It was another 9am start, and I was very tired. Down to a cinema I’m really starting to love, the Cameo, particularly cinema one with the big screen.
The day started with a real scorcher of a movie, Thumbsucker. I was really surprised by this movie – mental note, must listen to the advice of Todd from Twitch from now on – I sat next to a group of Press people who so noticeably did not laugh at the same moments as everyone else did, in particular those with Keanu Reeves. Yet mildly quirky moments that would erupt them into loud laughter. That was so annoying, it was obvious that they wanted to be different and let everyone else know. Moreso when the guy next to me leaned across onto my armrest and over onto my chair!
I had enough time after that movie for a quick break and leap right back into the same screen for the following movie, Battle in Heaven. That brought my festival experience to a crashing low. It was a dire movie and I was in pain throughout.
You could compare the feelings I had during this movie to those I felt during Battlefield Earth or The House of Mirth. At least Battlefield Earth had big explosions, big hair and big acting, the only big thing about this movie was it’s leading man and his wife!
This reminded me about the gulf that exists between pretentious cinema and the movie going public. An IJ or an IC (Institutionalised Journalist or Critic) was arguing about how shocking it was and therefore that made it an excellent movie. I rather think that she’d just become desensitised to cinema, what the public want to see and what cinema is really about.
Have people like this forgotten that a critic has no real place in the Movie Business? We are hear (oh, look I wrote we!) to tell the public what’s good and what’s not. Sort through the dross to find gems, organise the movies by scores, mood and style to let them decide what to go and spend their hard earned cash on, that’s me too as well, I don’t get everything for free! Don’t big up your role, remember why you’re here and for who.
After that there was time for a coffee, sandwich and grab some writing time before heading to the Cineworld Multiplex for a superb gem of a movie, Voices of Iraq.
I’m surprised how friendly and helpful the staff there are considering it’s a multiplex, it’s actually one of the better ones in Edinburgh.
I sat in the screen and managed a few notes before the film – I’ve got tons of notes but next to nothing written up! Never mind, the movies stop soon! – The cinema was so quiet prior to the movie that I could hear my pen scratching on the paper and my stomach churning. It’s a very peaceful place without loud music and an audience!
Voices of Iraq was superb, eye opening and a huge contrast to what we’re being told in the media and also to what I was to see later in Gunner Palace.
It was preceded with a short movie which had me a bit concerned. Where is Iraq? is a short documentary and I was panicked about missing voices which I had been so eager to see. I was sure there was more than one Iraqi documentary showing, and I was wondering if I was in the wrong cinema. I sat there though, and watched it through, and it proved interesting. When the credits rolled everyone remained seated, no lights came up, and there was that moment where I wasn’t sure what to do…go, stay…I waited and thankfully Voices arrived.
After that I was contemplating my first visit to the Filmhouse for the movie The Aristocrats, but Voices had given me so much to think about I didn’t want to lose those thoughts. Rather than jot them quickly down in my notebook and disappear off to what was billed as a hilarious movie, I skipped it and came back to write, the hardest and longest part of all this and also the most enjoyable.
It wasn’t over there though, after a spot of tea we shot out to the Cameo again, screen one once more, to see the much hyped Gunner Palace. I’d heard much about this movie. Even on the Movie Blog we were impressed at the reviews and the trailers. It looked like a really strong documentary.
The day before Paul had offered to catch up and see a movie, today was not the day though and I couldn’t meet up. I had time to jot down one review and I was only sitting with a couple of reviews on the site, Twitch and the Movie Blog. I was well behind, but in good company. Sites like The Guardian and Empire who were claiming daily blogging from the EIFF were sitting on only Day 1 entries as well, except I wasn’t busy socialising with stars and other Press.
My girlfriend and I sat down for out first drink of the festival just before Gunner Palace, feeling like I was talking about nothing but movies, we had to quickly neck the drinks and headed into the screen. Once the everyone was seated we were treated to the introduction of the two film makers, Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, and the promise of a Q&A after the movie.
The Q&A was most interesting and did turn into a discussion more on Iraq, the politics and morales of the war, than anything else. However my feeling of discomfort was shared amongst others. With the closing of the Q&A, and a sleepy girlfriend on my arm, it was off to bed to prepare for another day of movies.