Thursday, 26 June 2008

Heavy hitter

The big guy himself, Sir Sean Connery, was spotted roaming around the festival delegate centre yesterday - he's not easy to miss. I actually felt a shiver when I heard his voice right behind me, and tried to turn around to gawk at him with a shred of dignity. (Is that possible?) Anyway, he's a patron of the festival and is on hand to give out the awards this weekend.

Soon afterwards, my week in Edinburgh came to an end as I headed back to London by train. I'll be watching the rest of the fest from afar. But I've already seen a number of films that will be showing over the next few days.

Here are some highlights today...

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (Wayne Wang, US) ***
Wang continues his observational approach to filmmaking with this gentle drama about a retired scientist from China who travels to Seattle to visit his daughter, who has made her home in America for the past 12 years. It's an insightful and quietly involving film that touches on some strong issues without ever getting too political about it. Wang's companion film The Princess of Nebraska, which addresses similar themes with a strikingly different cast and setting, is playing tomorrow.

Man on Wire (James Marsh, UK) ****
It may seem like a lot of time has passed, but this documentary is thoroughly gripping as it traces Philippe Petit's legendary stunt to walk a tightrope between the towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. This well-assembled film is a fascinating combination of heist movie (tracing Petit and crew as they plan and then sneak in to accomplish this remarkable feat) and a historical document about the twin towers, which were unfinished at the time. It also reminds us of how much the world has changed over the past few decades.

The Fall (Tarsem, UK) ***
Filmmaker Tarsem took several years to shoot this film around the world, exploring the most visually stunning settings he could find for a Princess Bride-style tale of a young girl who's told an epic story by a depressed young soldier (the excellent Lee Pace) who feels trapped in his hospital bed. But as we go on, it becomes doubtful that this story will have a happy ending. It's a little rambling and uneven, but it looks absolutely gorgeous.

No comments: