Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Fest Day 7: Family values

Kierston Wareing, Katie Jarvis, director Andrea Arnold and Harry Treadaway turned up for the premiere of their film Fish Tank at the Edinburgh International Film Festival yesterday. The Cannes-winner is a major candidate for a couple of awards here.

Meanwhile, I'm flying all day today - off to L.A. to attend the final days of the Los Angeles Film Festival. I always hate leaving London when it's this sunny and gorgeous here - but California sunshine isn't such a bad trade-off, eh? Besides, if you're going to sit in a darkened cinema, what difference does it make what's going on outside?

Here are a few highlights from the Edinburgh fest today...

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life
dir Rémi Bezançon, 08/France *****
This beautifully written, directed and performed drama traces the life of a family over 12 years - with scenes set on five key days over that period, each one centring on one family member. It's a simple idea, but the way it's put together is remarkably effective, as the film bristles with energy and humour, as well as some very dark emotions. And in the end, it's almost overwhelmingly moving in all the right ways. > FULL REVIEW

El Niño Pez (The Fish Child)
dir Lucia Puenzo, 09/Argentina ****
After her remarkable film debut XXY, Puenzo returns with an intriguing film that seems on the surface like a genre thriller, but is actually something much deeper. Her excellent lead actress Inez Efron is back as a rich girl who falls in love with her indigenous maid, and the two plan a daring escape from society, Thelma & Louise-style. But things don't go to plan, and when the girls are separated, their individual journeys actually bring them closer together. They also highlight some extremely serious social and racial issues in Latin America. And Puenzo shoots and edits it together like a lush dream. > FULL REVIEW

Easier With Practice
dir Kyle Patrick Alvarez, 09/US ****
This is Brian Geraghy's second film at the Edinburgh fest (he also stars in The Hurt Locker), but this is a much bigger role: he plays a nerdy writer who is paralysed by fear at the thought of meeting a woman. So when a mystery girl with a sexy voice calls him one night, he launches into what he thinks is a real relationship - but without ever meeting in person, isn't it just about phone sex? The film is one of those slightly over-quirky American indies that annoys us as much as it engages our sympathies (and makes us laugh at these oddball people). But there are some solid twists and turns in the plot, some terrific side characters and a surprising sting in the tail.

No comments: