Hans Jtirgen Syberberg
in town to present his latest stage work Ein Traum, Was Sonst? (A Dream, What Else?) as part oi the oiilclai lntematlonal Festival, controversial German director lians Jiirgen Syberberg is also the subject oi a complementary retrospective at this year’s Film Festival. The sort oi sell-styled visionary without any real counterpart on the British arts scene,
Syberberg's ongoing conirontation with his country’s cultural history and the darker side oithe German psyche have seen him reviled at home but revered abroad tor the same body oi work.
Centrepiece oithe EIFF tribute is 1977's Hitler—A Film From Germany, a mammoth seven-hour exploration ol
newsreel iootage and actual testimony with an extravagantly artiilcial series oi studio tableaux approaching the Hitler myth and the iascist legacy as both part oi the post-Wagnerian Teutonic cultural continuum and an awesome demonstration oi the power oi the celluloid image. Described by Susan Sontag as ‘one oi the greatest works oi art at the 20th century’, Hitler completes the ambitious historical trilogy comprising 1972’s Ludwig — Requiem ForAtllrgin ltlng, which looks at Wagner’s great patron, the eccentric monarch Ludwig ll oi Bavaria, and Karl May, 1974’s portrait oi the 19th century utopian writer. Complete details oi the rest oi the Syberberg season, including a masterclass on Sunday 23 August, can be iound in the 1992 EIFF Souvenir Catalogue, priced £3.95, available irom the Filmhouse and selected newsagents and venues. (Trevor Johnston)
Short iilms, perched precarioust between ten and thirty minutes long, are too often dismissed by a public brainwashed by the trailers-ads- ieature iorrnat as merely pretentious student nonsense. Strange then, that the Young Film Maker oi the Year Award (again generously sponsored by Channel Four) should every year prove a launching pad ior new talent irom across the globe. Film critic and iorrner EIFF director David Robinson has whittled down the 1992 iilm school submissions to ten packed programmes oi inventive short iilms that show a high standard oi narrative
and technical ability. Amongst these are two iilms irom Napier University- Rod Stein’s Fever Pitch and Alan Powdrill's Too Cold To Hold (screening at 11 .45am on Thurs 27) — and two irom Edinburgh College oi Art— Morag Mcitlnnon’s The End and David Cairns’s The Bottle Imp (screening at 11.45am on Sat 29).
The Edinburgh connection continues with Anthony Neiison's Deeper Still, a stunning portrait oi love and obsession that wouldn’t look out oi place in David Cronenberg’s oeuvre. Deeper Still screens with the iirst truly independent Chinese iilm, Mama, at 8.15pm on Tue 25, and is an example oi the ElFF’s
commendable decision to showcase shorts with main ieatures. Edinburgh is
also ably represented in the New British Shorts programme (6pm on Mon 17) by Dirty Diamonds, a gritty piece at celluloid that twists and turns all the cliches oi the iilm nolr. Written and directed by David Mackenzie, its humour, tight pacing and shock ending prove that a good short iilm, like a good short story, can hold its own rewards tor a more adventurous audience. (Alan Morrison)
the Fuhrer's rise and tail that blends r
Strictly Ballroom It’s hard to think of a better Film Festival opener than this. The plot is simple — unlikely partners Scott and Fran take on the might of the Australian Dance Federation and overcome all the odds to create their own routine for the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix - but the execution could hardly be bettered. The preview 1 saw was greeted by the loudest cheering I‘ve ever heard in a cinema, such is the magic of this extraordinary audience winner. Come Dancing will never seem the same again. (TJ)
The black tie opening gala of Strictly Ballroom is sold out, but a second screening will take place on the same evening (Sat 15 A ug) at 10.20pm at the Odeon.
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Swoon From the same production stable as last year‘s controversial Todd Haynes offering Poison, Tom Kalin’s film is an oblique yet compelling re-investigation ofthe 1924 Leopold and Loch child murder case that scandalised Chicago. It examines how two precocious law students kidnapped and killed a young boy as the culmination of a tangled relationship where criminal activity and sexualrelations became disturbingly mingled. Through a fragmentary narrative and evocative black and white cinematography, Kalin examines a powerful myth of social deviancy at the moment of its creation. (T1)
Swoon, Filmhouse 1, Sun 16 Aug, 10.30pm and Filmhouse 2, Thurs 27Aug, 4.30pm.
LBDID Any film that opens with a centralcharacter who is convinced he is the offspring of a tomato injected with the sperm of a mischievous Sicilian peasant is worth more than a cursory glance. Destined to become one of the surpnse cult hits of the Film Festival, Leolo tells of a young Canadian boy‘s descent into the pool of insanity that is his daily family life. Bizarrely funny, it is crammed full of some of the most wonderful visual images to appear on the big screen this year. (AM)
Leolo, Filmhouse 1, Sun 16 Aug, 8.15pm.
62 The List 14 — 20 August 1992