EIFF reveal 2016 opening film, 70mm retrospective

Edinburgh International Film Festival announces its opening film, and a series of rare screenings of 70mm films to mark its 70th edition

Feature by News Team | 27 Apr 2016

Edinburgh International Film Festival has confirmed today that it will open its 70th edition with the world premiere of Tommy’s Honour, on Wednesday 15 June.

Shot entirely on location in Scotland, Tommy’s Honour is based on the true story of golfing pioneer Tom Morris and his turbulent relationship with his son Tommy. Peter Mullan takes on the father role, while Olivier-winner Jack Lowden plays the son. Also included in the cast are Ophelia Lovibond, Peter Ferdinando (star of recent EIFF opener Hyena) and Sam Neill in the role of Alexander Boothby. We're told that key cast will be in attendance on opening night.

Director Jason Connery, son of EIFF favourite Sir Sean Connery, commented: "It's so exciting! I remember standing in the middle of a field in Fife during the shoot and saying to Peter and Jack, Tommy's Honour might get into the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Not in our wildest dreams did we think it would be the opening gala."

EIFF artistic director Mark Adams calls Tommy's Honour "a beautifully made film packed with memorable moments and terrific performances," and adding that its choice as opening film "reflects perfectly our intention to keep on bringing great Scottish projects to our audience." 

As was previously announced, the remake of Whisky Galore!, which was also shot entirely in Scotland, will close the festival on 26 June.

Peter Mullan in clip from Tommy's Honour

70-70 Vison retrospective

To mark its platinum edition, it has also been announced that Edinburgh International Film Festival have programmed a series – entitled 70-70 Vision – featuring films shot on the 70mm format, and screened from 70mm film.

EIFF has assembled a quartet of the greatest films shot on the format, films that deserve the biggest frame possible. Stanley Kubrick's epic sci-fi 2001: A Space Odyssey screens, as does Jacques Tati's inspired urban satire Play Time, for which the Frenchman famously built a huge city set that ended up bankrupting him when the film failed at the box office. Creatively, though, it's inspired, and 70mm is perhaps the only format in which its sight-gags and dense detail can be truly appreciated.

The other two films in the programme are Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean's spectacular T.E. Lawrence biopic, and Akira Kurosawa's Siberia wilderness drama Dersu Uzala, which makes Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant look like a walk in the woods.

Lawrence of Arabia 50th anniversary trailer

Screening at Filmhouse, one of only two cinemas in Scotland capable of screening 70mm, these iconic films will take on new qualities as their fine details become sharper and more luminous when shown on the larger format.

70mm came into use in feature filmmaking in the 50s, along with other waves of enhanced exhibition techniques, from CinemaScope to 3D, in an effort to tear audiences away from the growing popularity of television. Since the 1970s, films shot on the format have been sporadic, but recently, as filmmakers continue to fight to keep film alive in the face of mass digitisation of filmmaking and film distribution, it's become more prominent.

Recent films shot and distributed in the format include Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master and Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, which screened at sold-out cinemas on its special 70mm Roadshow earlier this year, complete with old-school overture and intermission. Seeing 70mm films might not be such a novelty in the future, but for now these rare screenings are unmissable.

Read about EIFF's other announcements, including retrospectives dedicated to cinéma du look and pioneering comic-strip films over at theskinny.co.uk/film.

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016 runs 15-26 June.