The Edinburgh International Film Festival – 2015 EIFF Highlights

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The 69th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) sees the appointment new Artistic Director, Mark Adams who unveiled the eagerly-anticipated 2015 line-up this morning at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse cinema. The line-up, true to EIFF style, is exceptional. Boasting 164 features from 36 countries and several in-person events and workshops, EIFF will kick off on the 17th of June and run until the 28th.

I’ve savoured every page of the press launch and programme brochure and have picked out some of my big highlights.

45 Years (UK)
FRI 19 JUNE (18:10 Cineworld)/SUN 21 JUNE (18:10 Odeon)
Weekend and Looking’s Andrew Haigh directs screen legends Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay in 45 Years which makes its UK premiere at EIFF. This subtle drama takes a look at the fractured relationship between a long-married couple.

The Pyramid Texts (UK)
THU 18 JUNE (18:05 Cineworld)/SAT 20 JUNE (15:35 Cineworld) /TUE 23 JUNE (18:05 Belmont)

Veteran Scottish star James Cosmo leads this drama about a retired boxer who recollects his career and the physical and emotional scars it left. Originally conceived as a stage play, The Pyramid Texts has found life on screen and will receive its world premiere here.

Bereave (USA)
THU 25 JUNE (18:00 Dominion)/ SAT 27TH JUNE (16:00 Filmhouse)

Evangelos and George Giovanis’ dramatic-thriller Bereave receives its European premiere at EIFF and promises to give an unnerving look at marital secrets. The project is headlined by the wonderful Jane Seymour and the legendary Malcolm McDowell – both of whom will make in-person appearances at the festival.

Franny (USA)
SUN 21 JUNE (15:20 Cineworld) / MON 22 JUNE (18:25 Cineworld)
Richard Gere stars as a billionaire philanthropist who encroaches on the life of a young couple (Dakota Fanning and Theo James). This sounds like fun and it’s sure to boast a great turn from Gere.

Love & Mercy (USA)
SAT 20 June (17:30 Filmhouse)/THU 25 JUNE (18:00 Cineworld)

The eagerly awaited Love & Mercy gets its UK premiere here – and is sure to be one of the most talked about films of the festival. This biopic from Bill Pohlad looks at the fascinating life of Beach Boys’ legend Brian Wilson – played here by John Cusack and Paul Dano. Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti round off the supporting cast.

Maggie (USA)
SAT 20 JUNE (20:35 Filmhouse)/TUE 23 JUNE (20:30 Filmhouse)

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance in zombie drama has been universally praised, so we are eager to see the action legend display some pathos in this genre flick with brains (and not just for eating).

Welcome to Me (USA)
SUN 21 JUNE (17:50 Filmhouse)/TUE 23 JUNE (20:45 Cineworld)

Kristen Wiig stars as a woman with a personality disorder who wins it big in the lottery and launches a daytime chat show. This sounds like a riot and with a cast that includes Joan Cusack, James Marsden and Tim Robbins, we don’t want to miss this one.

The D Train (USA)
SAT 27 JUNE (18:25 Filmhouse)/SUN 28 JUNE (Filmhouse 14:30)

We missed this one at Sundance so will be making it a priority here. Jack Black and James Marsden star in this ready-made cult film about sexuality and self-identity against the backdrop of a high school reunion.

Manglehorn (USA)
TUE 23 JUNE (20:55 Cineworld)/SUN 28 JUNE (18:25 Cineworld)

David Gordon Green wowed audiences with Nicolas Cage starrer Joe last year, I’ve high hopes he can do it again with the Al Pacino lead Manglehorn. This follows the relationship between an isolated locksmith and a sweet bank teller (Holly Hunter).

Rio, I Love You (Brazil)
SUN 21 JUNE (20:55 Cineworld)/MON 22 JUNE (20:15 Odeon)

Rio, I Love You is a cinematic love-letter to Rio de Janeiro, so expect some beautiful scenery and unique filmmaking in this anthology piece. Ryan Kwanten, Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Emily Mortimer, Rodrigo Santoro, Vincent Cassel, Jason Isaacs and Vanessa Paradis star in this one. Phew.

54: The Director’s Cut (USA)
SAT 27 JUNE (20:50 Filmhouse)

Mark Christopher’s Studio 54 disco epic was severely cut upon release in 1998, now the director has taken control back and made the film he wanted to make. I enjoyed the original, but am excited to see the version that Christopher wanted to make – let’s hope it’s even more hedonistic.

Dead Rising: Watchtower (USA)
FRI 26 JUNE (23:00 Filmhouse) / SAT 27 JUNE (20:30 Filmhouse)

The much loved Dead Rising video game gets the big screen treatment – lead by Dallas star Jesse Metcalfe. Expect lots of gore and brash fun in this zombie horror-comedy.

Infini (AUS)
SUN 21 JUNE (18:00 Cineworld)/THU 25 JUNE (20:30 Odeon)

There is a little bit of Alien in the aesthetic of this Australian sci-fi/horror Infini which sees an elite soldier face a biological outbreak in space.

Santa Sangre (MEX)
SAT 27 JUNE (23:10 Filmhouse)

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s cult 1989 masterpiece Santa Sangre plays in Focus on Mexico segment. This surreal trip follows a family of circus performers and some grizzly murders.

Roar (USA)
THU 18 JUNE (23:30 Filmhouse)

This 1981 survival-thriller plays under the Classics banner at this year’s EIFF and is a rare chance to see a forgotten genre flick on the big screen. Roar pits Tippi Hedren and real life daughter Melanie Griffith up against lions, jaguars, and tigers and promises to thrill.

In Person: Malcolm McDowell
FRI 26 JUNE (20:30 Traverse)

Cult deity Malcolm McDowell talks about his career and most-recent film, Bereave, at the Traverse this year. It won’t be one to miss for genre fans.

In Person: Ewan McGregor
SUN 21 JUNE (15:00 Lyceum)

Ewan McGregor returns to his homeland to promote Last Days in the Desert. Hopefully all the conversation won’t be related to that snoozefest though.

In Person: Jane Seymour
SAT 27 JUNE(13:30 Traverse)

The former Bond Girl and Doctor Quinn star makes a rare EIFF appearance to promote her latest film, Bereave. The actress will be taking part in a Q&A at the Traverse Theatre.

There are also some great flicks direct from Sundance (most of which myself and Scott have covered on the site already) from The Diary of a Teenage Girl to Cop Car and The Overnight. Fans of cult cinema will be delighted at the inclusion of a retrospective on the early work of Walter Hill featuring Streets of Fire, The Driver and Southern Comfort, amongst others. There is also a section devoted to the best of current and past Mexican cinema, the return of the ever popular Dead By Dawn, and a host of intriguing home-grown films to enjoy.

It looks like another great year. We’ll see you there on June 17th.

Andrew McArthur