Dreams And Nightmares
Trevor Johnston assesses the post-wat‘joys and traumas that make up this year’s Film Festival retrospective on the films ofl947.
In a way. it’s sensible that this year's Drantbuie Edinburgh liilm Festival retrospective shottld examine the outpttt of the movie year l‘)-i7 rather than concentrate on a single ﬁlmmaker. After all. as the years roll on and print availability becomes even more of a mineﬁeld. tnaybe it‘s time to give the auteur theory a rest for a while and. like good dialectical materialists. embrace the cultural context school of celluloid thought.
The Edinburgh eyent‘s \ery first year is certainly a fascinating place to start. lt‘s after the war. and around the world national cinetnas are statting to make movies again. reﬂecting or es en evading a redeﬁned global psyche embittered by the century ‘s darkest hours. ‘l)reams and Nightmarch the overall branding for DEFF's eminently wotthwhile eighteen-ﬁlm season. says it all really. with the jump from the escapist Hollywood Danny Kaye frolic lllt’ St’l'lt’l l.lf(’ ()/ llil/lt'r till/It to
la Belle Et La Béte: a move away irom the reality oi post-war EurOpe
Vittorio l)e Sica and (‘esare Kayattini's all-too-rat'ely seen ltaliau uco-realist stormer .S'ltm's/tim' giving just some idea of the diversity of the material. Rubble-stress ll titles as tliyet'sc tts llle Iialing comedy llm xii/(I ('rl. Rossellitti’s still-shocking (it'rmmrt‘. Your Zorn and the ﬁrst post-war (.iermau feature lllt’ .Illll't/('l'\ .-lr(' xiii/mtg Us reflect in different ways the physical rttiualion of littrope. Elsewhere. the dark shadow s and darker attitudes surfacing in Hollywood ((il/tltt. Orson Welles' broken-mirror ﬁlttl tloil‘ lllt’ l.ml.\‘ l‘mm .S'lltute/Iul) and even Britain ((‘arol Reed‘s melodrama ()t/(l .lluu ()ttIl mark as much a moye away from the dictates of
realism as do the dreatnscapes of (‘octeau's La Belle lz'l Lu litllt' tttltl Pow ell/Pressburger's studio-shot Himalayan fertuent liltlt'lx' Ntll't'lss‘trv. lt‘s particularly exciting that the last two films‘ cameramen. Jack Cardiff and llenri Alekan. genuine artists both. will be on hand to offer their personal recollections. Pride of place among the \ isitors though. goes to ()scar-w'itming actress Teresa Wright. who‘ll be recalling her role in the finest American movie to deal with the post- coullict period. William Wyler's lllt’ lies! Yours 0/ ()ur Lives. Breaking down the barriers of history. the Festival‘s Scene By Scene strand makes it ottr story too.
Yet again Edinburgh boasts an eye- popping selection at short iilm masterpieces irom across the world. Some are packaged in neat thematic programmes, others are teamed up with an appropriate ieature. Setting aside animation and work by Scottish-based iilmmakers, a iew genuine highlights deserve a mention.
A trio at the top oi the pile merit iive stars. The ever-inventive Australians score another hit with Pact (with Flirting With Disaster, GF‘I’, 19 Aug and Cameo, 23 Aug), a very
Shades: a live-star short
black comedy oi errors as two lovers try to end it all , but only prove that suicide isn’t painless. British-Polish co-production Seven (with Edward J. Steichen, Cameo, 19 and 23 Aug) distills the emotion oi the moment into a series oi beautiiully photographed evocative episodes;
while Shades (with Too Tired To Hate, SH, 16 Aug and Cameo, 20 Aug) discovers an unlikely iriendship between a troubled teenage boy and an old woman in an lrish seaside town.
Honorable silver medals go to 81 (Outstanding Shorts 1, Cameo, 14 and 20 Aug), which iilters the tensions in similar Protestant and Catholic households during the Bobby Sands hunger strike through the lens oi a French TV crew; One Sunday Morning (NF TS Shorts, Cameo, 17 and 23 Aug), a politically tinged tragedy that reveals the human cost oi UK immigration laws; Recon (Outstanding Shorts 1, Cameo, 14 and 20 Aug), a sci-ii murder thriller with startlingly high production values; and Fisticutts (with Istvan Szabo, Filmhouse, 23 Aug), which is close to Tarkovsky in its beautiiul monochrome depiction at timeless Russian rural lite. (Alan Morrison)
I The Pillow Book Saturated in rich visuals. Peter Greenaway's latest is more than an aesthetic exercise — its obsession with calligraphy is sensual and delightfully erotic. The director discusses the ﬁlm at 8. l 5pm on Wed l4.
lllt' l’l/lmr litmk. ('umeu. l3 Aug. 7.30pm. [6 ([4).
I David Cronenberg Recently the king of body horror has moved away from the visceral to the literary. You can‘t see all of ('rtts/t. bttt you can see extended extracts with Cronenberg on hand to explain his artistry. See feature. I)lll'l(/ ('rmimln'ru Strut) liv .S't‘t'm‘ mt ('rus/l. .-lli(‘. I} .rlug. 6pm. [8 ([4).
I Trojan Eddie After last year's award-winning success with Small I'tlt't’ﬁ‘. Gillies :\'laekinnon returns to Edinburgh with this heartfelt drama set among Ireland's travelling people. Stephen Rea and Richard Harris are in powerful form.
li'ujml lit/(lie. “(Hill/ill"). /5 Aug. 7pm. [6 ([4).
I Pulp Videos With the pop gems from nil/(’I't’lll (lust. the rise to stardom of Pulp has been seen on video as well as on record. Jarvis Cocker. Steve Maekey and director Pedro Rohtnanyi discuss the line between pop promo and sIlm‘l ﬁlm masterpiece.
l’ulp lit/om .S't‘t'm' [iv Stone. ABC. .‘llml /2. 6.30pm. £8 ([4). I Tarkovsky Tribute To mark the tenth anniversary of the death of one of Russia's greatest ﬁlmmakers. Edinburgh screens his memorable features Iran 'x ('ln'ltl/tmul and Mirror. introduced by the director's sister. Marina. Mirror. Currie“. l3/l5 Aug.
8. /5pm. £4 (£3). [Hill is C/tiltl/tuml. ('mm'n. [4 Aug. 815p)". [4 (£3)
THE LIST’S TIPS FOR THE BEST FESTIVAL FILMS
The List 9- l 5 Aug I996 75