Friday, May 08, 2009

63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival

The fest will run from June 17 to 28 and will showcase 135 features from 23 countries. From the many sections –they call them strands- here are the films in the main competitive section that lists UK films that we will be looking for to watch eventually.

British Gala

A Boy Called Dad, Brian Percival, 2009
When he becomes a father at the tender age of 14, Robbie’s life quickly spirals out of control. Feeling angry and neglected by his own dad, he kick-starts a series of events that will catapult him at great speed into adulthood.

Boogie Woogie, Duncan Ward, 2009
Featuring a stunning international cast engaged in an alarming array of wicked behaviour, this ensemble drama pushes buttons and boundaries. Adapted by Danny Moynihan from his own novel, Duncan Ward’s daring and accomplished debut circles heartless agents, self-seeking artists, corrupt dealers and sexual predators of all persuasions, through escalating crises and towards a shattering conclusion.

Crying With Laughter, Justin Molotnikov, 2009
Things are looking good for stand-up comedian Joey – his foul-mouthed act has drawn interest from people in high places. Then he tells one little gag about an old school pal, who just happens to be in the audience, and things begin to unravel – suddenly Frank is everywhere Joey goes, wanting to talk about the old days... A bold low-budget thriller from Scotland, with a powerhouse performance by McCole

Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold, 2009
Fifteen-year-old Mia is at war with everything: her family, her school, the girls on her estate. Her one release is dancing, a passion that she practices in secret. Things change when her mother introduces charismatic new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) – but Arnold’s subtle and unpredictable script keeps us guessing as to just what influence the newcomer will bring to bear.

Kicks, Lindy Heymann, 2008
Lindy Heymann’s gripping and thought-provoking feature stars Nichola Burley and newcomer Kerrie Hayes as Liverpudlian teenagers devoted to their favorite football player, Lee. When Lee’s move to Spain is announced, the girls resolve to change his mind – by any means necessary. A tense thriller that provides sharp and eloquent comment on WAG culture, beautifully shot by Eduardo Grau.

Mad, Sand & Bad, Avie Luthra, 2009
Avie Luthria, a practicing psychiatrist, makes his debut as a writer/director with this warm but unsentimental comic portrait of a family in minor meltdown. The title refers to terms used in psychology to define dysfunctional behavior, but also to the three siblings at the heart of the story: increasingly eccentric writer Atul self-seeking shrink Hardeep and depressed spinster Rashmi Can these lost souls get back on track?

Moon, Duncan Jones, 2008
Sam has almost reached the end of his three-year solo posting mining fuel from the moon for use on Earth. Connected to his wife and daughter only via videophone conversations, he’s had ample time to reflect on his past – but there’s no denying that his mind has begun to play tricks on him. And as his return date approaches, things in Sam’s contained world take a very startling turn...

My Last Five Girlfriends, Julian Kemp, 2008
Just what factors contribute to the demise or survival of a modern relationship? Duncan, for one, doesn’t care any more. He’s through with love. But just before he checks out of the whole game, he wants to share some lessons from his recent romantic adventures... In the tradition of Stephen Frears’ High Fidelity, this smart, imaginative comedy provides a male viewpoint on the single life.

Running In Traffic, Dale Corlett, 2009
Although they have never met, Joe and Kayla have much in common. As they each struggle with their own personal demons, their mirrored lives simultaneously spiral into darker, more dangerous worlds. Featuring strong performances (including a menacing turn from Kenneth Cranham), a script that cleverly employs sparse, effective use of dialogue, and the kind of stark, atmospheric cinematography that exposes the honesty of emotion, this is a brave and powerful work.

The Calling, Jan Dunn, 2009 (interesting, from the director of Gypo...)
Frustrated by her relationship, and driven to explore her long buried religious feelings, Joanna (Emily Beecham) takes the unfashionable step of entering a convent. The cloistered life proves surprisingly active, however, with the nuns abuzz with secret rivalries and tensions, and Joanna’s past steadfastly refusing to remain behind her... With exquisite performances from Beecham and co-star Brenda Blethyn, Jan Dunn’s warm and insightful drama gets to the heart of a hidden world.

Unmade Beds, Alexis Dos Santos, 2009
Alexis Dos Santos' vivid, seductive second feature follows its endearing metropolitan drifters around a wholly persuasive nocturnal landscape of grubby flatshares, hipster warehouse parties and drug-related instant friendships. Fernando Tielve and Déborah François play Axl and Vera, a peripatetic Spanish naïf and New Wave-y Belgian heartbreaker trying to forge their respective paths to happiness. With shades of both Michel Gondry and Wong Kar-wei, this is an idiosyncratic, atmospheric and absolutely winning anti-romance.

Here is a selection from the fest other strands with movies that I’m looking forward to watch.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Rebecca Miller, USA, 2008
A move to a retirement community for the super-rich with her much older, successful publisher husband triggers something of a nervous breakdown in Rebecca Miller’s eponymous heroine (Robin Wright Penn), in this fine adaptation of her own novel. Miller makes the most of her illustrious ensemble cast – Alan Arkin, Keanu Reeves, Julianne Moore, Winona Ryder – in this witty and intelligent drama about why we become what we become.

El Niño Pez (The Fish Child), Lucia Puenzo, Argentina, Spain, France, 2009
Wealthy teenager Lala (XXY’s Ines Efron) is in love, but it’s safe to say her parents won’t approve of her choice: the object of her affections is the family’s feisty young Paraguayan housemaid, Ailin (Mariela Vitale). Based upon Puenzo’s own novel, this twisty and atmospheric tale takes the two girls from the realm of blissful romantic fantasy into an all-too-real world of crime, violence and sexual jealousy.

Katalin Varga, Peter Strickland, Romania, UK, and Hungary, 2008
At once a road movie, a revenge narrative and a compassionate study of the drawn-out effects of trauma, Peter Strickland’s Transylvania-set drama is a remarkable achievement. Hilda Péter plays the titular rural woman, whose life is irrevocably altered when she reveals a violent secret from her past. Kicked out by her husband, Katalin sets out to confront her demons – an odyssey which draws her into danger, uncertainty and possible redemption.

To check all the films, shorts and docs please go here.

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