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edinburgh film festival Blog reviews from the 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival, Jun.08
Blood Car   4/5  
dir Alex Orr
scr Alex Orr, Adam Pinney
with Mike Brune, Anna Chlumsky, Katie Rowlett, Matt Hutchinson, Marla Malcolm, Mr Malt, Matthew Stanton, Bill Szymanski
07/US 1h16 brune
blood car One festival highlight, sort of, was a late-night screening of this cheap-o horror comedy, shot on no budget at all by filmmaker Alex Orr, who was here to introduce the film and then offered a hyperactive, hysterical Q&A afterwards. The film is so badly made that it boggles the mind - with no sense at all of continuity, but a hilarious storyline (about a vegan who's trying to invent a motor that runs on wheatgrass, but inadvertently creates an engine that needs blood instead). Throw in some hilarious references to the high price of petrol and ubiquitous American federal agents, not to mention gratuitous sex and gore. I have a feeling it will probably become a cult classic.

19.Jun.08 eiff

Crack Willow   3/5
dir-scr Martin Radich
with Mark Bennett, Reg Bennett, Melanie Luby, Alexis Marshall-Maye, Ryan Mitchell
mark bennett
crack willow One late-night screening was the world premiere of this very dark British film that drifts into surreal David Lynch territory with subliminal cutaways and freakout images. Writer-director Martin Radich looked a bit Lynchian too as he introduced the film, which I think was about the anger and confusion that follows grief - but I can't be too sure. For adventurous filmgoers only.

21.Jun.08 eiff

Eden 4/5  
dir-scr Declan Recks
scr Eugene O'Brien
with Aidan Kelly, Eileen Walsh, Padraic Delaney, Karl Shiels, Lesley Conroy, Sarah Greene, Carolyn Murray, Brendan Kelleher
walsh and kelly
eden From Ireland, this warm, gentle drama examines a marriage at the point where everything seems to have turned stale. It's the week before the couple's 10th anniversary and both of them have some serious decisions to make. The film is made with remarkably insight into human behaviour, while capturing the local Irish culture. It's also stunningly well shot.

23.Jun.08 eiff

Goodnight Irene   3/5
dir-scr Paolo Marinou-Blanco
with Robert Pugh, Nuno Lopes, Rita Loureiro, Amadeu Caronho, Virgilio Gança
08/Por 1h38
lopes and pugh
goodnight irene This fascinating film shifts and changes as it goes, from a gentle comedy about two miss-matched neighbours who form a bond to a missing-person drama and finally a road movie about another miss-matched pair of friends. The characters are intriguing and very nicely played, although the film's odd structure leaves us feeling a little cold.

22.Jun.08 eiff

Eskalofrío 3.5/5  
dir Isidro Ortiz
scr Hernán Migoya, José Gamo, Alejandro Hernández, Isidro Ortiz
with Junio Valverde, Blanca Suárez, Jimmy Barnatán, Mar Sodupe, Francesc Orella
08/Sp 1h31
cowboy forever This effective Spanish thriller centres on a teen who's allergic to light, who moves with his mother to a remote village in a deep valley. Of course, the locals are wary of the newcomers, especially when the boy seems to be present at a series of vicious murders. Essentially this is yet another "there's something evil in the woods!" horror movies, but the filmmakers use the seetting brilliantly to crank up the tension.

23.Jun.08 eiff

Trouble Sleeping   4/5
dir Robert Rae
scr Ghazi Hussein, Robert Rae
with Wassim Abuglain, Seham Ali, Alia Alzougbi, Fouad Cherif, Nihat Kaya, Gary Lewis, Hassan Naama, Alison Peebles
08/UK 1h47
abuglain and alzougbi
trouble sleeping This provocative drama is about Muslim asylum seekers in Edinburgh that starts out feeling a little low-budget and clunky, then emerges with real emotional power as it examines a wide variety of issues and allows some of the cast members to dig very deep indeed, most notably Alia Alzougbi as a young mother with a dark secret. She was present at the screening with director Robert Rae, and was presented with an acting award.

20.Jun.08 eiff

Warsaw Dark
Izolator 3/5  
dir Christopher Doyle
scr Maciej Pisarek
with Anna Przybylska, Leslaw Zurek, Adam Ferency, Jan Frycz, Violetta Arlak, Jerzy Bonczak, Ewa Bukowska, Lukasz Simlat
08/Poland 1h25
warsaw dark Christopher Doyle's latest film as a director (he attended the festival with actress Anna Przybylska and cinematographer Rain Li). The film is a challenging story of political assassination, obsession and control, told with a fractured narrative that leaves us unable to make much sense of it. But it looks gorgeous, and carries an intriguingly emotive punch. The session afterwards was a lot more fun, as Doyle hopped around the stage posing and mugging and cracking jokes. He also gave insightful answers to the questions, and framed the film as a work of art like a painting, sculpture or jazz composition.

23.Jun.08 eiff

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