Tag Archives: EIFF

In Conclusion: The Best and Worst of the Edinburgh International Film Festival

After almost two weeks of festival events and screenings, I have posted over 30 items about the festival.  So here is a breakdown of all the films, ranked along the scale: Awesome, Good, Eh…, Bad.  Click the title of the film to read the review.

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Arvin Chen discusses filmmaking, writing, and New Wave influences for Au Revoir Taipei

After seeing the delightful Au Revoir Taipei at the Edinburgh Film Fest, I had a chance to sit down and talk to the director about romantic comedies, French New Wave influences, and challenges as a writer. Continue reading

“The Oath” opens closed doors

It has become a standard documentary trope to bring cultural clarity by focusing on an otherwise unknown subject (often poor, non-white, oppressed); we get to know these people personally and therefore break down cultural barriers .  What happens, then, when the character doesn’t even know himself? The Oath‘s analysis of Osama Bin Laden’s former bodyguard, Abu Jandal, is fascinating for, if nothing else, Jandal’s ability to deliver self-contradiction with such sincerity. Continue reading

“Winter’s Bone” Director Q & A (no spoilers)

I know the video quality isn’t great (my camera can’t handle low light situations), but I figure it might be worth the audio to interested parties.

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EIFF Daily Roundup (part 11)

*The Dry Land drops some PTSD knowledge

*Soul Boy is a lot of fun

*Restrepo is mildly depressing.

PTSD at the heart of “The Dry Land”

There are quite a few war films, but not many that concern a soldier’s life when he returns to the real world (Born on the 4th of July, Deer Hunter, Rambo).  What sets The Dry Land apart is its direct engagement with how war-induced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects a soldier’s life and those around him. Continue reading

EIFF Daily Roundup (part 9)

* Only killed one thing when spending an afternoon with The Hunter

*and then took a trip to Snowman’s Land

*Spoiler free Q & A with the Monsters cast and crew.

other news

I utilized the EIFF’s videotheque to check out the above titles.  While I was bored during parts of The Hunter I would look around at what other people were watching.  One guy was just loving his film, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.  I was delighted to see a lot of people watch Au Revoir Taipei and HIGH School.

The person next to me was watching Snowman’s Land and after seeing an old man run in the snow in slow-motion and someone about to (what looked like) get their foot chopped off, I was curious how it all fit together (and figured it would be better than what I just watched).

If you’re in the Edinburgh area this weekend, you should try to get tickets for the Best of the Fest.  On Sunday they’ll screen a selection of films from the festival and some of my favorites will be showing.  So now that you’ve read my reviews, you can check out Monsters, Au Revoir Taipei, Jackboots on Whitehall, or The People vs George Lucas.  Click here for Sunday’s films.

reviews to come

The Dry Land, Soul Boy, Restrepo

I didn’t know there was so much blood in “Snowman’s Land”

Walter’s a regular guy: he wakes up, eats some food and goes to work – killing people.  However, when Walter whacks the wrong guy in a men’s bathroom, his boss puts him on hiatus.  One of his hitman colleagues, Francois, tells him to take a job in the mountains: get some fresh air, time away from the world, relaxation!  Of course, vacations never turn out as you expect and given Walter’s line of work, the unexpected can be lethal. Continue reading

The Hunter

Like Police, Adjective, The Hunter is a slow-paced film which probably has more cultural significance than viewers outside its place of origin will recognize.

Ali Alavi, an ex-con who works the night shift, comes home to find his daughter and wife missing.  Ali goes to the police and discovers they were killed by gunfire between police and a rebel group.  Taking his rifle, he goes up to a hill and hunts cars on the freeway.

The film takes its time to arrive at the two main plot points and after he starts shooting cars, you’re not really sure why this is his reaction to the death of his wife and child.  It might be interesting to discuss the decisions made at the conclusion, but other than that, there’s not a strong engagement with the audience.  Very few characters interact with Ali, so we spend most of the time watching his moody mug go to his boring job, look for his family, and MINOR SPOILER run from the police SPOILER OVER.

None of this would be a problem if the audience were thrown more breadcrumbs to understand the character’s motivations – but something tells me there’s a cultural significance to the killing of his family by police/rebels that audiences outside of Tehran can’t grasp.

If you liked Hanake’s opaque Cache (Hidden), I’m sure you’ll love this.  For the rest of us, we’ll pass.

Edinburgh Film Fest Daily Roundup (part 7)

*Police, Adjective teaches me the finer points of the Romanian dictionary

*Putty Hill displays clunky melancholy

*Cigarette Girl has some issues

*Vindication finally arrives with some insider info on the production of Public Enemies

other news

The three films listed above were excruciating to watch out of the hardcore boredom factor.  It didn’t help that I watched them back-to-back.

My reviews may prove interesting for Police, Adjective‘s discussion of Romanian politics or Cigarette Girls issues of sex and violence, but they aren’t worth watching.

The unlucky selection of such bad films make me concerned for the rest of the festival.  As mentioned in the Police, Adjective review, there are films specifically known as “festival films.”  These are bad films with no distributor interest that get a few screenings as festival filler.

After the weekend, I’ve noticed fewer industry and press people around the festival, which increases my concern.  The strongest parts of the fest were definitely on display in the first five days, but this week includes a greater number of lesser known films.

reviews to come

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror (an audio film of his story), My Son My Son What Have Ye Done?