Alan Morrison reckons this year’s Film Festival boasts a particularly strong line-up of short films from Scotland.
In the year that Trainspotting has proved that a Scottish feature can trounce all-corners in both commercial and critical arenas, it's equally heartening to note that the next squad of local talent is Iimbering up on the sidelines. Around 40 shorts by Scottish- bascd ﬁlmmakers have been selected for the Festival‘s ofﬁcial programme. and the majority more than hold their own against their international counterparts.
Due to the fact that many of the Scottish ﬁlms are able to take advantage of looser deadlines that push post-production periods close to the actual screening dates. not all were available for early previews. Nevertheless. there are some titles that would grace any hit list.
Granton Star Cause (Scottish Shorts Programme 3. Filmhouse. 2i and 25 Aug) features a screenplay genuinely by Irvine Welsh. the ﬁrst ofa planned Arid House trilogy. The skewed comic
‘ u, ‘
tale of young Boab — kicked off the footie team. thrown out of his home by his pervy parents. chucked by his girlfriend and ﬁnally turned into a fly by an efﬁn’ and blindin’ God in a Granton pub — has a strong. surreal visual style and pace all of its own, with no need to follow in the footsteps of Danny Boyle.
Taking inspiration from two ﬁlmmakers very much linked with this particular Festival. Martin Thomton‘s Headcleaner (Scottish Shorts Programme 3. Filmhouse. 2| and 25 Aug) stamps a furious blend of Derek Jarrnan-style images on our numbed consciousness. while Enrico Harvey’s solemnly expressionistic 'lo Whom It May Concern (Scottish Shorts Programme l. Cameo. l6 Aug and
Filmhouse. 23 Aug) shifts into Bill Douglas territory with its poetically moving depiction of pained childhood.
One theme which seems to be emerging is the double-sided relationship between fathers and sons in Scottish working-class culture. Nowhere is this better expressed than in Initiation (Tartan Shorts, Cameo, l8 Aug and Filrnhouse, 24 Aug). Writer- director Martin McCardie creates an emotionally complex scenario involving the son of the owner of a cement factory. forced to undergo a macho bonding ritual: the myth of cornradeship in the workplace is devastatingly blown apart by a sense of parental betrayal. As impressive a piece of work as you'll see on any of the Festival ‘s screens.
nton \Star Cause: ‘strong, surreal visual style’
ilick Park and the Aardman Animation studio have a lot to answer ior. Tiles Oscars ior Park’s claymation creations, and he is just about the most iamous short iilmmaker in the world. Which is all well and good - animation is arguably the strongest element oi the British iilm industry - but it is hard to iind an animated short which is not stamped with the mark ot Aardman.
ilard, but not impossible. ‘Some oi our best animation is not In the claymation style,’ counters Danny Carr, who programmed the animation strand oi the lirambuie Edinburgh Film Festival and rates the simple and beautiiuily drawn charcoal oi Angel (with lilian’s Story, EFT, 16
THE LIST’S TIPS FOR THE FESTIVAL FILM
Angry Kid: new work by Aardman
Aug, 5.45pm) as his iavourite. the story, about an angel who is cast out oi heaven ior being vain, also demonstrates that not all animation has to be childish, quirky or humorous to work.
However, Aardman and humour are what most people think oi when they think oi animation. ‘A lot oi the way Aardman works comes irorn Morph and 70s children’s animation,’ explains Carr. “Many oi the current generation oi animators have been through the 70s television period and have iallen in love with it.’
While the strength oi British animation will be amply demonstrated in the three programmes dedicated to it during the Festival, Barr has also managed to include some work by the man aiter whom the award ior which the animators are competing is named: Norman Mclaren. ills Fiddle lie Dee, two minutes oi abstract colour painted straight onto celluloid will be the short preceding liragonheart at the opening gala. (Thom liibdin)
Ilew Aardman Animation, Filmhouse, 17 Aug, 11am; David Sprouon Scene 8y Scene on Aardman, Fllmhouse, 21
I Breaking The Waves A young woman from a Scottish Calvinist community falls foul ofthe church when devotion to her husband drives her to extremes. Danish director Lars Von Trier‘s ﬁlm brims with emotion. See review.
Breaking The Waves. Dominion. I6 Aug. 9.30pm; F ilnrhouse. 23 Aug. 8pm. £6 (£4).
I Lone Star Personal. social and ethnic histories catch up with the present lives of those in a Texas town in John Sayles's wonderfully complex thriller. See review. Lone Star. Cameo. I 8 Aug. 9pm; Cameo. 24 Aug. [0.15pm. £6 (£4). I .Iack Cardiii Britain's most distinguished cinematographer. who has shot ﬁlms as diverse as The Red Shoes and Sons And Lovers discusses his work on Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus, part of the Festival 's 1947 retrospective.
Jack Cardiff Scene By Scene.
F ilmhouse. I9 Aug. 6pm. £8 (£4).
I Some Mother’s Son Helen Mirren stars as the mother of an IRA hunger striker at the time of the |98l protest led by Bobby Sands. A timely drama that brings a human dimension to a contentious slice of recent British history.
Some Mother Is Son. F rim/rouse. [6 Aug. 8pm; Cameo. 23 Aug. [0.15pm. £6 (£4).
I The Best Years at Our Lives The pick of the Festival's ‘Dreams and Nightmares' l947 retrospective is William Wyler’s Oscar-laden drama on the difﬁculties of post-war life in America. Actress Teresa Wright introduces the ﬁlm, shown using the world‘s only 35mm print.
The Best Years Of Our Lives. Film/rouse. I 9 Aug. 8.30pm. £4 (£3).
74 TIiL‘ Lisl Ifr-ZZ Aug I996