Archive for Matt Hulse

The Final Stretch

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on June 28, 2013 by dcairns


At this point in the Film Festival, nearer the end than the beginning, I always feel I’ve seen hardly anything, I always seem to have missed the films everyone’s talking about, though this year I did at least catch I AM BREATHING, led to it partly by the fact that it’s made by friends. It’s also brilliant. It may get a national release.

Yesterday I saw another friend’s film, DUMMY JIM by Matt Hulse, based on the published journal of James Duthie, a deaf Scotsman who in 1951 cycled to the Arctic Circle (he set off for Morocco but it was getting too hot as he neared Spain so he changed his mind). Duthie’s homespun, naive reactions to the people and places he encounters form just one layer of a playful, experimental film which creates a kind of magical simultaneity — as Duthie rides North, the actor playing the role records his VO in a Ramones T-shirt, a tombstone is carved for the real man, a commemorative certificate is hand-drawn (mega-closeups of cross-hatching form a 3D landscape, ink-lines bulging wetly from paper), pastries are prepared, and a school play is rehearsed in Duthie’s hometown (or near it). All this interwoven with Duthie’s 16mm home movies of his 3000-mile trip.

DUMMY JIM (OFFICIAL TRAILER) Directed by Matt Hulse from Matt Hulse on Vimeo.

Several years and at least one gear in the making, DUMMY JIM is a triumph of originality and probably the most charming Scottish film since Bill Forsyth’s heyday. As a deaf Scottish cyclist, my Dad really needs to see this film, but he’s broken his arm coming off his bike and can’t go. But  you’ll be there, yes?


Me at the Q&A after the first screening of NATAN, holding the Natan mask.

Tomorrow — NATAN screens again. Industry screening in morning, public in the evening (8:30). Please come to the public if you have the choice — tickets still available. We have reports of tears being shed by strong men and women, but nobody is depressed — righteously angry, maybe, but also inspired.

Plus, despite a scarcity of press coverage at this year’s festival, we have two good reviews: 1 and 2.


Lenick Philippot, Bernard Natan’s grand-daughter; yours truly; co-director Paul Duane; Diane Henderson of EIFF.

The Daily Notebook and the Annual Film Festival

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by dcairns


Edinburgh International Film Festival has commenced!

But first, The Forgotten, and a silent clown / special effects genius awaits your discovery (with video) over at The Daily Notebook.

Screening today in Edinburgh, I AM BREATHING, the emotionally devastating — but ultimately life-affirming and often funny — documentary by my friends Morag McKinnon and Emma Davie (6pm, Filmhouse 1). It deals with the slow death of an exact contemporary of mine from Edinburgh College of Art, Neil Platt, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. He wrote an amazing blog about his approach to the end, and left this filmic record of his existence partly as a way for his infant son to eventually know him.

Also showing (8.55, Cineworld) another friend’s film, DUMMY JIM by Matt Hulse, which I haven’t yet seen but I’m sure going to. I trust the sensibility. Hope to see some of you there!

What else? Oh yes — limericks of FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, here and (co-authored) here. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the site!

Festival Round-Up/Fatigue

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by dcairns



PAPER SOLDIER: Alexey German Jnr’s intense snapshot of the early Russian space programme. Epically visionary style, like Tarkovsky fed through Fellini and dusted with Jancso. Apple juice with Jonathan Romney beforehand. He says it contains his favourite recent subtitle: “Why did you pour soup on that poor dentist’s head?” He’s right, it does.

INUKSHUK: As recommended by Shadowplayer Zach Rosenau, this short animation has a striking graphic style without losing characterisation, and a beautiful sense of cartoon gravity — it’s not the kind of gravity where Wile E Coyote runs off a cliff and stands in mid-air for a second before realising the problem and plummeting to the canyon floor. It’s new. It’s gravity with a graphic logic behind it — a giant whale vaulting overhead draws a little Inuit kid up into the air by force of its large and dark bulk.


DAYS AND NIGHTS IN THE FOREST: Mark Cousins has turned a local church hall into a kind of Indian movie temple for a celebration of Bengali cinema. The iconic Sharmila Tagore was there to introduce this movie, which she made forty years ago with Satyajit Ray. Ray phoned up and she said yes without thinking, then realised she was making another feature at the same time. The lesser director had to shoot all her scenes in a studio and match them to his location shots. “He wanted to kill me.” Sharmila is still breathtakingly beautiful.

AN EVENING WITH DON HERZFELDT: Don makes dark and touching and funny short animations. Oh, and terrifying. He’s in town, selling his DVDs. I must have one. You should buy one too. A unique voice! Here’s a single-frame sample.


Now imagine several thousand of these frames, all different. Some only a little different. Some very different. That’s a Don Herzfeldt film.

FOLLOW THE MASTER: Debut feature from occasional Shadowplayer Matt Hulse. Matt and his girlfriend and their dog go for a walk. It doesn’t sound like much of a narrative, but he packs a lot in. An interweaving of documetary/journal with experimental film.

WIDE OPEN SPACES: Edinburgh’s own Ewen Bremner (Spud in TRAINSPOTTING) stars with Ardal O’Hanlon (Dougal in Father Ted) in a comedy by Ted scribe Arthur Mathews. Two debt-ridden losers take work in an Irish famine theme park. A lot of good jokes and performances, although not everything comes together to make this the new WITHNAIL AND I, which is what it ought to be by rights. Truly awesome performance from Don Wycherley though. I didn’t know him before this.

Sat next to my friend Travis Reeves during the screening. Travis did all the gravel in this film. Next to Travis was the chap who did all the wind. And there is a lot of both those things in this film.

John Cobban, who mixed the sound, wants me to say that the sound system at the Cameo Cinema is inadequate.

Bumped into Sarah Bremner, sister of the film’s star. Sarah was art director on my film CRY FOR BOBO, and is a champion forehead wrestler.

Keep seeing Peter McDougall, whose TV work from the ’70s is being retrospected. McDougall has the world’s most powerful moustache. If he were in the Wild West, strong men would build him a temple.


SHIRIN: Abbas Kiarostami’s minimalist film of an audience watching an unseen film, had its own audience rapt with attention, even through to the very end of the end credits. I did wonder if it would be more stimulating to turn around and look at my audience watching his audience, but decided against this.

Get home and try to kill spiders in the bathroom at 00.34am.

Fiona: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Trying to kill spiders in the bathroom.”

Fiona: “We’ve got spiders? More than one?”

Me: “Three.”

Fiona: “Three? Are they breeding?”

Me: “Don’t think so. They’re a bit too far apart.”