Celia really should win the Chaplin Award for best New Director, and that I'm offto lie down in a darkened room for a bit. Be warned that Do Not Disturb sign truly does mean what it says.
I All tickets available from the Film Festival Box Ofﬁce at Filmhouse. Lothian Road, 228 2688. Any tickets remaining unsold for screenings at the Cameo Cinema, Home Street. 228 4141 . will go on sale immediately before the relevant performances. Filmhouse 1. Cameo screenings before 7pm;£4 (£1.50).
Filmhouse 2 screenings before 7pm; £3.50 (£1.50).
No concessions after 7pm.
FRIDAY 25 '
I FILMHOUSE 1 Lunchtime Animation: The Fleischer Brothers 1pm. Betty Boop, Popeye, Superman and co.
I FILMNOUSE 2
The Frozen Limits (Marcel Vanel, UK, 1939) 2pm. The Crazy Gang hit the frozen north in this gold rush farce famously compared by Graham Greene to Lloyd and Keaton.
Hungry Heart (Luigi Acquisto, Australia. 1988) 2.38pm. The trials and tribulations at a modem
50 The List 25 - 31 August 1989
I FILMHOUSE 2
Young Film-matter otThe Year Programme Slx 6.30pm. Georgia and the UK.
Sand Hose (Rachid Benhaji, Algeria, 1989) 7pm. A protagonist with crippled legs and no arms learns to survive in the landscape of the desert. Moving debut feature.
Oueen ol Hearts (Jon Amiel, UK. 1989) 7pm. Only a few English characters in this English ﬁlm, a childhood recollection of life in London‘s Italian
immigrant community. First feature by Singing Detective director Amiel. I FILMHOUSE 2
The Canterbury Tales (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy/France, 1972) 8.30pm.?asolini himself plays Chaucer writing down his sexual fantasies in several of the bawdiest tales.
Plaltl (Juan Carlos Tabio. Cuba, 1988) 9pm. Life is no yoke for a woman pursued by a mysterious egg-hurling assailant,
hence the descriptive title.
I CAMEO Mystery Train (Jim
Jarmusch. US. 1989) 9pm.
In. 1; Three vignettes follow disparate characters one night in Memphis. Latest minimalist comedy from Jarmusch is his first in colour.
P8! Sematary (Mary Lambert. US. 1989)
11.30pm. The Creed family move into an old house in Maine to discover something unpleasant at the bottom
l ofthe garden. Adapted by ? Stephen King from his own bestseller.
I FILMHOUSE 2 AWlndow in London (Herbert Mason, UK, 1939) 2pm. Michael Redgrave plays a bridge construction worker drawn into the domestic conﬂict between an illusionist and his wife. I FILMHOUSEl
Errors of Youth (Boris