Highbrow Highlights of the Edinburgh International Film Festival

For those whose taste is more Bergman than B-movies, here are our suggestions of the best in arthouse cinema at this year’s festival.

Feature by Gail Tolley | 01 Jun 2009
  • 35 Shots of Rum

35 Shots of Rum by French filmmaker Claire Denis (Beau Travail, Vendredi Soir) is a simple story of human relationships explored through the father and daughter bond. First shown at the Venice Film Festival last September it received strong reviews for its nuanced portrayal of a young woman growing up and searching for her independence.

The acclaimed Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami (A Taste of Cherry) brings his latest film, Shirin, to Edinburgh. Inverting the conventions of cinema, Kiarostami films audience members as they watch a performance of the Persian story Khosrow and Shirin. The film documents the gradual change in spectators’ reactions as they become immersed in the moving fable.

Critic Mark Cousins brings a specially curated programme of Bengali films to a decked out St John’s Church Hall in the form of The Paradise Movie Hall. No doubt bringing the ethos of last year’s intimate film festival The Ballerina Ballroom Cinema of Dreams to the EIFF, this is the perfect opportunity to experience films by Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Tapan Sinha in an atmospheric setting. The retrospective includes films ranging from the fifties to the present day and aims to bring a selection of little-known but highly-acclaimed works to a wider audience. There will also be a visit by Satyajit Ray’s Bengali muse and Bollywood movie star Sharmila Tagore. It promises to be a unique movie experience.