Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You'll believe a Scotsman can fly

Greetings from lovely sunny Edinburgh, 2nd full day here, and day 3 of the festival. Very quick post to get up to date, pictures to follow once I get online at the flat.

First night - went to the opening gala film, which was "The Flying Scotsman", the story of cyclist Graeme Obree, world champion on a bike he designed himself and built partly out of washing machine parts. It was a nice, enjoyable film, first feature for director Douglas MacKinnon, very much in the "plucky underdog takes on world and wins" mold. Jonny Lee Miller was good as the obsessed Obree (who was actually there that night - must be odd seeing your life on screen). Billy Boyd played his mate and manager, and seems to be carving out a nice line in "faithful sidekick to plucky underdog" roles, because it's essentially the part he played in last year's "On A Clear Day". Laura Fraser and Brian Cox also were in the film, well played but somewhat underdeveloped roles.

Then to the party - free beer and a burger, not bad, did a bit of mingling and then home to the flat, which is very lovely but in the middle of a building site. When they said "some apartments may overlook building work" what they actually meant was "you will be woken at 7 each morning when the heavy machinery gets going."

Now I must run to another film - will be back later to review last night's films, and report on my first ever blog- meet! (Hello Tim!)

And it's later so I'm back - missed a discussion I was supposed to be at, as part of the Film Studies Summer School I'm doing at Edinburgh University this week - I had a quick meeting with someone in the Industry Office to talk about Echoes, was late for the discussion group and by the time I got to the Uni, the group had gone to the park to work - wandered round the park, they're nowhere in sight. So I'm back in the delegate centre.

Guess I'll never know what they thought of "Voices of Bam", last night's film. I thought it was one of the dullest films I've ever sat through in my life. An essentially fascinating idea, about how people in the Iranian city of Bam are recovering from the devastating earthquake which killed 30,000 people out of a population of 100,000, for me was completely squashed lifeless by the sluggish, boring style of filming, and by an episodic approach which showed bits of people's lives but with no explanations or context. Other people seemed to like it, telling the director, Aliona van der Horst, at the Q+A afterwards how "brilliant" it was, but I didn't see that brilliance. I felt it was a massive missed opportunity.

Then I saw "Apart From That", an American film (written and directed by Jennifer Shainin and Randy Walker) very much in the same category as "You and Me and Everyone We know", in fact in some ways having very similar ideas to Miranda July's film. The film made it appear that suburban America is populated by deeply strange people who are living disconnected lives of quiet desperation, in its look at a disparate group of individuals living in a small town (not sure where). I liked the style of filming, but found myself longing for a story - I'm afraid this anti-narrative approach doesn't do much for me. But if you liked "You and Me ..." you'll like this.

This morning, went to a talk by Shane Danielsen, director of the Festival, about the Mitchell Leisen retrospective which he's curated. Fascinating talk, by someone obviously passionate about his subject. Really really enjoyable morning. Then saw "Hands Across the Table", a Leisen film with Carole Lombard and Fred McMurray, which was one of those classic screwball 1930s romantic comedies that just don't get made any more. Good fun, beautifully done.

Two more films tonight.

And now I'm going for a beer.


Blogger Stacie said...

Hi Sal! Glad you made it and are already having an interesting time. :)

2:23 pm  
Blogger Nez said...

Enjoy your beer. I'm doing the same.


9:35 pm  

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