A Film To Be Joyous About
Edinburgh International Film Festival Day 3: Thumbsucker, brain-gorgers, and spliff-tokers.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Friday 19 August, 2005
This morning I was feeling fragile. Luckily the perfect hangover cure was readily to hand, in the form of a big bag of donuts, some very strong coffee, and 90 minutes of recuperative comedy at Thumbsucker. It should have been 97 minutes but on the way I got distracted by a sighting of Irish comedian Dylan Moran and had to follow him down the street in case he wanted to marry me.
Thumbsucker is now sold out so I feel a bit bad saying this, but if you miss this film you will regret it forever. It's fabulous. Every performance and every line is perfect. I laughed, I cried. I gasped in shock at how good Keanu was. See it.
Let Them Eat Cake
Glowing from the joy of watching a great film, I frolicked in a happy-spring-lamb-like way down to The Filmhouse, where I swapped a donut for a party ticket. The world would be a better place if we could replace cold, hard cash for sweet, sticky donuts. I like to have donuts on me at all times and here I will let you into the secret of popularity - carry cake. It's no wonder I am quite fat.
One thing I really wanted to see very badly today was the Reel Life with Albert Maysles, the iconic godfather of documentary whose films have been selling out. But, as is becoming a pattern here, I was running late and missed it. I'm starting to think it would be a good idea to buy a watch and read the schedule. My psychic powers seem to be disabled by the Krypton-like effects of beer.
The cast of Peter Mullan's latest, On a Clear Day, were all in town today, as were zombie-guru George A Romero (a remarkably tall man) and hotshot producer Stephen Woolley (promoting his directorial debut, Stoned).
Stoners stay home
Most of the cast of Stoned were due to be at the press conference, but it was raining and they didn't turn up. (Alright, so it might not be connected). Not that many of the press did either, which was a surprise as Woolley is such a big name. So, it was just director and star, Leo Gregory, who had no excuse for missing it as he's also playing a violent thug in another EIFF film, Green Street.
Leo is a charming and softly spoken man with blonde highlights and a radiant tan. I struggled to place him in Green Street, where gaunt-cheeked and puffy-eyed he actually swaggers and leers his way through a very prominent role. I learned three things here: this film is about Brian Jones, not the rest of the Rolling Stones; Stephen Woolley has a ponytail; and they turned down a chance to premiere at Venice because Edinburgh has such a young, hip and enthusiastic audience. Flattery gets you everywhere it seems, as Stoned sold out very fast.
Zombies as instruments of political change
Romero's Land of the Dead press show was rather surprising. Apparently, this film isn't just about zombies killing people in gory and violent ways and vice versa. It's actually a political comment on the way America ignores its various problems, such as AIDS, homelessness and the vanishing middle class. I didn't know that.
I also hadn't known that Romero almost made The Mummy (one of my all-time favourite films) but MGM wouldn't release him from a contract so Stephen Somers did it instead.
George is a nice man who makes great films (if you like that sort of thing) but I imagine The Mummy would have been very different if he had made it.
Romero himself isn't scared by horror films, he just finds them funny. Gore fans will no doubt be excited to learn that the DVD of Land of the Dead will feature a section of all the violent zombie death scene experiments that didn't work. Hurrah.
Anyway, I'm late for The Aristocrats, which isn't really an issue as it's just the same joke being told over and over again. But it's the world's dirtiest joke, so that's got to be worth a look.
Catch more from the Edinburgh International Film Festival
The Aristocrats film review by Dalawsta