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Edinburgh International Film Festival: Day Five

EIFF.gifMy fifth day of the Edinburgh International Film Festival took a long time coming after having been grounded by the flu and left with a terrible hacking cough that wouldn't let me sit in a public space without interrupting other people's viewing so much that they would have a right to get upset. It was only just I made Toy Story 3 on the previous day's viewing.

The good news though was that a kind lady in the press office arranged for me to get hold of some screeners, and while I lay on a bean bag bed in my cinema room I managed to indulge in four more films and just annoy myself - Gravity (Schwerkraft), Winter's Bone, Evil in the Time of Heroes (To kako - Stin epohi ton iroon), and R. Oh, and the winners of the festival were announced too.

So laid up in the comfort of my own home, able to pause the DVD for coughing fits, get more medicine and cups of tea, I managed to catch four more films from the festival. Huge thanks to Katie at the press office for sourcing them, I just wish I'd been well enough to get in for another four.

Gravity (Schwerkraft): Four Stars I do like German thrillers, and when I saw that Jürgen Vogel from The Wave (Die Welle) (Filmstalker reviews) was starring in the film I was convinced I had to see this, and I wasn't disappointed, not by Vogel or by the film. Good performances, looks great, and an intelligent and entertaining story that is dark, but also has some humorous moments. Oh, and don't be put off by the fact that the lead looks like Jimmy Carr, this isn't a comedy.

Winter's Bone: Four Stars Another thriller which concentrates on a few key characters and a slower pace, and it does really well for it too. The film has some notable faces in the cast who all provide some strong performances that are very unglamorous and far from Hollywood. Jennifer Lawrence outshines them though in a well contained story that surprised me in how captivated I was.

Evil in the Time of Heroes (To kako - Stin epohi ton iroon): Three Stars Wow. This zombie film surprised me, although the story seems somewhat fractured and some of the threads are poorly handled, there's plenty to be had from this film from comedy to action and some strong effects, and the characters are a lot of fun too. I really do wish that the story had flowed a little more and this could have been a real find of the festival. Still, a great one for horror fans and great sign of things to come from the director who has already made a very similarly sounding film To kako (Evil), I wonder if this was a remake?

R: Three Stars An interesting film that was being billed as a tougher, more realistic film than A Prophet (Un Prophète). Popular opinion of those who have mentioned A Prophet suggest that this isn't the case, but even though it's not as good as the French prison film, it is damn good. Another film that takes its time to develop and tell the story properly through the eyes of those involved. Almost documentary-like in the way it tells the story, and a good story it is too, with a few surprises to be delivered as well. A tough prison film that shows what life is like on the inside.

So those were the last four films of the festival for me, a festival that wasn't very film filled for me this year and I was gutted. However, looking back on what I did see, and you'll find out too as the reviews come, I managed to get to see some great films, along with a couple of stinkers.

At the same time as I returned the last films to the press office, the winners of the 2010 Edinburgh International Film Festival awards were announced.

Michael Powell Award for the Best New British Feature Film: Skeletons

"The Michael Powell Jury, having considered the eleven films in competition for the Best New British Feature, is pleased to announce two unanimous decisions. A Special Mention to Edward and Rory McHenry for their animated revision of modern British history, Jackboots on Whitehall, and the Michael Powell Award goes to writer/director Nick Whitfield whose debut feature Skeletons best exemplifies the spirit of Michael Powell in its original vision and dark humour."

Great news that Jackboots on Whitehall came a close second, and indeed got a good mention from the Jury. I did notice that Sir Patrick Stewart was having a good laugh when the film was playing, something that most of the audience was doing too.

PPG Award for the Best Performance in a British Feature Film: David Thewlis in Mr Nice

I did find this odd, the film had no press screening, no press screener DVD available, and wasn't available in the press digital viewing library.

Projector.tv Best International Feature Award: The Dry Land

That annoyed me, it was a film I really wanted to see and missed, another lost to illness.

Standard Life Audience Award: Get Low

UK Film Council Award for Best British Short Film: Baby by Daniel Mulloy

Moët New Directors Award: Gareth Edwards for Monsters

Best Feature Documentary Award: The Oath with a special mention for Restrepo

Again, two films on my list that I missed.

Best International Short Film Award sponsored by Steedman & Company: Rita

McLaren Award for Best New British Animation, in partnership with the BBC Film Network: Victoria Mather

Scottish Short Documentary Award: Maria's Way

With that, Edinburgh International Film Festival is over for another year, now it's time for me to get cracking on the reviews. Keep up to date with them on Filmstalker's EIFF 2010 Page.



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