After an excellent start to the tenure of new artistic director Chris Fujiwara in 2012, the Edinburgh International Film Festival returns this June with a similarly promising, extremely eclectic line-up. Last summer I provided Sound on Sight’s first ever coverage of the event, the world’s longest continuously running film festival, and shall be continuing to do so in a few weeks time; the festival runs from June 19th to 30th.
Things kick off with the European premiere of Breathe In, following its debut at Sundance earlier this year. Drake Doremus’ follow-up to Like Crazy stars Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan and Kyle MacLachlan, and concerns the change in a family’s relationship dynamics when a foreign exchange student comes to stay. The closing gala film is romantic comedy Not Another Happy Ending, which receives its world premiere at the festival. The Glasgow-set film stars Doctor Who and Lost veterans Karen Gillan and Henry Ian Cusick, and features Gillan as a successful author struggling with writer’s block.
The Michael Powell Award strand focuses on both world and UK premieres of promising new British films. This year’s line-up includes Svengali, a feature spin-off of a popular web series, recent Cannes premiere For Those in Peril, and the already widely acclaimed documentary Leviathan. There’s also the world premiere of We Are the Freaks, a coming-of-age tale set right after the resignation of Margaret Thatcher from office, and featuring various stars of Skins, Kill List and This Is England.
Highlights of the International Competition strand include Argentinean film Noche, in which six friends of a late sound designer gather at his home to mourn and celebrate him, as loudspeakers play tapes of the man’s obsessive recordings. Iranian film Fat Shaker promises a surreal allegory, in which an obese man uses his deaf, attractive son as bait to con random women in the streets of Tehran. Another promising title is South Korean drama Juvenile Offender, which concerns a young man trying to ensure a stable life for his new family. South Korean cinema is also the focus of another strand, which features Sundance hit Jiseul and blockbuster The Berlin File. Sweden is another country with its own strand, with several new thrillers and true-life stories on offer, as well as a rare showing of the silent film Sir Arne’s Treasure.
V/H/S and Grabbers were among those in last year’s late-night, genre-focused Night Moves strand. This year’s line-up includes James Wan’s The Conjuring, Hideo Nakata’s The Complex, and Outpost 3, the third instalment of the Nazi zombie series. On the retrospective front, there’s half of American genre man Richard Fleischer’s filmography to catch, with the other half to be shown at Edinburgh Filmhouse in July; Soylent Green, The Boston Strangler and The Narrow Margin are among those showing. The other retrospective is of French director Jean Grémillon, who made films until the 1950s. The first UK showing of the 3D version of Jurassic Park will also take place at the festival, as well as an advance showing of Pixar prequel Monsters University.
The UK premiere of Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring is arguably the crown jewel of the American Dreams strand, which also features David Sedaris adaptation C.O.G. and psychological thriller Magic Magic, starring Juno Temple, Michael Cera and Emily Browning. The Films on Film strand includes Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction and Mark Cousins’ follow-up documentary to The Story of Film, which specifically explores the portrayal of children in film history.Other titles of particular interest to this writer include the Johnnie To-produced thriller Motorway, German western Gold, experimental noir The Last Time I Saw Macao, Wang Bing’s Three Sisters, Iranian sci-fi Taboor, Phillippe Grandreiux’s White Epilepsy, ghost story Longing for the Rain, and From Tehran to London, Mania Akbari’s follow-up to One Two One, which was my personal favourite film from last year’s instalment. Further information on the full line-up can be found through the festival’s website.