Edinburgh International Film Festival – Jonny’s Picks

Fellow Front Row Reviews writer Nat has already introduced the EIFF, Edinburgh is buzzing in anticipation with Movies Under the Stars starting off earlier this week despite being hampered by the weather. The film festival itself begins on Wednesday 20th June and Nat and I can’t wait to get tucked into the bounty of films on offer this year. Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara has energised the event after a lacklustre 2011 adding some interesting strands and bringing back juries.

The latter of these has been very beneficial for me as I take part in the Student Critics Jury. The jury was designed to give the chance for three student critics to hone their skills and work with established film critics Nick James and Dana Linssen. There is a superb choice of films eligible for the award meaning there is a great variety for me and my fellow panellists to sink our teeth into.

As with Nat there are many films that are tickling my fancy in this coming festival and picking just three of them seems arbitrary but here are the three that I am most excited about.


Killer Joe

William Friedkin is back and I couldn’t be more excited for his return. The director of The Exorcist and The French Connection is taking to the comedy-thriller road with Killer Joe. It seems that Chris Fujiwara is also excited about the return of Friedkin as the film is set for the opening night gala on Wednesday 20th June.

The festival programme promises Killer Joe is exhilarating and tense, warning that its content is not for the faint of heart. Matthew McConaughey’s performances are not usually for the faint of heart but the trailer promises something more. McConaughey seems to have grown into the performance of policeman/hitman Joe, this alone makes the film worth a glance. Throw in the likes of Thomas Haden Church, Emile Hirsch and Gina Gershon and we have a star studded event that is perfect for Edinburgh’s opening night.


California Solo

There are echoes of This Must be the Place in Marshall Lewy’s California Solo and I loved the former leading to my excitement of the latter. Robert Carlyle stars as a once successful Britpop musician who now struggles to forget his past living in the USA. Finding seclusion and anonymity on a farm Carlyle deals with his demons. This is a similar idea to the first half of There Must be the Place as Sean Penn’s Cheyenne ambles around his expensive mansion coming to terms with his identity. Whereas Paolo Sorrentino’s films was a tranquil meditative affair, Lewy’s promises to be slightly more active as Carlyle’s character is threatened with deportation and his peaceful life is put in jeopardy forcing him to confront his past.


The King of Pigs

A sucker for animation I was always going to find one in the festival that interested me the most and Yeon Sang-Ho’s The King of Pigs is an adult animation that tackles some very dark themes. Gritty and gloomy, Sang-Ho portrays the world of school bullying in which brutal acts take place. Two former school pupils meet and recall their school days attempting to avoid attacks from fellow classmates. Themes of inequality and gang hierarchies is not something that would be associated with an animation but I have often found that animation can analyse subjects that are to grim for live action. A nominee for the International competition and one to look forward to.

About The Author

Jonathan went back to university to study Film Journalism in Glasgow in 2012 and hasn't looked back since. Writing for the Edinburgh Internation Film Festival, The Birmingham Review, The Electrolyte Magazine as well as Front Row Reviews he enjoys working across media and if not lambasting folk about politics it's film on his agenda. Working in The Electric Cinema in Birmingham has allowed him to come closer to the medium he loves, his favourite filmmaker is Wong Kar-Wai.

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