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July 2013

Special Edinburgh International Film Festival Edition


EDITORIAL This third issue of Movies-by-Mills online magazine highlights the 63rd edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival which opened on the 19th June until the 30th. Opening with “Breathe In” and closing with “Not Another Happy Ending” both screened at the prestigious Festival Theatre. There are reviews of films which MbM recommends from the Festival: * BREATHE IN, starring Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce. Directed by Drake Doremus * HARRY DEAN STANTON: PARTLY FICTION. Featuring Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Sam Shepard, Wim Wenders, Deborah Harry, Kris Kristofferson. Directed by Sophie Huber. * THE EAST, starring Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page. Directed by Zal Batmanglij. * STORIES WE TELL. Featuring and directed by Sarah Polley. * FRANCES HA, starring Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner. Directed by Noah Baumbach. * NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING, starring Karen Gillan, Stanley Weber. Directed by John McKay. * Plus Preview images of MbM’s Favourite of the Festival which will be featured in the August issue. Also regular features: Arthouse Ambiance and FilmFest Follower appear too.

Brian Mills


EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2013 The first Edinburgh Film Festival was in 1947 and since that date there have been changes in artistic directors and the type of programming but one thing that has remained constant is the beautiful city of Edinburgh which plays host to the festival. In 2011 the highly respected EIFF made disastrous changes which threatened its future. The festival was moved from its central base at The Filmhouse on Lothian Road to the Treviot Building at Bristro Square. All awards were cancelled. Red Carpet and Premieres were cut-back to nothingness. There was no Closing Night Film. There were Pop-Up public screenings in St. Andrews Square. There was no Artistic Director. The opening film was the Irish “The Guard” starring Brendan Gleeson, a good film but hardly one to open a festival of Edinburgh’s standing. The most important event was a Q and A with actor Bill Nighy. The following year a new artistic director was appointed, Chris Fujiwara, to reverse the changes that had been made. Chris has totally resurrected the glory of the EIFF. Eavesdrop on his opening address and you will see why.


EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2013 The Opening Night Screening BREATHE IN at The Festival Theatre introduced by Chris Fujiwara Welcome to the opening night of the 67th Annual Edinburgh International Film Festival. For the next 11 days from now until the 30th June when we close the festival, we will be celebrating the art of cinema. We invite you all to join with us in this celebration. Film is something that is often taken for granted because the art of film exists alongside the entertainment industry so people confuse whether its art or entertainment, or whether business or whether it is something else. So film often gets downgraded with respect to the other art forms. Also about film it is something that is very close to reality...it seems like real life, it feels real. And for that reason I think we take it for granted sometimes. But we have to remember, and this festival is devoted to reminding ourselves, that film is an art as well as a business and it is real life and it is something more than real life. What that more is, is for all of us to discover on our own. You will join with all of us to discover what something more is over the course of the next 11 days. Now we have a very special opening film which is to me a wonderful example of something more than real life. It is very realistic, a story that I am sure has happened to many people...and yet the pattern, the atmosphere, the mood, the quality of...the human interaction that you will see in this film are truly the ‘more’ that film can bring to the subject. Please join me now in welcoming our special guests to introduce tonight’s film Breathe In, but before I introduce them I want to thank Curzon Film World, the distributor for allowing us to show the film as our opening. So please join us in welcoming the director Drake Doremus, the star Felicity Jones and the composer Dustin O’Halloran. Drake Doremus: Thank you guys so much for coming tonight. It is so exciting to premier the film in such an amazing city. Felicity Jones: Thank you so much for coming here. Chris: Thank you all...and enjoy the film.


BREATHE IN There is a moment of awakening for Sophie, an exchange student from England staying with an American family, when she realizes that she has changed things beyond her repair. Felicity Jones conveys the emotion with an isolated glance into space. “Breathe In� is full of poignant vignettes when a look or a touch is all it takes to forward the story. We first see Sophie being greeted at the airport by the wife of Keith a music teacher. Sophie is introduced to the rest of the family but it is in meeting Keith that a spark is ignited. They share their love of music and for Keith he discovers almost a twin soul and an escape to a world imagined but never fulfilled. But Sophie is reluctant to share her musical ability and when Keith invites her to his class, she declines. The obvious physical attraction


she plays down too but soon but she begins to reveal her amazing gifts as a pianist as well as her feelings for Keith. Here is an extremely well paced family drama that is beautifully tuned to a discerning audience. Felicity Jones is outstanding as Sophie pitching her performance to a level that engages our empathy for her while allowing us to see her vulnerability and subtlety in guarding her sexuality and talent. “I want to choose to play; I don’t want to do it because I can,” she tells Keith. Guy Pearce as Keith wears his dream on his sleeve of being a great musician: it is his ultimate goal. Pearce is one of the most reliable actors in movies today, you could almost close your eyes and dip your finger into his filmography and come up with an outstanding performance. “Breathe In” was a wise choice to open the festival. It is released across the UK on July 19th. Don’t miss it.


