Edinburgh Set To Launch With A 'Goldmine' On Sunday
by Mark Rabinowitz
Sunday, August 16th marks the launch of the 52nd Edinburgh Film
Festival, with the "longest continually running film festival in the
world" kicking off with Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine," starring Ewan
McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette, Christian Bale and Eddie
Izzard. The closing night film will be the French film, "La Vie Revee
Des Anges" ("The Dream Life Of Angels") by Erick Zonca, starring Elodie
Bouchez, Natacha Regnier and Gregoire Colin.
Dubbed "the only film festival...worth a damn" by renowned filmmaker
John Huston, this festival screens hundreds of films each year,
including screening "either on screen or on video, every British fiction
feature and short film completed in the previous year," at the New
British Expo (NBX). Founded in 1995, the NBX was the first and only UK
marketplace for new British films, and has become a key stop for British
filmmakers and distributors from around the world.
World premieres at the festival of more than 300 features and shorts
include the UK Premiere of Paul McGuigan's "The Acid House Trilogy,"
based on writer Irvine Welsh ("Trainspotting")'s anthology and starring
Ewen Bremner ("Trainspotting"), Martin Clunes, Jemma Redgrave, and
Irvine Welsh and "Bedrooms And Hallways," Rose Troche's follow up to her
critically-acclaimed "Go Fish," starring Kevin McKidd, Jennifer Ehle and
Simon Callow ("Four Weddings and a Funeral"). Both films are screening in
the "Spotlight on British Cinema" section, which also includes the UK
premieres of Sandra Goldbacher's "The Governess," starring Minnie
Driver, Tom Wilkinson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Harriet Walter and the
already buzz-heavy thriller "Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels,"
directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Dexter
Fletcher, Jason Statham, Sting and Vinnie Jones.
A particularly interesting section of the festival is Scene by Scene,
where directors, actors, writers and others involve a live audience in
an intensive look into their creative process. This year's lineup
includes filmmaker Atom Egoyan and composer Mychael Danna giving a look
inside the collaboration between a director and composer on Egoyan's
film "Exotica"; director Terry Gilliam ("The Fisher King") discussing
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Brazil"; Todd Haynes; costume
designer Sandy Powell discussing the "dandy-esque historical thread from
'Orlando' through 'Interview With the Vampire' to 'Velvet Goldmine'";
U.S. producer Christine Vachon ("Swoon," "Kids," "Safe"), and actors Tim
Roth and Ray Winstone, who will discuss the work of director Alan
Clarke, subject of this year's festival retrospective.
Clarke, described in a festival release as "arguably Britain's most
influential, but least seen filmmaker," died in 1990 at the age of 55
after helping to launch the careers of some of Great Britain's most
talented young actors, including Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Ray Winstone,
Phil Daniels, David Thewlis and Jane Horrocks. Films screening in the
retrospective include, among others, "Baal," a 1982 teleplay of Bertolt
Brecht's earliest play, starring David Bowie in the lead; "Made In
Britain," a 1982 film starring Tim Roth in his screen debut; "Scum,"
Clarke's 1979 debut feature, starring Ray Winstone ("Nil By Mouth"),
Mick Ford ("How To Get Ahead in Advertising"), John Judd and Phil
Daniels ("Quadrophenia"), and "The Firm," Clarke's last film, which
stars Gary Oldman.
The Rosebud section, offering "bold, daring, shocking and imaginative
new films from first and second-time filmmakers" offers up several UK
and European premieres, including Lisa Cholodenko's "High Art," Joe
Carnahan's "Blood, Guts, Bullets And Octane," Daniel Alfredson's "Tic
Tac," Darren Aronofsky's "Pi," Jonas Elmer's "Let's Get Lost," and Marc
Levin's "Slam," the star of which, Saul Williams, will take part in a
poetry slam on August 19th, sponsored by the film festival and the
Edinburgh Book Festival.
Another special event taking place at this year's fest is Cinema Under
the Stars, first presented at the festival in 1996, and returning this
year. Running for three nights from August 2-23, this free series of
screenings will comprise of films by Terry Gilliam, with "Time Bandits,"
"Brazil" and "12 Monkeys" all screening. Gilliam's latest effort, "Fear
and Loathing in Las Vegas" is receiving its UK premiere at a gala
screening during the fortnight.
[A complete list of films screening and an in-depth look at the various
sections of the festival can be found on their web site at: