Highlights of the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival

The 2012 installment of the Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from June 20th to July 1st, and marks the return of major awards of incarnations prior to 2011’s edition. This year’s line-up is distinctive in its feeling of being a heavily curated affair courtesy of artistic director Chris Fujiwara, rather than just a selection of films out in a few months time (though there’s still a few of those, obviously). I will be providing Sound on Sight’s first ever coverage of EIFF over the coming weeks, and this year’s line-up is an especially enticing blend of buzz films, intriguing retrospectives, global or international premieres, and an array of eclectic content.

The Michael Powell Award honours the best British film selected from the British Gala section, and the competition will include documentaries for the first time. Documentary The Imposter, a hit at Sundance, receives its UK premiere, as does James Marsh’s IRA drama Shadow Dancer, starring Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough and Aidan Gillen. World premieres in competition include the UK remake of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher, executive-produced by the director himself, and Berberian Sound Studio, in which a British sound technician (Toby Jones) finds his psyche warping while working on an Italian horror film in the 1970s.


Among the highlights of entrants for the International Competition is Miguel Gomes’ Tabu, the critical hit of Berlinale earlier this year, receiving its UK premiere at EIFF. Also of particular appeal to this writer are family drama The Unspeakable Act, and the Chinese alienation film Here, Then, the latter receiving its world premiere. Also in competition is a documentary likely to be especially popular due to its subject matter, The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus, from the director of The People vs. George Lucas.

Special screenings throughout the festival include the opening and closing night gala films, which are William Friedkin’s Killer Joe and Pixar’s Brave respectively, both receiving their UK premieres with cast members and crew, including Friedkin, likely attending. There’s also The Fourth Dimension, a collaborative effort between Harmony Korine, Aleksei Fedorchenko and Jan Kwiecinski, a showing of the digitally restored Lawrence of Arabia, and a screening of short films, from the likes of Mike Leigh and Lynne Ramsay, commissioned for the London Olympic games. Late night screenings include Quentin “Mr. Oizo” Dupieux’s Wrong, Eddie – The Sleepwalking Cannibal, and horror anthology V/H/S. Film-making talents like Thelma Schoonmaker, Robert Carlyle and Wang Bing will also be taking part in special non-screening events throughout the festival.


In addition to Lawrence of Arabia, as well as free outdoor screenings of popular favourites prior to the festival’s official start, EIFF hosts various spotlights and retrospectives. The former includes a showcase of some films by the aforementioned Wang Bing and Shinya Tsukamoto, including restored prints of the latter’s cult favourites Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer. On the retrospective front, there’s half of Hollywood director Gregory La Cava‘s work to catch, including My Man Godfrey, prior to further screenings of his filmography at Edinburgh Filmhouse later in July. Perhaps most interesting of all the strands is a retrospective of the relatively unknown Shinji Somai, advertised as a neglected master of Japanese cinema and a noticeable influence on the likes of Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

Further appealing strands include focuses on Denmark and the Philippine New Wave, and a selection of films about filmmaking, the latter including Anton Corbijn: Inside Out, Mark Cousins’ What Is This Film Called Love?, and the long underseen We Can’t Go Home Again from director Nicholas Ray; Susan Ray’s documentary on that last film and Ray himself, Don’t Expect Too Much, will also be screening.

PP Rider (Shinji Somai retrospective)

Further information on the massive, varied line-up can be found through the festival’s website. I am very much looking forward to experiencing and covering what looks to be an especially great selection of films.

Josh Slater-Williams

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