It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a day at the EIFF today, both film and weather wise.
As I made my way to documentary The Order of Myths in the morning it was sunny and verging on warm, but by the time I’d watched Time Crimes late at night it was bucketing down outside. You can always trust Edinburgh to promise one thing only to offer up something else, which could be a ropey metaphor for some of the films I watched today.
The Order of Myths screened to a small audience at the Filmhouse at 9.15 and introduced us to the annual Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama. It’s the world’s oldest Mardi Gras and is defined by the segregation of events between the white and black locals.
It’s an odd film in that there is a strong suggestion that what is going on here – two separate Mardi Gras ceremonies, two sets of Kings and Queens (one black and one white couple) – is due to ingrained racism, but this is never explicitly stated. Everyone seems pretty happy with the situation and there’s no name calling or much anger from either side. They just keep on keeping on.
I then headed along to the DVD screening area, where 20 or so plasma telly’s are set up around the room, to watch Mum & Dad. I missed the cinema screening the other day and, knowing nothing about it, settled down for an hour and a half of…something.
To say the rug was pulled from under my feet is an understatement. Starting out as another “immigrant worker struggling to make ends meet”-type film, Mum & Dad suddenly veers off into horror territory as Lena (Olga Fedori) is taken prisoner by Dad (Perry Benson) and Mum (Dido Miles).
A strong stomach is needed for this one, and I nearly choked on my Starbucks (other coffee brands are available) when Dad made his first appearance. I love everything Perry Benson does but this was one performance I won’t be rushing to watch again. Not because he’s bad in it – he manages to hit the right balance between psychotic and mentally ill in his scenes – but because it’s a difficult watch all round.
Later in the afternoon was the Shane Meadows In Person talk, a chance to see the director of Somers Town (which I reviewed in the Evening News during the week) interviewed. The event was sold out and Meadows was a fantastic guest, surely a gift for the interviewer. Meadows life is in itself a film waiting to happen, with more stories told in the 90 minutes on stage than you get in most movies. A superb event.
The final film of the day was Time Crimes, a late one at the Cameo, where the crowd stretched out of the front door. This is the way films should be watched (though there is something to be said for the calm of a press screening at 10 in the morning), with the reactions of a “real” audience helping to carry a film along.
Set in Spain in 2006, this is a nifty little time travel caper that didn’t impress quite as much as I hoped it would. The first 20 minutes set up the scenario while the rest of the film messes with the mind of the audience as we see how events came to be. It’s worth watching, but it’s not as impressive as other recent Spanish films, REC and The Orphanage.
So, another good day of diverse films at the Edinburgh Film Festival, with more to come tomorrow, including Brian Cox and Roger Deakins interviews and the new Houdini flick, Death Defying Acts.
Image copyright EIFF