Archive for Edinburgh International Film Festival

Online

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!

Fliegender Zirkus

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , on March 2, 2018 by dcairns

Tatort is a German cop show that’s been running forever. It can get pretty wild — one would suggest it had entered its decadent phase, except that they had Sam Fuller on it to direct an episode entitled DEAD PIGEON ON BEETHOVEN STREET in 1973 so one has to assume it’s always been that way.

Dominik Graf, maestro of the modern krimi, has directed several episodes. By chance, I obtained a 1995 show he helmed, set at the onset of a blizzard — the perfect viewing for this snowswept March. Decadence this time includes bizarre red herrings like a housing estate where butterflies never go out of season, and a series of references to Monty Python sketches. When the first one showed up (above), it made me momentarily wonder if the Eric the Half a Bee sketch was telling the truth and Marcel Proust really DID have a haddock. I wouldn’t put it past him.

And then we get this — 

Excellent plotting, as in all Graf’s stuff. I interviewed him once at the Edinburgh Film Fest but the stupid machine didn’t record.

Here’s how you do a great mystery, apparently: come up with a good crime. Then work backwards, disguising what really happened under layers of obfuscation, until you arrive at the inciting incident, which also has to be intriguing and unusual. I can never manage to write backwards. I start with a good clue, and then i can’t solve it, or else it leads to a disappointing solution. Backwards is the only way to go. If I could find a co-writer with the backwards ability, I could RULE THE WORLD.