Day Two, Screenings Four, Director One

The second day began at Cineworld, and let me just interrupt myself there and say that the days I’m referring to are not the actual Festival days, these are the days at which I’m attending…so day two is my second visit…so far this just coincides with the Festival days…look, now I’m making it complicated. Let’s get back to the writing.

At this point I have to say that I think I’m the only EIFF blogger to achieve a post for a second day, even at a day late. The other blogs I’ve seen – which are attached to larger sites – haven’t made it to day two, that’ll be the partying then.

This day held much, four movies to see from 9am until 2:30am, and the meeting of a Director. It was a good day indeed.


So I arrived at the first cinema for 36 Quai des Orfèvres. Straight away it was obvious that there had been a Press party the night before. More coffees were on show than you’d see in Costa, and there were a lot of weary faces, long yawns and questions of how late someone had been up to. I feel sorry for Film makers when they are putting their work up in front a bunch of half asleep, hungover Press who will be writing their view of the movie for all to read and judge it on.

For me the movie opened as classic Cinema, what a movie is really all about. Huge widescreen shots, fading slowly in and then away, filling every inch of the mammoth screen we were watching with image. Then we settled on a shot of a prison, with the scream of an imprisoned and tortured soul. You knew you were in for a great movie, and we weren’t disappointed.

There were a few annoying moments, but more with the guy next to me who insisted on rolling a cigarette while watching the movie…are you that addicted you weak willed moron? It took him ages to do it and just the right volume and pitch of rolling and crinkling sounds to really annoy me. Watch the movie, you’re in a privileged enough position to see it for free and write about it for people to read.

Straight after this movie A Bittersweet Life was showing, unfortunately in another cinema and with only ten minutes between them. Before I went in to see 36 I called the taxi firm and booked a taxi, stressing the importance of it being there and of me making it in time.

After the concern of the late start yesterday I was sure that I’d be held up in the first movie so I asked the nice young lady at the front door if they could start on schedule so that I could keep my string of movies going for the day. There’s something that strikes me as odd in the EIFF, the timings of movie showings are so precise so that you can schedule your day, yet they seem to start anywhere from five to twenty minutes late. I think only one movie I’ve seen so far has started on time. Surely with all these busy schedules you would find that the Press turn up on time…no…another thing they seem not to be too caring or professional about. Okay, give them the benefit of the doubt, I have seen a lot arrive beforehand and on time, and the late ones could be because they are held up from a previous movie, but not first thing, 9am.

So the movie began slightly late, but I thought I could make it by tearing out before the end of the titles. I did, just to be three minutes late and watch a taxi pull away. So I decided to get onto the main street outside the Cineworld and try and flag a taxi to the Cameo with five minutes to go…no such luck. The first one didn’t stop despite having his light on, a common occurrence in Edinburgh. Then I turned around to see a few taxi’s arrive only to be grabbed by other Press…damn them! I was sunk. It was now two minutes to go and there was no way to make it…and I surely wasn’t going to be turning up late to the movie start.

Here’s two things that the EIFF could think about for next year, apart from all the rest of the issues I’ll bring up. How about starting all the movies at their actual start time without question. Barring a disappearing projectionist of course. That way people will know when they are starting and not turn up late, plus enforcing the rule about no entry after start of performances. The second, although now third, suggestion here is to have repeat performances of some of the more popular shows. Sure there are the Best of the Fest showings, but they are public, the Press only get one shot at seeing a movie, and these movies are on three or four at the same time in different Cinemas, and trying to make all you want to see is nigh on impossible.

Still, that’s why the Videotheque is there, so you can see all the other movies on a little screen with headphones. Well, I don’t find that the best cinema experience, however it is there so you can relegate your second choice movies to this area. Yet when I went in and asked about three movies I wanted to see…they didn’t have any! That includes Bittersweet Life.

So I went to the Press Centre and lept on the PC’s for a while before The Magician began. Not realising that I could have gone to see The Land of the Dead instead…Damn! Still, I managed to get over that one quite quickly and concentrate on getting some postings done.

That’s another area for improvement. About eight or nine PC’s for the entire Press, and Delegate, presence. Considering that a lot of the Press will need to use the PC’s for writing and posting\sending stories, this is a ridiculous number for people to try and use. So they were about to start imposing a twenty minute only rule on the use of the PC’s. Think about that, you have twenty minutes to write your story, hopefully you only have one. This has already taken me half an hour, and I had written notes beforehand and some of the opening already!

Crazy. Never mind, I logged on and it was quite fast. I got some stories done both on the Movie Blog and reviews, then it was off for the third movie of the day.

The Magician was slow to get into things, but when it did it was very enjoyable. Funny and darkly serious in places, it turned out to be a good movie with some sharply written moments. On the way there I met my friend Martin who bought me a coffee, had a quick chat and then began “managing” my future career. He was, of course, all right and brought up things I was already thinking about. Do I go out on my own and start writing for my own site, join another one, start something new at the Movie Blog? All very relevant thoughts, but the real task in hand is getting my profile raised. He gave me a good coaching session and I’ve done a few things already, so I have to contact him for a follow up discussion! Martin, if you’re listening…

After that it was home to do more writing, or try to. Actually what really happened was I crashed out and slept for three hours, getting up just in time to eat something and get organised to head back into town. I was meeting my friend Louise (as my girlfriend was not about to come to a midnight showing of an Asian horror film on a work night) and we were to meet the Director of the movie we were about to see, Paul Spurrier.

This had me pacing up and down before I left the house, and I mean that quite literally. I was petrified. Imagine meeting the Director of the movie I was about to watch and have a chat with him. Add to that the fact that I’d never interviewed anyone before, and if I didn’t like his movie I would be mortified! Oh, and I was running about twenty minutes late!

Not to fear, I turned up at the same time as Louise and headed in to find him sitting in the corner reading his EIFF guide trying to figure out what he was going to see in the next few days. We sat down and I found him a perfectly approachable and chatty person. Something I couldn’t believe is that we were just sitting there chatting, and afterwards turned to Louise and said, “I’ve just interviewed the Director of the movie we’re just going to see!”. I really couldn’t believe it, and moreso the fact that he’s just a normal kinda guy. I’ll have the chat with him written up in the next day and linked here.

So onto the movie. P was really well shot, Paul does have a good eye for the camera, and also a wicked sense of humour for his script. He can also act, and manages to portray the girls of such a seedy seeming life as working in the Bangkok bars in a very strong and positive light. The movie also harboured some real scares and creep you out moments.

I did enjoy it, thank the lord! So I bought him a pint, left him to some of the audience who crowded round him to discuss the movie, and headed off to bed, leaving the cinema just around 2:30am. I hardly slept at all. No matter, another early start in the morning was beckoning!

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