Edinburgh Int’l Film Festival 2013: Penumbra

In more ways than one, Penumbra is late to the party. With its protracted pans and incident-free longueurs, it might be seen as a stylistic continuation of ‘slow cinema’, whose death agony was more or less diagnosed by Sight & Sound editor Nick James during and after this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Furthermore, with its docudrama feel and days-in-the-life look at Adelelmo (Adelelmo Jimenez), a hunter who lives with his wife (Carlota Rodriquez) in virtual solitude in rural Mexico, the film is a humble retreat from the burning issues currently facing Mexico’s urban centres. Suffice to say, then, urgency is not its suit.

Edinburgh Int’l Film Festival 2013: Roland Hassel

Retired detective Roland Hassel (Lars-Erik Berenett) makes a phone call from a convenience store to enquire about the $8 million reward that is still offered for solving the 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. With quiet resolve and deadpan certainty, Hassel points out to the poor bureaucrat on the other end of the line that “according to the consumer price index, it should be $13 million by now”. Unsurprisingly, our protagonist is fobbed off, his purpose petering out. Dogged from the off, he continues on his way, having been tasked with investigating the few concrete details pertaining to that fateful evening.

Edinburgh Int’l Film Festival 2013: The Colour of the Chameleon

Taking on chameleonic qualities, The Colour of the Chameleon (Tsvetat na Hameleona) is a smart entry into the espionage thriller while also being something of a semi-satiric deconstruction of the genre as well as of the political corruption that pervades the post-Soviet territories. Its attention to detail and penchant for cumulative impact demand patience; like belatedly cunning protagonist Batko Stamenov (Ruscen Vidinliev), the film keeps its wider points half-hidden under a deceptively light touch. Slickly made, in aesthetic terms it doesn’t immediately strike one as particularly invested in history or in real life.