Archive for Edinburgh International Film Festival

Square Eyes

Posted in FILM with tags , on August 27, 2021 by dcairns

My poorest ever showing at Edinburgh International Film Festival — a single outdoor screening in St Andrews Square.

The film of course was CASABLANCA and the screen did a great job blasting it out in the face of blazing sunshine. The technology for outdoor screenings has improved immensely seemingly in just the last few years. Unfortunately the people operating them have remained at the same evolutionary stage so we had to watch the film in the wrong aspect ratio, and when we reported it they didn’t know what we were talking about. “It’s coming straight out of the DVD.”


The outdoor screenings are always of popular favourites — CASABLANCA was the oldest film shown, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN the second — they’re only sort of a part of the Film Fest and I don’t think anyone there is to blame, except maybe they should supervise more tightly.

A baby seagull landed on the screen at an opportune moment.

At the indoor events we really should have booked early for ANNETTE and LA STRADA but pandemic inertia and out-of-touchness prevented it.

Still, we enjoyed our revisit to studio North Africa, and a chance to see watch-party chums Donald and Nicola on the next deck chairs over.


Posted in FILM with tags , on September 2, 2020 by dcairns
The great Chaplin outbreak

I still have a couple of Henry Fondas to write up from Il Cinema Ritrovato online, but now there’s just time, while I’m busy with a Sight & Sound article (more later), to look back on the streaming film festival experience.

Watching three or four films or shorts programmes a day, the forty euro charge wound up fairly cheap. Of course we saved on the expense and hassle of flights and accommodation. But of course we missed out on the sunshine, conviviality, great food and Aperol spritzes of Bologna. Still, it is possible that if the possibility of online participation continued, some years we might stay home so as to attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival (which I miss badly), enjoying the rain, conviviality, home cooking and canned lager, and stream Bologna at the same time.

The streaming movies looked great, though there were a few interruptions to the flow, probably caused by our lousy internet service. There was a cross-section of different strands. I realize rights issues must make things difficult, but I was impressed at the number of Hollywood movies included. Ideally I’d like more of the shorts to stream, but some of those aren’t digitized I guess.

Still, it has to be said, not only can nothing replace the grand open-air screenings in the Piazza Maggiore, but nothing can replace the tiniest, stuffiest indoor screening at the Sala Scorsese with an overlong intro, live translation from a stressed-sounding woman blaring through an earpiece, and even the most basic piano accompaniment (and all the accompanists are well above basic level). More than any other film festival I know, Il Cinema Ritrovato is a LIVE EVENT.

Films + human beings.

The Plan

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2019 by dcairns

So, Edinburgh International Film Festival is just starting but we cannot attend! Today, critic and lady novelist Anne Billson arrives from the continent to flat-sit, cat-sit and attend on our behalf — interested parties can see and hear her in The Science of Scary panel discussion.

We jet off for Bologna first thing, or slightly before first thing, tomorrow morning. The fest there, Il Cinema Ritrovato, does not get started properly until Saturday, but on the Friday we have the opportunity to see a new documentary about Jean Gabin, and FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, newly restored. I’m hoping it’ll have the correct poster-paint blue skies and the mismatched dusk shots at the end will be lovingly preserved.

But I’m also tempted by a documentary about six P.A.’s from the glory days of Italian cinema — already this festival is offering tantalising choices!