The first feature from short film director Duane Hopkins, Better Things is a look at the love lives of various couples in a rural part of England. Schoolchildren, drug addicts and OAPs all come under the microscope, their complex relationships followed with almost documentary-style detail by Hopkins.
Thought provoking and moving, I’d be hard pressed to say I really enjoyed it, but I’d still recommend it for the fantastic performances of everyone involved and the clever use of sound (and lack of) to convey what’s going on in the mind of the characters’.
In the early afternoon I was lucky enough to interview Tarsem Singh, director of my favourite film of the Festival, The Fall. Enthusiastic and delighted to be promoting something he finished filming over two years ago, the final interview won’t see publication until September time in The Skinny when the guys from Momentum seem to think The Fall will reach UK cinemas. About time too.
Next I headed to Cineworld for a screening of Hungarian film Off Hollywood. Described by the EIFF website as a “bravura critique of the Hungarian psyche and film industry.”, it tells of film director Adél Bódi (Orsolya Török-Illyés) and her day from hell. Problems with her work and personal lives occur at the same time as she begins to suffer hearing problems brought on by her circumstances.
While I could tell that there were some interesting things going here, none of it appealed to me on this first viewing. I have a suspicion that coming at the end of two weeks of films, my tolerance for anything other than straightforward storytelling was low at this point, with the aural techniques grating and detracting from the rest of the film. Hopefully Off Hollywood will appeal more if I see it with fresh eyes in the future.
Closing my Friday was a viewing of the Festival hit, Let the Right One In, a Swedish vampire film based on the novel of the same name. Set in a Stockholm suburb, the story centres on bullied schoolboy Oskar who meets and befriends his young neighbour, Eli. Following a spate of killings, the locals are wary of strangers and its not long before Oskar realises that his new friend is actually a vampire.
Let the Right One In is a slowburner that luxuriates in taking its time setting the scene and making the characters come alive. The snow and ice surrounding them means they need a bit longer to thaw, and I welcomed the slow, but never lethargic, pace. The young leads are mesmerising, especially Lina Leandersson as Eli, and I’d recommend everyone to go see it, even if you are a bit squeamish.