Edinburgh International Film Festival 2020 to explore the fascinating world of film scores
- Julia Kajdi
- 21 November 2019
Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin (2013)
Titled The Big Score, EIFF's annual retrospective is set to celebrate the unique relationship between music and film, with a special focus on jazz cinema
The 74th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival – Scotland's most prestigious film extravaganza – will focus on film scores through its ever-popular retrospective programme. Featuring the works of world class composers and directors, the festival will celebrate the likes of Ennio Morricone, Mica Levi and Delia Derbyshire, as well as the best of jazz cinema through the ages. The unique programme will be complemented by two exciting additions: a special multimedia experience testing the boundaries of sound and image, and a monthly screening series running from January to the start to the festival.
Legendary Italian composer, the multi-award-winning Ennio Morricone has worked with some of the biggest and most influential directors during his 60-year-long career. His beautiful, powerful and memorable scores have made countless films cult pieces, regardless of genre. Though his long-lasting collaboration with director Sergio Leone has undoubtedly resulted in his most historically significant works, EIFF will feature a rich and varied selection of his classics. Films include a 4K restoration of Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers (1966), Mario Bava's Danger Diabolik (1968), Sergio Corbucci's The Great Silence (1968), Dario Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage (1970), Terence Malik's Days of Heaven (1978), John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), Roland Joffe's The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987) and Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso (1988).
Mica Levi – also known as Micachu – is a multi-talented singer and songwriter who leads the experimental pop band, Good Sad Happy Bad. Since her first film score for Under the Skin in 2013, she's earned a slew of European Film Awards, alongside BAFTA and Oscar nominations. As The Big Score's curator Niall Greig Fulton puts it: 'From her exciting, innovative work on Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin through to her extraordinary score for London Film Festival award winner Monos by Alejandro Landes, cutting edge composer Mica Levi continues to go from strength to strength. This dynamic collection of films charts her stunning artistic achievements in cinema to date.' The screenings of her work include Michael Almereyda's Marjorie Prime (2017), Pablo Larraín's Jackie (2016) and Jonathan Glazer's Glasgow-set Under the Skin (2013).
Iconic electronic composer Delia Derbyshire is best known for her work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshops in the 1960s, as well as for creating the theme music for Doctor Who. However, EIFF will be exploring her more experimental and documentary contributions to the industry. The selection includes short films, rarely-seen collaborations and of course, cult classics like Tony Richardson's Hamlet (1969), Joseph Despins' and William Dumaresq's Duffer (1972) and Alan Gibson's Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972).
Leaving specific composers behind but still showcasing the fruitful connection between music and film, EIFF devotes a entire section to jazz cinema. The impressive line-up consists of masterpieces by Orson Welles, Shirley Clarke and Martin Scorsese. The programme, titled All That Jazz, presents Louis Malle's Lift to the Scaffold (1958), Orson Welles's Touch of Evil (1958), Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Shirley Clarke's The Cool World (1963), Gilles Groulx's Le chat dans le sac (1964), Richard Brooks' In Cold Blood (1967), Norman Jewison's The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Peter Yates' Bullitt (1968), and Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1986).
'Jazz is famously an innovative, atmospheric art form and over the years it's been employed many times to truly memorable effect in cinema,' says Fulton. 'This is a golden opportunity to see some of the finest of those films the way they should be seen – on the big screen.'
The festival's 2020 edition also welcomes two unique spectacles to accompany The Big Score. Students of the Film Exhibition and Curation degree programme at the University of Edinburgh, alongside with their fellow Masters students in Sound Design, will present a stirring multimedia experience inspired by Kolekto, an Orkney-based creative partnership. Using archive footage and sound, the students will question the very boundaries of sound and image. This work of digital storytelling, titled The Sound from the Edge of the World, will reflect island life through a mix of songs, stories and myths.
To introduce this varied retrospective programme in style, EIFF and the Filmhouse will launch a series of unique screenings, held once a month from January to June, entitled Countdown to The Big Score. The full programme for the series will be released in December, with the full EIFF programme being announced on Wed 27 May. Tickets for both go on sale the very same day for Filmhouse Members, while general sale starts two days later, on Fri 29 May.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, various venues, Wed 17–Sun 28 June, edfilmfest.org.uk