This year’s EIFF got off to a terrific start with opening film Killer Joe, a wickedly funny psychological thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and Gina Gershon. Gershon flew to the Scottish capital to grace the red carpet in a plunging black lace floor-skimmer while other actors supporting the festival included Tilda Swinton, Kevin McKidd and Robert Carlyle.
Now in its 65th year, the EIFF offers a diverse selection of challenging cinema from around the globe. Dramas, comedies, horrors, thrillers, sci-fis… almost all genres were represented in this year’s programme. Buzz was especially big for Irish comedy-horror Grabbers as well as US documentary The Imposter, an astonishing film about a boy claiming to be a family’s long-lost son.
British actresses making their mark were Andrea Riseborough, who put in a memorable performance in the IRA drama Shadow Dancer alongside Clive Owen, and Eva Birthistle and Charity Wakefield, who starred in The Day of the Flowers, the tale of two Scottish sisters finding romance and adventure in Cuba. Their co-star Carlos Acosta certainly made his mark on the premiere after party at The Caves, taking to the dancefloor as guests formed a not-so-orderly queue to be spun around by the Cuban ballet dancer.
Audiences at The Fourth Dimension screening were in for a more surreal experience as three directors took on stories of time travel, apocalypses and spiritual enlightenment. Val Kilmer had plenty of fun playing a self-styled guru in Harmony Korine’s humorous segment Lotus Community Workshop, which was followed by shorts from acclaimed Russian and Polish directors. Asked to follow a bizarre set of rules including ‘there needs to be someone wearing tap shoes’, ‘eccentrics are good’ and ‘the hero was a terrible student’, each director showed talent and invention in this impactful indie film with the power to surprise.
Taiwanese sci-fi Young Dudes also played with themes of time and space, telling of three friends who gain international fame with their internet broadcasts claiming the world is ending. An atmospheric vision, the film also beautifully captured the playfulness of counter-cultural youth in its depiction of two guys and a girl who leap around the city dressing up, playing pranks, flirting and watching the stars.
Back on home ground, urban comedy-drama Borrowed Time raised a smile with its story of a dim-witted would-be burglar who meets his match in an eccentric homeowner (Phil Davis), while Christian Cooke showed off his acting chops in the fascinating psycho-sexual thriller Unconditional. Finally, Kelly MacDonald hit town for the red carpet of the closing film Brave, a lively Disney-Pixar animation set in Scotland’s highlands. The Trainspotting star gave her voice to the feisty, flame-haired heroine who takes on tradition in style—a fitting end to another fun fest.