Bringing Film Back to the Festival

Ever since Edinburgh International Film Festival moved to its June slot, cinema has been at the fringes of Edinburgh's August festivities. We preview three events that are bringing film back

Feature by Jamie Dunn and David McGinty | 02 Aug 2011


Founded in reaction to the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s move to June, leaving cinema largely unrepresented amongst the countless events across the city in August, CineFringe, the appropriately named Fringe short film festival, is back for its second year.
Seeking to address this apparent imbalance, the festival aims not only to restore cinema to the Fringe, but also to represent the Fringe and its character within its programme.
The event’s organisers seem to understand what people expect and dread from Fringe performances, inviting work that is ‘non conformist’ and ‘pushing the boundaries’ but appealing to filmmakers: ‘Please don’t feel that means you have to produce a dimly lit, black and white avant-garde art-house experiment! Far from it! We are just looking for films that break the mould.’
Building on last year’s success CineFringe are introducing their new Children’s Film Category, aware that the progeny of festivalgoers can potentially thwart everyone’s enjoyment if not properly entertained. 
Taking place at Sweet Grassmarket (known as the Apex City Hotel the rest of the year round) from 15 - 28 August, cinephiles may have found haven amongst the Fringe frenzy, so long as this fledgling festival is able to establish itself. [David McGinty]

Celluloid Trips

Great cinema is always an escape to another world and Celluloid Trips, a quartet of films showing at new Fringe venue Summerhall, are cinematic journeys you’re not likely to forget.

On 7 August travel to Guy Maddin’s delirious vision of his Canadian home town in My Winnipeg. With a playful, freewheeling verve, Maddin recreates his formative years and fills his voiceover with truths, half-truths and hilarious tall-tales. Does Winnipeg really have the highest rate of sleepwalkers in the world?

Next it’s to 60s Prague for Vera Chytilová's Daisies (10 Aug), a delightfully psychedelic trip with two young women who, witnessing the world go to seed around them, decide to join in the debauchery and put two fingers up to polite society. Provocative and bizarre, this cinematic enigma needs to be seen to be believed.

The final two trips are to a lyrical, mythical Blighty of the like rarely seen on film. Chris Petit’s 1980 road-movie Radio On is showing 14 August, which sees a London DJ take a mediative drive to the south coast to investigate the death of his brother with only the haunting sounds of Bowie, Kraftwerk and Devo on the radio for company. It’s cool, cold, and beautifully photographed.

Andrew Kotting’s Gallivant (17 Aug) completes this cinematic journey with his quixotic tour around the UK coastline with his grandmother and daughter in tow. It’s a dreamy, idiosyncratic take on Albion and Kotting adds texture and history to their trip with archive footage and grainy Super 8 film. [Jamie Dunn]

Qatsi Trilogy with live score from the Philip Glass Ensemble

The International Festival’s inclusion of Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy in its programme is cause for celebration in itself, but the fact that Koyaanisqatsi (13 Aug), Powaqqatsi (14 Aug) and Naqoyqatsi’s (15 Aug) operatic scores will be performed live with their composer, the legendary Philip Glass, leading his musical ensemble on keyboards make these rare screenings the film event of the year.

These ground-breaking films may seem familiar to today’s audiences, given that the time-lapse photography employed by cinematographer Ron Fricke to create hallucinatory visions of busy cityscapes, speeding motorways and dancing skylines has become so familiar to us thanks to pretentious advertising campaigns and naff Madonna videos copying the technique, but the chance to see these epic works of pure cinema on the big screen accompanied by Glass’ apocalyptic sounds filling the Edinburgh Playhouse is not to be missed. [JD]

CineFringe (£5)

Sweet, Apex City Hotel, 61 Grassmarket, EH1 2JF (venue 18)

Screenings everyday 15 - 28 Aug, 4.30pm

Celluloid Trips (£5)

1 Summerhall, Edinburgh, EH9 1QH (venue 26)

My Winnipeg (Guy Maddin, 2007, 80m) 7 Aug, 8.30pm

Daisies (Vera Chytilová, 1966, 73m) 10 Aug, 8.30pm

Radio On (Chris Petit, 1979, 104m) 14 Aug, 8.30pm

Gallivant (Andrew Kotting, 1996, 100m) 17 Aug, 8.30pm

Qatsi Trilogy with live score from the Philip Glass Ensemble (£12-£35)

Edinburgh Playhouse, 18-22 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA (venue 59)

Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1983, 86m) 13 Aug, 8.30pm

Powaqqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1988, 99m) 14 Aug, 8.30pm

Naqoyaqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 2002, 89m) 15 Aug, 8.30pm