Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015 programme announced
New director Mark Adams promises, and delivers, something for everyone
The programme for the 2015 Edinburgh International Film Festival was announced today, and nobody can say that there isn't a choice of viewing. With 164 films from 36 countries, including 24 world premieres and a clutch of classics, the EIFF's new Artistic Director Mark Adams is fully justified in claiming that 'there really is something for everyone'.
The In Person events feature some movie legends, including Malcolm McDowell, Jane Seymour, Hong Kong director Johnnie To and two great cinematographers in conversation, Seamus McGarvey and Haskell Wexler. The hottest ticket in town will surely be Ewan McGregor, who'll talk about his performance as the son of God in Rodrigo Garcia's highly-praised Last Days in the Desert, which features in the Director's Showcase.
As we've already talked about, Scottish movies are healthily represented in the programme; the festival opener is Robert Carlyle's directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thomson, a dark comedy about a mild-mannered barber who becomes a serial killer, and the closing gala is the world premiere of Scott Graham's Iona.
Among the international highlights are Nima Javidi's gripping family drama Melbourne; Yuya Ishii's Our Family, starring the great Mieko Harada (Kurosawa's Ran) as the matriarch of a modern Japanese household; Mark Noonan's You're Ugly Too, a bittersweet Irish drama about the relationship of an 11-year-old orphan and her recently paroled uncle (Aidan Gillen); and Károly Ujj Mészáros' bonkers Liza the Fox-Fairy, a fantasy set in a fictionalized 1970s Hungary. Elsewhere, the Focus on Mexico season delivers new Mexican cinema, as well as classics such as Emilio Fernandez's 1944 Maria Candelaria, Roberto Gavaldon's Macario and Alejandro Jodorowsky's mind-bending Santa Sangre.
This year also sees a celebration of the early work of Walter Hill, including welcome screenings of The Long Riders, The Driver and Southern Comfort among others, as well as Carol Reed's The Third Man and the coolest heist movie ever made, Joseph Sargent's 1974 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, with a gloriously raucous soundtrack from David Shire.
It's a good year for lesbian romances, with Alanté Kavaité's tender teen love story The Summer of Sangaile; Geraldine Chaplin as an ageing Frenchwoman falling in love with a Dominican girl in Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán's Sand Dollars; and Ingo Haeb's quirky S&M tale The Chambermaid Lynn.
New American films include Sleeping with Other People, described by writer-director Leslye Headland as 'When Harry Met Sally with assholes', the assholes in question being played by Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis; Al Pacino delivering what's been called a career-best performance in the low-key Manglehorn; Kristen Wiig as a woman with borderline personality disorder in the very dark comedy Welcome to Me; and Taylor Schilling and Adam Scott being robbed of their inhibitions in Patrick Brice's gleefully naughty The Overnight, which is up for an Audience Award.
If you're still not satisfied, there's also the UK premiere of Amy, the lauded documentary about singer Amy Winehouse from Senna director Asif Kapadia; Ralph Bakshi's cheerfully amoral Fritz the Cat and his animated adaptation of the first two-thirds of The Lord of the Rings; The Young and the Wild, a selection of films programmed by teenagers; and several free outdoor film screenings. Plus, there's Back to the Future with a score played live by the RSNO – which, if you haven't booked tickets yet, too bad because it's already sold out.
However, after a programme that represents a highly satisfying start to Mark Adams' stint as EIFF director, you still don't want to watch anything, then you can never be satisfied, and we feel your pain. But we're going to the movies.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Wed 17–Sun 28 June.