Throughout the years the EIFF has created many wonderful filmic memories. Always built around social interaction, not least the decadent parties, this is the first year post Covid that the fest can regain some of that lost ground. With a concentration on Scottish film and film-makers and international film, the 2022 edition looks to be as diverse and exciting as previous years, as you would hope and expect from a festival in its 75th year.
Opening gala Aftersun premiered at Cannes earlier this year, winning the French Touch Prize of the Jury. This, the debut from Scots director Charlotte Wells, has been garnering rave reviews, and is a drama concentrating on the memories of a young girl, played by Francesca Corio. Her performance has been highly praised.
Closing gala After Yang is a sci-fi drama that offers a meditation on the present day, despite being set in a future with technology we don’t currently have. Jake, played by the excellent Colin Farrell, has a daughter whose AI helper breaks. She is heartbroken, and this sets in motion a philosophical exploration that’s been compared to the work of director Andrei Tarkovsky. After Yang’s director Kogonada, hailing from South Korea, also curates a short programme of films his work is influenced by. These include After Life, Irma Vep, and the anime Your Name. The Powell and Pressburger strand features the new work by visionary Brit director Peter Strickland, whose The Duke of Burgundy enraptures.
Flux Gourmet sounds like it has all of the darkly comic and aesthetically sumptuous elements of his previous work, with a lot more laughs. Another surreal comedy but working within a very different framework, Filipino movie Leonor Will Never Die sounds right up my alley. Described as part love letter to cheesy Filipino action flicks of the 80s, and part meta fantasy, the film invites us into the world of a female action director who has seen better days. When she has an accident and slips into a coma, she lives out the world of the movies she made in her mind.
‘The Chamber’ strand celebrates culturally significant arthouse films, with period drama Nana standing out due to its setting in rural Indonesia from the 1940s to the 1960s. Mark Cousins, Becky Manson, and Aidan O’Rourke’s The Ballad of a Great Disordered Heart promises to be full of folk music tradition, celebrating the Irish communities of Edinburgh’s Old Town throughout the centuries. The old classic shown in this strand is none other than Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, the concert film to end all concert films concentrating on The Band’s last soiree in ‘76. A collective that began as Bob Dylan’s backing band, from the late 60s to the mid 70s The Band reinvented rock n roll with their rootsy, soulful style. With luminaries such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell involved, and with a new 4K restoration and the soundtrack overseen by Robbie Robertson, this screening will be one to savour.
Cult film gets its day with the ‘Night Moves’ strand, and with the world going doolally over Korean culture, here we have the new action thriller Special Delivery. Starring Parasite’s own Park So-dam as a female assassin, the movie has been compared to such cult classics as The Transporter. Representing sunny Scotland, there is a 20th anniversary 35mm screening of Lynne Ramsay’s masterful Morvern Callar.
There are 87 films being shown over the eight days, with the above being our special picks. Also worthy of your attention is the short film programme that remains on the cutting edge: events such as The Making of A Bear Named Wojtek (the Polish/UK animated film is to be screened later this year) and two retrospectives. These come in the form of Japanese director Kinuyo Tanaka’s work, and ‘Reframing the Gaze: Experiments In Women’s Filmmaking, 1972 to Now’, which will shed vital light on feminist film theory. EIFF is back with a bang, and here’s to many more nights talking, watching, and celebrating film.
Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from the 12th till the 20th of August, at various locations. For more information visit: edfilmfest.org.uk/edinburgh-international-film-festival