Edinburgh International Film Festival: The 2022 programme

In its 75th year, Edinburgh International Film Festival reveals the 87 feature films that will screen at a new-look festival

Article by Jamie Dunn | 20 Jul 2022

As Edinburgh International Film Festival celebrates its 75th year, the UK’s oldest film event receives a major dose of spit and polish, with a new Creative Director in charge (Kristy Matheson, who we caught up with earlier this year), a new programming team, a new competition, and a new structure. 

Gala screenings of Aftersun, After Yang, Nude Tuesday

We’ve already been told what will open and close the festival. Edinburgh International Film Festival kicks off on 12 August with Aftersun, the eagerly-awaited debut from Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells. A heartbreaking drama exploring mental health and sexual awakening, it stars Normal People’s Paul Mescal and newcomer Frankie Corio as a father and daughter on a life-altering holiday in Turkey. The curtain comes down on 20 August with After Yang, a meditative sci-fi drama from director Kogonada.

The third of EIFF’s Gala screenings doesn’t have ‘After’ in the title, but don’t hold that against it. Nude Tuesday sounds wild. This Kiwi film is described as a ‘gibberish comedy’, given its actors performed in an improvised, gibberish-esque language. It follows a middle-aged couple trying to rekindle their moribund marriage by heading to a couples’ retreat run by a sexual healing guru played by Jemaine Clement – much self-discovery and full frontal nudity ensues. If the nudity hasn’t already piqued your interest, then the fact that dark comic genius Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Sally4Ever) provides the subtitles to the gibberish should.

The Powell and Pressburger competition

One of the major changes to EIFF this year is that the annual Michael Powell award celebrating British cinema expands to become the Powell and Pressburger award, and will see five British films competing alongside five other titles from all over the world.

One of those British titles is Peter Strickland’s Flux Gourmet. Centred on an avant-garde music collective who are taking up residency at the Sonic Catering Institute, it’s a wildly surreal and satirical dark comedy about the struggles of creativity and the melancholy of flatulence. We’re also excited to see A Cat Called Dom from Scottish animators Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson. Long the stars of Scotland’s short filmmaking scene, the pair have cooked up a hugely inventive meta-documentary which delves into the darkest of subject matters (Anderson’s mum is diagnosed with mouth cancer) but also sees Anderson bickering with the animated cat called Dom who manifests on his laptop.

Another British title that catches the eye is Andrew Legge’s WWII-set debut feature LOLA. Its neat premise concerns two sisters who build a machine that can intercept TV and radio broadcasts from the future, which they initially use to discover future pop bangers and gamble on sporting events, Back to the Future-style, before putting it to more heroic uses.

We love the sound of meta-comedy Leonor Will Never Die, which follows the retired Filipino action movie director of the title as she finds herself living through one of her own movies and interacting with some of the macho characters she wrote after a bump to the noggin. From the competition, also be sure to make time for Please Baby Please, a camp thrill-ride from Amanda Kramer that Variety called an “archly stylized West Side Story by way of Kenneth Anger” – which sounds pretty rad to us. Starring Andrea Riseborough and former Harry Potter bully Harry Melling, EIFF describe it as a hyper-stylised exploration of queer desire and masculinity, featuring dance, BDSM fantasy, poetry and violence.

Highlights from the EIFF programme

Elsewhere, the programme is split into new strands which are designed to “encourage pathways to navigate the programme and offer audiences a chance to meet their cinematic tribe.” In The Conversation, for example, you’ll find narrative films and documentaries ripe for ​​post-screening foyer debate, like headline film Clean. It's a compelling doc that begins as a study of a cleaning team who specialises in tidying up bloody crime scenes, but also becomes a celebration of the business’s extraordinary founder, Sandra Pankhurst, a trans woman with an incredible roller-coaster life story. Also in this strand, you’ll find Still Working 9 to 5, a doc in which Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin reunite to investigate the fight for women’s rights they kickstarted half a decade ago.

Some of the tastiest titles look to be in Night Moves, the section for “back-row dwellers and mosh pit regulars”. Here you’ll find films like Korean thriller Special Delivery which we're told is basically a female-centric spin on petrolhead staples like Drive, The Driver and The Transporter. Expect high adrenaline car chases, neon-lit streets and a pulsating electronic score. You’ll also find several horror movies in this section, like uncanny thriller Resurrection starring Rebecca Hall, Senegalese horror western Saloum, gorefest Sissy and folk horror Huesera. Add to this lot, a 100th anniversary screening of F.W. Murnau’s classic Nosferatu.

Music films also feature heavily in Night Moves. There are docs on international stars like Courtney Barnett (Anonymous Club) and Leonard Cohen (Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song) as well as Edinburgh Celtic fusion outfit Shooglenifty (​​Heading West: a story about a band called Shooglenifty).

We also love the sound of 32 Sounds. Described as a ‘live documentary', this is an immersive sonic experience from filmmaker Sam Green in collaboration with musician JD Samson (Le Tigre), and will see everyone in Filmhouse supplied with their own headphones for the performance. In Night Moves, you’ll also find a second film from the creative mind of Amanda Kramer (Give Me Pity!) and the 20th-anniversary screening of Lynne Ramsay’s masterpiece Morvern Callar, presented on 35mm.

From The Postcards from the Edge strand – featuring films of a more experimental bent – we’re instantly drawn to the Chilean feature Phantom Project, a leftfield ghost story following a queer aspiring actor hipster who’s being haunted by a vintage cardigan. The Chamber is where you’ll find the more prestigious arthouse titles, like Spanish satire Official Competition starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas; curious British musical heist thriller The Score, featuring ​​Will Poulter, Naomi Ackie and Johnny Flynn; and jet set comedy The Forgiven, from Calvary director John Michael McDonagh, starring Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith and Caleb Landry Jones.

The Heartbreakers section (“the destination for those seeking all the feels”) looks promising too. Kiwi cringe comedy Millie Lies Low sees an anxious architecture graduate have a panic attack before a flight to New York, forcing her to stay in her hometown of Wellington instead and fake the trip using Instagram. Charlotte Rampling is said to be at her majestic best in another film from New Zealand, Juniper. In it, she plays an estranged alcoholic grandmother who terrorises then eventually bonds with her 17-year-old grandson, who’s charged with her care as punishment after being expelled from boarding school. Japanese animation Goodbye, DonGlees!, meanwhile, basically sounds like Stand By Me but, you know, anime.

The Skinny's EIFF supplement and podcasts

There’s tonnes more to get dug into, but the two upcoming editions of The Skinny’s film podcast the CineSkinny should help. On 4 August we release our EIFF preview, where the CineSkinny team will talk through their personal picks from the festival’s overflowing lineup. Then on 15 August, when EIFF is underway, we’ll host a live, free-to-attend edition of the podcast at CodeBase, where we’ll be reviewing films from the programme and speaking to some special guests. There’s more information on that live podcast recording and details of how to book your tickets here.

You’ll also find a comprehensive guide to this year’s EIFF in our August edition of The Skinny, which will feature a pullout EIFF supplement with interviews and previews of some of our favourite films in the programme. That hits the streets 2 August, available at all the usual places, including EIFF venues Filmhouse and Cameo, as well as online at theskinny.co.uk

EIFF runs 12-20 August at various venues across Edinburgh. Tickets go on sale to Filmhouse Members and Screen Saver Passholders on 20 Jul and on sale to the general public on Fri 22 Jul edfilmfest.org.uk/edinburgh-international-film-festival