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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013: the breakout contenders

Stories We Tell, Jiseul and Upstream Color are likely to be the runaway successes of EIFF 2013

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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013: the breakout contenders

Stories We Tell

Every year at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, there are a few breakout successes that get everyone talking. In recent years they've included jaw-dropping doc The Imposter, indie sci-fi Monsters and Lynne Shelton's mumblecore comedy Humpday. Here are five of the films we think look most exciting at this year's EIFF.

Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley’s first feature documentary has caught the eye of film critics after a warm reception at Sundance Festival. The multi-layered investigation of her mother Diane oscillates between home Super 8 footage, conflicting family recollections and witty recordings of her father’s memoirs. The result is a documentary on the nature of storytelling; we're left questioning what we remember, how we self edit our lives and what the process says about us.

Jiseul

Four Busan International Film Festival awards, the Sundance World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the Cyclo d’Or at Vesoul’s International Film Festival of Asian Cinema have made Jiseul the most awarded independent Korean film of all time. The monochrome, partially crowd-funded war drama is based around the 1948 Jeju Uprising, in which a group of villagers survived in a cave following a US military invasion.

Upstream Color

The second feature from Shane Carruth, director of densely-packed sci-fi Primer, carries the viewer through a magical cinematographic journey, playing on fears of disease and parasitic infiltration. It's an experimental thriller, venturing into themes of reincarnation and perceived reality with unsettling yet beautiful crystal images. With Primer having established an enthusiastic cult following, we reckon there will be a lot of buzz about Carruth's next project.

The Deep

Returning to his native Iceland off the back of a stint in Hollywood, Baltasar Kormákur recounts the real-life story of the sole survivor of a fishing boat which capsized in the perilous, freezing waters off the Westman Islands. The film's focus is split between Gulli’s (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) near death experience and his attempts to readjust to a society that seems wary of him after the event.

Call Girl

Mikael Marcimain’s debut feature unsurprisingly stirred great controversy upon its release in Sweden. Although a work of fiction, the film is based upon a political scandal from the 1970s which involved a prostitution ring and the Swedish Social Democratic government. This political thriller follows both the naïve steps of Iris (Sofia Karemyr) and Sonja (Josefin Asplund) into the arms of the notorious Madame Dagmar Glans (Pernilla August), and a police investigation that pushes ahead in the face of massive political pressure.

Edinburgh International Film Festival

The oldest continually running film festival in the world, the EIFF draws on its prestige to consistently present abundant programmes of new features, documentaries, retrospectives, shorts, panel discussions and educational workshops, with a few high profile premieres thrown in for good measure.

Various venues: Edinburgh

Wed 21 Jun 2017

Times & prices vary / 0131 228 4051

Thu 22 Jun 2017

Times & prices vary / 0131 228 4051

Fri 23 Jun 2017

Times & prices vary / 0131 228 4051

…and 9 more dates until 2 Jul 2017

Jiseul (Ji-seul)

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • South Korea
  • 108 min
  • Directed by: Meul O
  • Written by: Meul O
  • Cast: Min-chul Sung, Jung-Won Yang, Young-soon Oh

Historical tale of the Jeju Massacre, in which American-influenced Korean troops brutally suppressed perceived communist activity on Korea's Jeju island in 1948. Although sensitively and respectfully made, it's let down by weak characterisation and a lack of socio-political background.

Call Girl

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • Sweden/Norway/Finland/Ireland
  • 140 min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Mikael Marcimain
  • Written by: Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten
  • Cast: Ruth Vega Fernandez, Pernilla August, David Dencik
  • UK release: 16 August 2013

The true story of how a prostitution scandal threatened to bring down Sweden's Social Democratic government in the 1970s. A timely story of a political class convinced of its own power and self-interest.

Stories We Tell

  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • Canada
  • 108 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Sarah Polley
  • UK release: 28 June 2013

Polley's first documentary looks inwardly at her family life, particularly at her mother who died when Polley was aged 11.

The Deep (Djúpiđ)

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • Iceland
  • 95 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
  • Cast: Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Jóhann G Jóhannsson, Þorbjörg Helga Þorgilsdóttir
  • UK release: 12 July 2013

True story about a fisherman who tries to stay alive after his boat capsizes in freezing Icelandic waters.

Upstream Colour

  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 96 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Shane Carruth
  • Cast: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig
  • UK release: 30 August 2013

A woman is kidnapped, operated on and then released, whereupon she meets a man who may have been subject to the same treatment. Writer/director/actor Shane Carruth's follow-up to Primer is a baffling slice of sci-fi.

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