Thursday, 17 June 2010

EIFF 2: Offline

There seems to be some sort of internet gremlin on the loose at the festival today as I have been unable to get online anywhere - the festival office and press centre and even the delegate lounge had no connectivity. As a result I am typing this on my phone and can't include a photo from last night's glittering opening night red carpet (added later: festival patron SirSean Connery works the crowd). Suffice it to say that it was a starry night, warm and sunny until midnight. Of course I had alternate plans, dashing to Glasgow instead to see the kick of of the Scissor Sisters' new tour - in a word: fabulous.

Here are some film highlights today...

Family Tree
dir Ducastel/Martineau 10/Fr ****
This sleek and classy French drama centres on a family struggling with grief when a rather big skeleton comes clattering out of the closet. It grapples with all kinds of important issues, most notably how we work to give our families a sheen of normality when "normal" is a myth. Fine performances and deep, gorgeous photography make the film thoroughly involving.

Pelican Blood
with Harry Treadaway, Emma Booth 10/UK ***
A dark drama about a suicidal bird-watcher might be a hard sell commercially, but this film is sensitively well made and very nicely acted by Treadaway as a young man caught between his emotions, his twitcher pals and his activist girlfriend (Booth), who seems to have a death wish herself - indeed, they met on a suicide website. The film is a little too morose for it's own good, but is worth a look.

World's Greatest Dad
dir Bobcat Goldthwait; with Robin Williams 09/US ****
Robin Williams gives one of his best performances in years in this super-black comedy about a man who does somethig pretty unthinkable. ... MORE >

The Last Rites of Ransom Pride
with Dwight Yoakam, Jon Foster 10/US **
So highly stylised that it isn't remotely believable, this convoluted Western follows its bitter characters into Mexico and back to resolve old feuds, and so forth. It's dark and grim and annoyingly overplayed, but there are moments that hold the interest.

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