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Short and sweet
A crop of short films is the testing ground for new Scottish talent.
The best things come in small packages, so they say. Take the Edinburgh Film Festival’s selection of Scottish short films - stylish, inventive, blissful bursts of creativity in a matter of minutes. Works by independent filmmakers and film school graduates are scattered across the Festival, but individual spotlights (and perhaps more critical scrutiny) fall on those programmes funded by the Scottish film industry's official bodies.
The Tartan Shorts have maintained a credible track record since Peter Capaldi won an Oscar for Franz Kafka's It’s A Wonderful Life in the first year of the scheme. After last year’s male-dominated output, 1997 sees a full-on assault by female filmmakers. Lynne Ramsay follows up her Cannes prizewinner Small Deaths with Gas Man; Hannah Robinson sets romantic hopes against the neon lights of a fairground in Candy Floss; and writer Kate Atkinson’s funny script for
Childhood remembered in Waterloo (Prime Cuts)
Karmic Mothers nicely deflates all manner of pretentions from the unexpected setting of a maternity ward.
The pair of Gaelic language shorts from the Geur Ghearr scheme are a disappointment, however. Jealous Sister, the better of the two, has a strong Celtic flavour but its trappings seem rather clichéd. Fishing - in its script, style and performances — struggles to match the standard of 705 television, leaving Gaelic filmmaking behind as very much a poor relation.
Providing a stepping stone to bigger things for first and second time filmmakers, Prime Cuts livens up the proceedings. Every one of this sparky sextet has its own merits and evocativer drops the viewer into a perfectly framed short story.
Margaret Reeves's Waterloo is a case in point. Two young women meet in a cafe and, although adulthood leaves them with nothing to say to each other, they
remember when they were children and one was a newcomer recently arrived from Australia. Reeves spent different parts of her childhood in Lanarkshire and Melbourne, and her approach here is to make the 'present day' sequence realistic, but use obviously painted backdrops to make the scenes with the kids very stylised.
'l have a theory that if you go back to a place you used to know, it's never the same,’ she says. 'You recreate it not as it is, but as you remember it. l'd like Waterloo to be seen as a nod to how cinema used to look, when you can tell it's fake.’ If Prime Cuts can allow that degree of experimentation with the same level of success, then it certainly is money well spent. (Alan Morrison)
I Tartan Shorts/Prime Cuts, Cameo 1, Mon 18, 4.30pm and 6.30pm, £6 (£4). Gaelic Shorts, Cameo 1, Mon 18, 1.30pm, £6 (£4).
i V"’ Nightmares on Neptune: Laurence Fishburne in Event Horizon
’It’s a psychological horror film that reminded me of some of my favourite movies like The Exorcist and The Shining, but in a totally unique location — outer space.’ That’s quite a pedigree by any standards, as British director Paul Anderson is first to admit.
His latest (after Shopping and Mortal Kombat) is the $50 million blockbuster Event Horizon, described as a ’haunted house film in space’. This futuristic movie follows the fortunes of the crew of a salvage ship sent to recover the 'Event Horizon’, a prototype vessel that has suddenly reappeared near Neptune after being missrng for seven years. When they get there, all hell literally breaks loose as the now possessed ship taps into each crew member’s deepest fears
and makes them into a horrific, deadly reality.
Star of the film is Laurence Fishburne, Oscar-nominated for What’s Love Got To Do With It and due to stop off in Edinburgh for this Festival premiere. Anderson is a big fan of his leading man: ’Laurence is almost like the seeker of the truth in the movie, he's the man who unlocks the mystery. And he’s a very, very forceful character. As a man, I mean, Laurence is a great leader of men. If I had to go to war, I’d really like to go to war with Laurence Fishburne.’
That probably won’t be necessary. But in Event Horizon, Fishburne will lead audiences to a battlezone in space where everyone can hear us scream. (Alan Morrison)
I Event Horizon, Odeon 1, Sun 77, 11pm, £6 (£4).
H It list This weeks golden moments on the silver screen. Surprise Movie Festival director Lizzie Francke is keeping her lips sealed, but this List-sponsored event is guaranteed to bring an extra thrill to the dimming of the lights. See Freeloaders, page S & 7. Surprise Movie, Odeon 1, Tue 19, 10.30pm, £6 (£4). Pusher The comfortable life of 'a Dutch drug dealer collapses when a heroin deal goes wrong. See review on following pages. Pusher, Cameo 1, Tue 19, 8pm, £6 (£4). People On Sunday Retrospective subject Edgar G. Ulmer collaborated with Robert Siodmak, Fred Zinnemann and Billy Wilder on this silent German realist classic. People On Sunday, Filmhouse 1, Sun 17, 2.30pm, £4 (£3). Buck Henry The sometime actor dissects his Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Graduate. Buck Henry Scene By Scene, Filmhouse 1, Sun 17, 7pm; GFT 1, Wed 20, 8.45pm, £9 (£4). The Sweet Hereafter lan Holm gives a towering performance in Atom Egoyan's portrait of a
community grieving over the loss of ,
its children. The Sweet Hereafter, Cameo 1, Sat 16, 5.30pm, £6 (£4).
Stephane Sednaoui Some of the most seminal music videos of the past few years, including Bjdrk’s Big Time Sensuality (above), are included in this retrospective of the French filmmaker and photographer. See Mirrorball feature, page 24. Stephane Sednaoui, Filmhouse 1, Mon 18, 9.30pm, £6 (£4).
John Hodge The Scottish writer of Trainspotting and Shallow Grave discusses his work in the inaugural Oscar Moore Guardian Interview. John Hodge, Filmhouse 1, Wed 20, noon, £6 (£4).
Sick: The Life And Death Of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist A sufferer of chronic cystic fibrosis discovers an extreme means of reclaiming his body through self- inflicted pain in this brave, moving documentary. Fi/mhouse 2, Mon 18, 8pm, £6 (£4).
15-21 Aug 1997 THE usr as