Edinburgh International Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday, but I’m already sinking into the timeless vortex of Press & Industry Screenings. And I’ve seen a few things as submissions editor and at previews. Here are two that play on Thursday, when things really kick off –
GATTU is an Indian kids’ film which is charming but with an interesting edge. Gattu wants to be champion kite flyer in his neighbourhood — at any cost. It’s rare to see a movie for young people which invites you to question the protagonist’s actions. It’s like The Cat in the Hat’s final question — “What would you do?” I think kids will get a kick out of Gattu’s barefaced naughtiness.
Completely contrasting: EVELYN is about human trafficking and the darkest side of the sex trade. I’m partly responsible for this one getting programmed, so blame me if it ruins your day. It’s grim alright, but suspenseful and compelling and the heroine is no passive victim. Director Isabel de Ocampo systematically undercuts any attempt to escape by disengaging from her struggle, and rather than being a purely realist social issues film, her movie acquires the outlines of a Lynchian nightmare… The fact that this is so definitely not my kind of thing, and yet I was compelled to recommend it for screening, may give you a clue to its undeniable impact.
Here’s to a fine Festival — expect erratic posting!