End of an

The recent appointment of former Scottish Film Production Fund supremo Penny Thomson-as Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival from 1992 onwards provides a suitable juncture at which to appraise outgoing Director David Robinson‘s period at the controls. Now with three screens at the Cameo cinema and two at Filmhouse in regular use. his third and final EIFF (the 45th in its record unbroken run) promises to follow the substantial and wide-ranging pattern set by his programming of the two previous years’ events.

Among 1991’s component parts. the entries in the New British Cinema section compete for the Michael Powell Award, the first or second features in the New Directors band vie for the Charles Chaplin Award, student shorts in the Young Filmmakers slot are in contention for a C4 sponsored award in memory of the late Bill Douglas, and the best new British animation will be honoured by the Post Office McLaren Award. Retrospectives of Hungarian master lstvan Szabo and lauded American indie John Sayles, a special survey of Italian director-comics, a Music and Cinema selection, the Eyes of the World documentary choice, plus a slew of classics under the Hollywood Heritage banner further fill out the forthcoming fifteen days. not to mention the children’s cinema screenings, aptly-titled Connoisseur


f), {I L; ' . eaefla’. '

Shows. and a right old ragbag oflate night specials.

Still, the question has to be asked: who is actually going to go and see all this stuffin strand after strand after strand? Last year even the most conscientious of film journalists admitted not having caught material from some of the sections, so what price poor old Joe Public having to cope with five screens and the multifarious attractions of the rest of Edinburgh‘s tantalising annual cultural smorgasbord?

Furthermore, as the film festival circuit gets ever more crammed with yet more trophies, do Edinburgh‘s fistful oftrophies truly mean anything in a wider context? Did the Michael Powell Award save last year’s winner, David Hayman‘s Silent Scream, from a fairly miserable box office performance?

Perhaps one‘s responses to all


these questions would be a little more positive if the Film Festival managed to create a context of intellectual relevance and commercial pzazz around its packed schedules. Yet from last year‘s legendarily pathetic promotional blackboard outside Filmhouse to the plethora of old newspaper cuttings that pass for documentation in the current catalogue, it looks like quality of presentation is being sacrificed for sheer quantity of product. While Robinson‘s probably right to describe himself as ‘dangerously enthusiastic‘, such major issues at the heart of the event’s very identity surely need to be resolved. One hopes that Director-elect Penny Thomson will be around to take copious notes before launching into work on the programme for 1992. (Trevor Johnston)

_ Home truths

It the sun ever shines in Edinburgh during August, then the opulent shadow ot the castle should tall in equal measures on the Film Festival revels at Lothlan Road and on the groups ot homeless youngsters who gather daily in Princes Street Gardens. Local production company Cormorant Films has, however, brought the two together in Tickets For The Zoo, the tirst leature trom a company which has already gained acclaim tor its documentary work.

‘In documentaries, people won’t talk ‘about some things because they’re atrald,‘ explains producer and writer Christecn Winlord, ‘so in lots at ways a drama can be more realistic because you don’t have to leave so much out to protect people or for legal reasons. The point is that the whole problem is meted in government legislation, in the benetlt system which tor the last

lew years has discriminated strongly against young people.’

The lllm ls luelled by a genuine

anger, born from thlord's years

working in the housing sector and trom

more recent workshop sessions with actors and homeless teenagers which preceded the shoot. It is not, however, polemical ortediously political, as director Brian Crumlish points out.

‘lt’s a love story set against a talrly unfortunate background, but that’s where it gets its teeth, because you want things to go right tor these two talrly appealing young people. You enlist the bile and the anger at the audience that way.’

Tickets For The Zoo certainly has an emotive power that comes lrom the juxtaposition ol a more tamlllar romantic narrative with harsh social

truths. Carol and George Forbes are orphans, forced to leave the children’s home that has been their lite when they reach the ripe old age of eighteen, but all their hopes of a reasonable house and decent jobs are thrown back in thelrtaces. They tall in with a group at young homeless people, led by Pogo, a lorrner trlend trom the home, whose cynicism is the strength that holds the group together. But when this Romeo linally bounds over the balcony to be with his Juliet, the bottom line is that her benetlt payments will stop because they are seen to be cohabiting.

‘These kids don’t want lots at money or to be pop stars,’ says Winlord, ‘they just want to be like their parents were, and they’re prepared to work very hard tor it. The lllm shows how even people who have those kinds ol values are gradually eroded and broken down just because the way things are lramed.’ (Alan Morrison)

Tickets For The Zoo will be shown at the Cameo 1 at 8.45pm on Wed 14 and again at Filmhouse 1 at 4.45pm on Sat 24.



I Blonde Fist Margi Clarke biffs her way from Kirby to New York in this rumbustious new comedy drama, scripted and directed by Letter To Brezhnev writer Frank Clarke. That‘s brother and sister. by the way. World premiere. See also feature. ()deon, Sat 10 Aug, 7.30pm.

I Jungle Fever Spike Lee‘s hit controversy yet again with this portrait of a love affair that crosses racial and social boundaries. Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra star, writer/producer/director Lee pops up as usual , and Stevie Wonder supplies the over-used soundtrack. Cameo 1, Sun 11 Aug, 8.45pm.

I Tickets For The Zoo Having cut their teeth on a series of fine documentaries the Edinburgh-based

Cormorant Films team of Brian Crumlish and Christecn Winford make their feature debut with this dramatised look at the plight ofthe Scottish capital‘s homeless youngsters. See also preview.

Cameo], Wed I4Aug, 8.45pm.

I Truly, Madly, Deeply Anthony Minghella‘s tall tale of bereaved Juliet Stevenson'sgriefbeing assuaged by the return of her beloved Alan Rickman from the beyond has been hailed as ‘the thinking man‘s Ghost‘. Well, at least it‘s better than the films‘s previous title. erm. Cello.

Cameo 1, Mon lZAug, 8.45pm.

I I Trust Hal Hartley‘s The Unbelievable Trth was

1 one of the freshest

'1 American independents

5 in a while, and this second

,2 feature more than

1 matches it as adorable

f Adrienne Shelley finds ,herselfin the maelstrom of confusion that is

,1 modern lurve.

Cameo I, Thurs 15Aug,


i >

Less naked llesh than Cannes. less seriously intent than

. and entertainment.

The List 9- 15 August 199159