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EIFF Launch | reviews, news & interviews

EIFF Launch

EIFF Launch

The highlights of this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival

'Toy Story 3': a highlight of the 2010 EIFF

I’m just back – goodie bag gripped greedily in paw – from this morning’s launch of the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival, which runs in the Scottish capital from 16-27 June.

Since breaking away from the over-crowded August festival calendar and establishing itself in an early summer slot, the EIFF has become a much more robust stand-alone event, and 2010 looks like throwing up another fine mix of international premieres, new works by established US directors, superior art-house flicks from renowned auteurs and several interesting-looking debuts from talented young British movie-makers.

In a packed Cinema One at the Filmhouse, EIFF artistic director Hannah McGill and deputy Diane Henderson unveiled this year’s programme, which includes Werner Herzog’s My, Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, Steve Soderbergh’s And Everything is Going Fine and the Academy Award-winning The Secret in Their Eyes by Juan Jose Campanella.

The 20-minute showreel which followed threw up more tasty festival highlights, including Mr Nice, with Rhys Ifans playing Howard Marks with suitably OTT Welsh relish, and Karl Golden’s Pelican Blood, a dark tale which spins around the unlikely twin poles of birdwatching and suicide. Animated highlights include Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, which will be the star turn in the Opening Gala, as well as Jackboots in Whitehall and a gala screening of Toy Story 3.

The Closing Gala will be the world premiere of British tragi-comedy Third Star, directed by Hattie Dalton and revolving around a search for 40 lost – and apparently priceless – “brown plastic Darth Vaders”; the strange appeal of Star Wars is further examined in The People v George Lucas. Two other documentaries focus on life in Afghanistan: the first, Restrepo, is an up-close, claustrophobic-looking account of a year in the life of one US platoon on the Helmand frontline; the other, Out of the Ashes, is a more light-hearted document of the formation of the Afghan cricket team.

The 2010 Retrospective programme is entitled After the Wave: Lost and Forgotten British Cinema 1967–1979, and includes screenings of Ken Russell’s Savage Messiah and Kevin Billington’s The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer. Other luminaries, among them Mike Hodges, Stephen Frears and Horace Ove, will be in town to present their underpraised work from the period.

Patrick Stewart is the subject of the Bafta in Scotland Interview on 21 June, while the day before, “in celebration of his 80th year”, EIFF patron Sean Connery will attend a Bank of Scotland gala screening of John Huston’s The Man who Would be King, the epic Himalayan yarn starring everyone's favourite Mishter Bond alongside Michael Caine. The screening will be held at the Festival Theatre, a new venue for the EIFF, which will also be spread over more familiar ground: the city's Filmhouse, Cameo and Cineworld cinema complexes. The EIFF will also be integrating with several city art galleries, as well as renowned publisher Canongate, for a series of special events. All in all, much to look forward to.

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