THE EAST *Spoiler Alert

Dead fish floating in polluted waters. Face of the CEO of a corporate giant responsible for discharging chemical waste into the sea. The first of three companies targeted by an eco-terrorist group known as The East whose aim is to give the purveyors of the crime against the environment a taste of their own medicine by pouring foul and poisonous liquid into their water system. Sarah, a security firm operative for a private espionage company is assigned by her boss to infiltrate The East and report her findings on the members of the group, but in so doing finds her loyalty tested when she falls in love with its leader, while realizing that she is becoming part of a cult with its own psychological traumas. Izzy, a member of The East, is in conflict with her corporate executive father and explains the ease in which the group transform themselves into activists fighting a cause, motivating them to go on the missions which they call ‘jams’.


There is a brutal and scary scene when Izzy and her colleagues force two execs, one being Izzy’s father, to stand in a swamp of toxic waste. Another has them spiking drinks at an executive party of a pharmaceutical company with their own drugs which they claim are harmless but have been proved to cause brain damage and then we witness the deterioration of one of the execs as she incoherently admits that her product is dangerous. Brit Marling, who plays Sarah, has a luminosity about her that demands your attention from the moment she appears. It is a rare quality that she uses well as a woman constantly on the brink of her cover being blown and switching her allegiance. As Izzy (Ellen Page) accuses her father “You create for a living toxic chemicals that will outlive us all and fear nothing, but tonight you will feel something.” And feel something you will after seeing this excellent thriller.


ARTHOUSE AMBIANCE THE DOMINION EDINBURGH Five years ago at The Edinburgh International Film Festival I discovered the Dominion at Morningside. It was the last night of the festival for me and the film was “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”, starring Amy Adams, an enjoyable film made memorable by the luxurious venue: the Dominion. Its history is even more illustrious. Opened 75 years ago by Derek Cameron with prices at six pennies for a stalls seat and nine pence for a seat in the balcony, the Dominion has over the years established itself as a beautiful cinema-going experience. Cary Grant and Steve Martin made personal appearances there. Today it is run by Derek’s sons, the only family run cinema in the UK. The cinema is enhanced by a few rows of leather armchairs with buttons on the armrests for raising a footrest or reclining for perfect comfort. The brothers bought the seats at a Spanish Trade Fair. Next time you are in Edinburgh head for Morningside and you will see this picture palace situated between rows of terraced houses. Some neighbour. Some cinema.


HARRY DEAN STANTON: PARTLY FICTION *Spoiler Alert

“Be yourself” he answers to the question “What advice would you give to an actor?” Almost two hundred characters are embedded in the creases and cracks of the face of Harry Dean Stanton, clearly observed in this moving portrait of the actor by Sophie Huber. Beyond the fractured features weathered by experience lies the heart of a loner which is revealed not so much by the words he speaks but the lyrics Stanton sings as he strums his guitar through almost half of the movie. He obviously feels more at ease singing about his life than talking about it. Some questions he refused to answer due to the sensitivity he felt about his relationship with his mother which he abandoned for a reason that must lie somewhere out there on a barbed wire fence. Sentences are often punctuated by the inhalation of cigarette smoke, another thought,


another memory, often producing a misty-eyed stare when talking about past friends like Marlon Brando, confessing how much he misses him. He chokes with emotion when talking about his heart being broken when he lost his first love to Tom Cruise, and smiles when talking about his friendship with Jack Nicholson. There are light-hearted moments David Lynch who has worked with couple of times reads through a questions for him, each feeling comfortable with each other.

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Strangely, Wim Wenders was the first director to give Stanton a starring role which was in the film “Paris, Texas� opposite Nastassja Kinski. The story concerns a character that has walked away into the desert forgetting who he is or where he has come from. At present he has another starring role in a film called "An Artist's Emblem" as a poet appropriately called Marlon. One is left with the impression of eavesdropping on a very talented, enigmatic and sad soul, who opens up his heart to us unashamedly allowing us to feel grateful for being in his company. The result is this excellent documentary providing one of the highlights of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.


FRANCES HA *SPOILER ALERT

Greta Gerwig’s characterisation of Frances would make Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer seem sane. She is the ultimate neurotic wanting to be a dancer but does not really dance. She has an apartment but it is not really hers. Life seems to disorientate her, she is a prize-winner of nothingness, but in a Woody-whacky-way, she is endearing and funny. Frances shares an apartment with her best friend Sophie but when she leaves for better things, Frances finds herself left with responsibilities that she finds difficult to handle and relationships that seem beyond her capabilities. One scene perfectly captures her awkwardness with life. Asked what does she do? She replies: it’s hard to explain. Because it’s complicated, she is asked. No, because I don’t really do it. One feels that there is a talent bubbling underneath but is switched off before it has time to boil. A magical moment is when Frances leaps, swirls and dances her way across a road.


Filmed in beautiful black and white, the whole film is a wonderful homage to the French New Wave and is a film that if mentioned in retrospect is certain to bring a smile to your face. Once again the similarity with Woody Allen is there in a character that is selfdeprecating and Greta Gerwig captures that perfectly. Leaves you feeling-good, few films achieve that. Released in the UK 26th July

CREDITS MbM would like to thank the following for their help in providing publicity material for the contents of this issue. Rebecca Scott, Evelyn Azqueta, Lucy Pilgrim, Becky Palmer and all the Edinburgh Film Festival team. Also Lucy Powell of Fox and Lee Beattie of WireMedia. Finally to Paul Ridler for designing the presentation of MbM.


