_ Key to success
Trevor Johnston previews this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.
With June Campion‘s magniﬁcent The Piano as its ﬁrst night gala. the 47th Edinburgh lntemational Film Festival thunders into action with an imposing opening chord. Acclaimed joint winner of the Cannes Palrne d'Or. it makes a ﬁne choice to begin with. not only because it's a remarkable piece of cinema. but because the subject matter — a mute Scotswonian surviving in desolate 19th century New Zealand with young daughter and piano in tow - opens up its own set of particular local connections. Now consolidating in the second year of Penny Thomson’s directorship. an apparent imperative runs through the 1993 ElFF that an event of this type needs to be more than just a selection of good~to-interesting ﬁlms from around the world. it also has to pump something else into the indigenous ﬁlm culture struggling to burst into life around it.
This year's ﬁfteen-day cinematic frolic retains the plethora of (dubiously valuable?) prizes and strand programming -- from New British Films to the Channel 4-sponsored Young Film Makers section, to animation, American independents. documentaries and the intemational Panorama — that we’ve come to know and love/loathe over the past few summers. in the 1993 instance. however. it looks as though the extra- ﬁlrnic activity will prove just as exciting and stimulating as the stuff that's actually up there on screen. Pride of place goes to the much anticipated ‘Just Do lt‘ weekend. centred on
special forum sessions on Sat 21 and Sun 22 in the Cameo 1 4.15pm slot, where no-budget heroes like El Mariachi's Robert Rodriguez will be passing on a few tips on how to make a feature for a compact $7000. and issues under discussion will include the validity of comparison between the UK and the US independent sectors.
While the Scandinavian season will be prefaced by its own open forum on funding in a small country (Sun 15. Cameo 2. 10.15am) and the line-up of distinguished guests contributing to the BBC? Masterclass will each be passing on nuggets of wisdom from their individual terrain. for the usual string of youthful enthusiasts and talents in the Young Film Makers band passing through town. more than ever EIFF '93 will be a place to listen and talk. meet and greet. it's among the most genuinely sociable of ﬁlm festivals, and with increased access for ElFF ticket holders to the relocated Drambuie Film Festival Pavilion on Lothian Road. the next two weeks or so should prove no exception. Teetotal or no (and we critics barely let the demon dn'nk pass our lips. you know), there‘s enough going on to send you reeling. .S'creening information and hookin g details are widely available in the free I 993 EIFI’ programme, while the Official Souvenir Catalogue is on sale from the Film/muse. tlte Cameo, the Fringe Ofﬁce and other outlets, priced £3. 95.
_ Good fella
3 The Edinburgh International Film
; Festival has for years supported the ; work of American independent
1 filmmakers, most recently in the
shape of the State of Independents strand. In 1969, a substantial retrospective raised the profile of Sam Fuller, who had long been dismissed as a ‘B’ thriller director; in 1975, it was the turn of a young maverick called Martin Scorsese. In the eighteen years since, Scorsese has gone on to become one of the world’s most sought after and critically acclaimed directors, with a body of work that includes Taxi Driver, Raging Bull - frequently hailed as the best tilm ot the 803 - DoodFellas and Cape Fear.
Scorsese’s return visit to the EIFF this year is principally as a cinema- golng punter, popping in to see the restored version oi Michael Powell and Emerlc Pressburger’s III . . . Rosalindall (which screens at the Cameo on Mon 23 at 8.30pm) while on
the way to Venice for the premiere of his latest work, The Age Of Innocence. He has, however, agreed to hold a masterclass during his stay, which will take the form 01 a question and answer session at the Ddeon cinema, chaired by writer David Thompson. Ticket details will be announced shortly.
Born in 1942 in New York City to an Italian immigrant lamily, he first decided at the age of fourteen to become a Catholic priest, but soon turned to film studies. At IIYII in the late 60s, he quickly grabbed attention with a series of shorts, before scripting his first feature, Who’s That Knocking At My Door? which, like the best of his later work, vividly captured life in the city's little Italy. He has also worked as an editor and assistant director (Woodstock) and as an actor, with roles in ’Ilound Midnight, Akria Kurosawa’s Dreams, Guilty By Suspicion and assorted cameos in his own movies.
Scorsese’s long-time colleague, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, will also be in Edinburgh to give a masterclass. Winner of an Oscar for her work on Raging Bull, she is one of the most respected and lmitated oi contemporary film editors. Also
providing some words of wisdom for assembled audiences will be former EIFF director and producer of both The Commitments and The Snapper, lynda Myles; script editor (Orlando, Map of the Human Ileart) Walter Donohue; Ken Adan, production designer on several Bond movies, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove and Herbert Boss’s Pennies From Heaven (both of which have special screenings); and documentary filmmaker IIlck Broomfleld, who will also deliver the Post thice Crierson Lecture, a celebration of 60 years of the CPD Film and Video Ilnit. One of the masterclass highlights will be a visit by Frederick Wiseman, whose illustrious back catalogue makes him one of the world’s foremost documentarists. Ills new film, Zoo - a study of life In a Miami zoo - screens at the Festival, as does his acclaimed work from 1970, Hospital. (AM)
I Moi Ivan, Toi Abram is a late addition to the EIFF line-up. The French ﬁlm. the ﬁrst ﬁctional work by Yolande Zauberman, was well received when it was screened during the Directors' Fortnight at this year‘s Cannes Film Festival. It tells of two boys — one Jewish. one non-Jewish — in pre-World War 11 Poland. who decide to ﬂee rather than be separated. According to the director, who has previously made two documentaries. Classiﬁed People and Caste Criminelle, the ﬁlm is about ‘the desire of certain people who are ready to challenge beliefs. designations and exclusions in order to get closer to the others.‘ Moi Ivan. Toi Abraham shows in Cameo 3 on Sun 15 at 8.45pm. and in Filrnhouse 2 on Sun 29 at 8.45pm. I Scottish animators can get some advance information about the 4th Cartoon Forum. which will take place in lnvemess in September. at a special session in Cameo 3 at 11.15am on Tue 17. Cartoon is the animation ﬁlm division of the MEDIA Programme of the European Community, and plans to bring together producers. television channels. ﬁnancial bodies and animators. The EIFF session will be chaired by Corinne Jenart. Director of
I Alastair Sim fans should note that the 5.30pm screenings of An Inspector Calls (Tue 17). Hue and Cry (Wed 18) and The Green Man (Thurs 19) have shifted from Cameo 2 to Cameo 3 ‘for technical reasons‘. The tribute to the Edinburgh-bom actor and director provides a welcome revival for three titles that didn't make the ﬁnal line-up of the Filmhouse’s own short season a few months back.
I Living Proof: HIV and the Pursuit of Happiness is a remarkable ﬁlm on two accounts: its subject matter and its production history. The documentary follows Carolyn Jones's photo exhibition of People With AIDS. which premiered in New York at the end of 1992, using interview footage of several of the subjects to reveal an active community. And while much trumpeting will surround the miniscule budgets of the movies showing as part of the ‘Just Do lt' weekend (outlined last issue). Living Proof shows that a ﬁlm can indeed be made for no money at all — every aspect of the ﬁlm's production. from ﬁlm stock to editing facilities, came through in-kind
donations. Director Kermit Cole will be I
in Edinburgh to discuss the work.
The List 13—19 August 1993 57