EIFF announce cult comic book movie retrospective

Feature by News Team | 15 Apr 2016

Holy eye-popping cinema, Batman! Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced the major retrospectives for its 70th edition

Those planning to attend Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 are in for a visually sumptuous treat as the festival announces its two eye-popping retrospectives. Running 15-26 June, EIFF will pay tribute to the 'cinéma du look' wave, a succession of stylish and inventive French films in the 80s and early-90s, and a season looking at the evolution of live-action comic strip adaptations in cinema. 

Look Again: A Celebration of Cinéma Du Look

'Cinéma du look' hinged on the distinct visions of three French filmmakers less interested in the naturalism that had characterised much of French cinema, who instead created vivid urban tales of disaffected youths. They were movies exploding with style, emotion and vigor that took their influence from the fast cutting of MTV and advertising, as well as the films of New Hollywood and the Nouvelle Vague.

Coined by French critic Raphaël Bassan in 1989, 'cinéma du look' all kicked off with Jean-Jacques Beineix’s Diva (1981), a delightful screwball thriller that set the neon-lit template for this unofficial movement. The wave came to an end in great style in 1994 with its biggest commercial success: Luc Besson’s international smash Leon.

The final part of the 'cinéma du look' triumvirate is arguably its most talented: Leo Carax, whose stunning Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) is the movement’s crowning achievement.

Leo Carax's Les Amants du Pont-Neuf 

“The ‘cinéma du look’ retrospective marks 30 years since EIFF opened with the UK premiere of Jean Jaques Beineix’s iconic Betty Blue,” says EIFF’s artistic director Mark Adams, “so it is a real thrill to be able to screen this selection of iconic films.”

As well as Diva, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf and Betty Blue, the other titles announced in the retrospective include Besson’s Subway (1985), The Big Blue (1988) and La Femme Nikita (1990), and Carax’s Mauvais Sang (1986). Take a look at the trailer below to whet your appetite.

POW!!! Live Action Comic Strip Adaptations

The 'cinéma du look' movies were like live-action comic strips, so it’s appropriate that EIFF have paired this retrospective with a series of comic strip movies. But those feeling fatigued by the crash, bang, wallop of the never-ending succession of DC and Marvel films shouldn’t stop reading: POW!!! Live Action Comic Strip Adaptations will pay tribute to the vanguard of filmmakers who were doing more innovative things with the comic book movie than the recent crop of filmmakers.

The retrospective is a journey through a wide range of cult artifacts from the 60s and 70s, such as Mario Bava’s Cocteau-esque James Bond parody Danger: Diabolik (Italy, 1968), Robert Altman’s eccentric take on Popeye (USA, 1980), another hilarious spy-spoof in the form of Joseph Losey’s Modesty Blaise (UK, 1966), Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s kitsch space opera Barbarella (France/Italy, 1968) and the big screen outing for Adam West’s Batman, Batman: The Movie (USA, 1966), the hilarious pop-art antidote to the self-seriousness of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Other lesser-known titles in the retrospective will include Jean Jaques Vierne’s TinTin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece (France/Belgium, 1961), Junya Sato’s Golgo 13 (Japan, 1973), Kenji Misumi’s Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (Japan, 1972), Corrado Farina’s Baba Yaga (Italy/France, 1973) and Arthur Marks’ Friday Foster (USA, 1975).

EIFF’s senior programmer Niall Fulton commented: "With superhero cinema dominating the international box office, the time is right for EIFF to take an affectionate look back at the weird, wild, and wonderful world of the big screen comic strip adaptation. It's a unique and exciting opportunity to see a selection of rare, iconic cult classics the way they should be seen, and provides a highly entertaining insight into the provenance of this current global phenomenon."

Edinburgh International Film Festival runs 15-26 June – keep an eye on theskinny.co.uk/film for more programme announcements.