NOT ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING It is a fact that the most popular aspiration for people is to be a writer. It seems the desire never leaves us even if the majority of us remain amateurs. This thought went through my mind when seeing “Not Another Happy Ending,” the film chosen to close this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. It is a charming romantic comedy about Jane, a young Glaswegian writer whose first novel was a success but is facing the dreaded writer’s block in producing her next book. Tom, her publisher, believes that she cannot write because she is too happy: reconciled with her father, in a relationship with a handsome young man, also a writer. The only solution is for her to get those words flowing again, thinks Tom, is for her to resort to drastic measures. The film really takes off as it ventures into believable fantasy. Jane starts to converse with her alter ego, the heroine of the latest creation who appears by her side to guide her every step of the way. To onlookers who cannot see anyone else


they obviously think that she is talking to herself...and a little bonkers. Set in Glasgow, the city emerges as a cultural delight with a fine focal place in a bookshop where Jane reads her book to the local literati. Later she joins her father at his local pub for the ritual pub quiz. These scenes are embracing and funny too. But the whole film is cuddlesome due to Karen Gillan as Jane, who gives the film its memorable status as being worthy of closing the festival and allowing her the chance to break away from Dr Who, though its fans might suggest it is the Tardis that has got her to this point in her career in the first place. Thank you Edinburgh...I shall see you next year.


STORIES WE TELL Spoiler Alert

Sarah Polley has made the ultimate homemade movie but created in a way that is original, told by her father Michael under her direction; it is comical, sad, and unexpectedly suspenseful. The central character is Sarah’s mother Diane who died of cancer when Sarah was eleven. Michael and Sarah’s siblings remember Diane as someone who loved life, full of fun and had inexhaustible energy. Under Michael’s narration, reading from his memoirs, we see clips of him with Diane. They met when they were both actors in Toronto. He stills believes that she fell in love with the character he was playing in the play rather than the stiff-shirted Englishman. They were, he admits, complete opposites. She loved acting and missed being on the road, while he was a stay-at-home type who enjoyed peace and quiet and his own company.


Yet they married and had two children together, but it wasn’t long before Diane got bored and when the opportunity presented itself she accepted an acting job in Montreal, she would be away for two years – they were both delighted. Shortly after her return, Diane discovered that she was pregnant and Sarah was born. It is after Diane’s death, when Sarah is in her teens, that a chance remark that Sarah doesn’t look like Michael sets her off investigating the truth and discovering something quite...but then like a classic Hitchcock thriller...that cannot be revealed before seeing the film. Currently on UK release.


What Masie Knew preview August issue


FILMFEST FOLLOWER MbM RECOMMENDS 28th June -6th July at

KARLOVY VARY MOOD INDIGO

Directed by Michel Gondry Starring Roman Duris. Audrey Tautau. Omar Sy. A woman suffers from a rare illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs.

KILLING SEASON

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson Starring Robert De Niro. John Travolta. Two veterans of the Bosnian war, one American, one Serbian, find their unlikely friendship threatened when one reveals their true intentions.

THE GREAT BEAUTY

Directed by Paolo Sorrento. Starring: Toni Servillo. Carlo Verdone. The story of an aging writer who bitterly recollects his passionate, lost youth.


AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS

Directed by David Lowery. Starring: Rooney Mara. Ben Foster. Casey Affleck. An outlaw who escapes from prison to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never seen.

YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL Directed by Francois Ozon Starring: Marine Vach.

Portrait of a 17 year old girl, in 4 seasons and 4 songs. 25th July – 11th August at

MELBOURNE THE TURNING

17 of Australia’s finest creative talents direct an omnibus film on stories by Tim Winton.

THE BEST OFFER

Directed by Guiseppe Tornatore Starring: Jim Sturgess. Donald Sutherland. Geoffrey Rush. An eccentric art auctioneer and his obsession with an heiress/collector.


EXTRAS

DVD OF THE MONTH

SIDE EFFECTS Directed by Steven Soderbergh Starring: Jude Law. Rooney Mara. Catherine Zeta Jones. .

FILM **** This Hitchcockian tale gets you tripleguessing about the ethics of a pharmaceutical company when it seemingly uses human guinea pigs to test its latest drugs. Emily (Rooney Mara) and Martin (Channing Tatum) are trying to get their lives back together. He has just been released after serving a jail sentence for insider trading and she is clinically depressed after losing a fortune which leads to her attempted suicide, resulting with her being put in the care of Dr Banks (Jude Law) a psychiatrist.

EXTRAS None.


Profile for Brian Mills

Movies by Mills (July 2013)  

A movie magazine for discerning cinemagoers and filmmakers.

Movies by Mills (July 2013)  

A movie magazine for discerning cinemagoers and filmmakers.

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