Edinburgh Film Festival 2018: 10 films to see

Our film editor picks ten of the most interesting films to look out for at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (20 June - 1 July)

Article by Jamie Dunn | 23 May 2018
  • The Eyes of Orson Welles

Old Boys

Dir. Toby MacDonald

Alex Lawther is a comic dynamo. He’s been a deadpan psychopath in The End of the F***ing World and stole every scene he appeared in as Tibby in the BBC’s recent adaptation of Howards End. We’ve high hopes that Old Boys, Toby MacDonald's modern day re-working of Cyrano de Bergerac set at a rugby-obsessed boys’ boarding school, will provide a suitable big screen vehicle for this young actor’s considerable talents. 21 & 23 Jun

An Elephant Sitting Still

Dir. Hu Bo

There was much acclaim for this four-hour Chinese epic at this year’s Berlinale. Set over one day, it follows four lonely people in a humdrum city in northern China. The filmmaking from first-time director Hu Bo is reportedly assured and mesmerising, employing dreamy Steadicam shots that call to mind the work of Krzysztof Kieslowski and Béla Tarr. Its qualities make it all the more tragic that the 29-year-old director committed suicide before the film’s release. 26 & 30 Jun

The Eyes of Orson Welles

Dir. Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins gives his zesty take on the life and work of Orson Welles. As the title suggests, the Irish filmmaker’s angle into discussing this giant of cinema is through the way he looked at the world, and specifically through Welles’ drawings and paintings. Using these expressive artworks as jumping off points, Cousins – speaking directly to Welles in an intimate voiceover – makes some inspired connections between the great filmmaker’s personal, political and creative endeavors. 24 & 25 Jun

Swinging Safari

Dir. Stephan Elliott

With The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Stephan Elliott created one of the great Aussie films of the 1990s. He's reportedly back on crass form with this 70s-set raunchy comedy following the outrageous antics of three dysfunctional families in suburban Sydney. The bonza cast includes Elliott’s Priscilla star Guy Pearce, and pop institution Kylie Minogue, Pearce’s old mucker from their Neighbours salad days. 27 & 29 Jun


Dir. Aneesh Chaganty

Step aside found footage films, there’s a new movie gimmick in town: “screen movies”, meaning films that play out entirely on computer screens. Unfriended, the creepy little ghost story from 2015 set within a single Skype convo, was a promising beginning for the sub-genre, but word is this thriller about a dad (John Cho) who turns desktop detective when his teenage daughter goes missing takes it to a whole new level. 21 & 22 Jun


Dir. Matt Palmer

We’re getting a distinct ‘Deliverance in the Highlands’ vibe from Matt Palmer’s feature debut about a weekend hunting trip that goes badly awry, with Jack Lowden and Martin McCann playing the two city-slickers out of their depth in teuchter country. Palmer is best known in the Scottish horror community for All Night Horror Madness, his immaculately curated horror all-nighters at Cameo – we look forward to seeing what he comes up with behind the camera. 22, 23 & 30 Jun


Dirs. Ainsley Gardiner, Awanui Simich-Pene, Briar Grace-Smith, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen, Casey Kaa, Paula Jones, Katie Wolfe

Eight female directors from New Zealand each create a short film that combine to tell a multi-voiced story about the death of a young Maori boy. The shorts take the form of a single ten-minute continuous shot following a different person in the boy’s life. Together, the films explore the circumstances that lead to the boy's untimely demise, from his chaotic home life to the social mores of the wider Maori community in which he lived. 23 & 24 Jun

Wild Nights with Emily

Dir. Madeleine Olnek

If Terence Davies’ Emily Dickinson biopic A Quiet Passion was too heartbreaking for you, this dramedy reimagining the personal life of the 19th century poet might be just the ticket. Instead of the hermit spinster that she’s often imagined as, Madeleine Olnek uses Dickinson’s own vivid writing to paint her as an altogether gayer character, in both senses of the word. The brilliant Molly Shannon – scene stealer extraordinaire in many a Hollywood comedy – plays the poet. 28 & 30 Jun

Anna and the Apocalypse

Dir. John McPhail

A zombie apocalypse musical set in a Scottish high school. Oh, and it’s also a Christmas movie. Who could resist? Based on short film Zombie Musical – which spliced George A Romero and the Disney High School Musical franchise – from the late Ryan McHenry, this ambitious feature length horror-musical went down a storm at Fantastic Fest and should light up EIFF’s Night Moves strand. 29 & 30 Jun

Dirt Road to Lafayette

Dir. Kenny Glenaan

At 71, the great Glaswegian novelist James Kelman is making his screenwriting debut with this story of a widowed father and his son journeying to southern USA, where the lad, a talented accordionist, falls for blues music. If you’re familiar with Kelman’s novels, you’ll know that he writes authentic dialogue like a dream. Kenny Glenaan, who won EIFF’s Michael Powell award back in 2001 for his debut Gas Attack, directs. 24 & 26 Jun

The 2018 Edinburgh International Film Festival runs 20 Jun-1 Jul.

Rachel Maclean's Make Me Up was originally part of this EIFF preview, but is not longer part of the progamme

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