Diminished Edinburgh kicks off with The Guard
by Naman Ramachandran
Due to reduced funding, the number of new films has registered a dramatic drop from over a 100 in 2010 to 47 this year. There have been behind the scenes issues at play as well, as the festival endured the triple blows of patron Tilda Swinton withdrawing her support and artistic director Hannah McGill and chair Iain Smith resigning.
The festival’s inexplicable decision to drop the much-valued Michael Powell award for best British debut film will now steer debuting British filmmakers towards the Sutherland Trophy, awarded for best first feature at the London Film Festival.
Though the programme boasts several excellent films, it is a film that has not made its way into the line-up that is most curious. In normal circumstances, Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s Cannes success We Need To Talk About Kevin [trailer, film focus] would have been a shoo-in for opening film.
Still, there are several European and British films to look forward to in the programme, including Andrw Ovredal’s Troll Hunter [trailer, film focus], Paul Fraser’s My Brothers, David Mackenzie’s Perfect Sense [trailer], Craig Viveiros’ Ghosted [trailer], David Hare’s Page Eight [trailer] and Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr’s American Translation [trailer].
This year’s retrospectives strand is called Perspectives, programmed by guest curators. They include British director Derek Jarman’s The Angelic Conversation and The Last of England selected by Gus Van Sant, and a selection of films curated by Alan Warner, Béla Tarr, Jim Jarmusch and Sophie Fiennes, along with suggestions from Apichatpong Weerasethakul.