Friday, 17 June 2011

EIFF Day 2: Boys will be boys

The 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival continues in mostly sunny Scotland, with its rather off-beat programme enticing curious filmgoers. Critics are a bit more mixed - there aren't many of us here, and all of us have found some real gems (my best so far is the documentary Calvet) and duds (the disappointing Mackenzie-McGregor reunion Perfect Sense) - both will be reviewed over the next few days, The last of an actual festival atmosphere is also a problem, as the press facilities are pretty basic and there haven't been any starry parties to speak of. So we buckle down to work and watch the films themselves instead. Here are a few of today's highlights...

Bobby Fischer Against the World
dir Liz Garbus; with Bobby Fischer, Henry Kissinger 11/US ****
Strikingly well-assembled, this straightforward doc chronicles the chess champ's life using first-hand reminiscences and a wealth of historical footage. It's surprising, involving and ultimately very moving... FULL REVIEW >>

Our Day Will Come
dir Romain Gavras; with Vincent Cassel, Olivier Bartelmy 10/Fr ***
This outrageous and bizarrely comical thriller asks us to accept one simple fact: life in France is so bad for bullied redheads that they want to escape. And in the case of Patrick and Remy (Cassel and Barthelmy), they'll do a bit of damage before they go. The film is thoroughly gripping, audaciously funny and grotesquely violent as we follow this odd couple - a jaded therapist and a frazzled teen - on a more-than-slightly crazed road trip. It's also very entertaining, mainly because we haven't a clue what kind of mayhem they'll throw themselves into next. Yes, it feels rather made up as it goes along, but it also has a whiff of gonzo genius about it.

Truth About Men
dir Nicolas Arcel; with Thure Lindhardt, Tuva Novotny 10/Den ****
A witty exploration of the creative process, wrapped in a twisty voyage of self-discovery, this film might be a bit gimmicky for some viewers, but it's a terrific festival movie. It centres on Mads (Lindhardt), a screenwriter who is struggling to live up to his early promise. He has also just given up on his long-term relationship, and as he drifts through the following months seeking inspiration and romance, he discovers some important things about himself and the world around him. All of this is filtered through Mads' sharply observant narration, which includes his visions of how he hopes things will go as well as how he wishes he had handled things. It also becomes completely entwined in the movies he has written, which gives this film an added kick through its hilariously knowing look at story structure.

NB. My web host has somehow managed to lock me out of its server and I am now unable to fix or update the Shadows website, perhaps until I get back to London. Meanwhile, this blog will be updated daily.

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