25 June 2012

Film Festival - the good, the bad and the quirky

I took a bit of time this weekend to see a few films in the Film Festival. 

I loved Dragon a martial arts  crime drama set in Yumman province in 1917. The cinematography was a bit "chocolate box" but there are worse crimes in film making.  I really liked it. It had a  very strong narrative. The fight scenes were not  many so that side of things  didn't dominate the way other dramas allowed it and it looked great.

The solo in California Solo was ageing britpop star Robert Carlyle. This was a wee gem. His character  is working happily on a farm quietly minding his own business. Then he is caught drink driving and as a result finds his status as a resident in the USA under threat. 

I didn't take to Sun Don't Shine - a road movie about a couple with her dead husband in the boot fleeing across Florida. I find these types of films are always painfully slow as the filmmaker attempts to get across the  humid atmosphere and build tension.

Life without Principle was a Chinese drama about the choices faced by different people on the brink of a market crash. Weighting up the moral dilemmas of money lender, small time gangster, a pensions salesperson and the wife of a police officer it was well make. A good thought provoking narrative  and well acted.

Chapitaeu Show a surreal Russian comedy set in the Crimea was  rather good  fun and one I would recommend if you like quirky off beat comedy as I do. 

Lastly And if we All Lived Together was joyous. A group of five elderly friends including Geraldine Chaplin and Jane Fonda  concoct a very glamorous  "core and cluster" model of care in their later years. But there are issues with old friends  moving in together.  Lots of schemes involving champagne and wine and they always seemed to be chopping up vegetables.  

There is still the best part of another week to go and I understand that there are tickets still available. Well worth taking to a look and seeing if there is anything you might like.


Dalia Lama Comes to Edinburgh

I was privileged to attend the Edinburgh Lecture on Friday by His Holiness the Dalia Lama. It was an amazing occasion and it was great to see and hear such a great man speaking.  

I was so pleased to see so many people there in a full Usher Hall. I was particularly pleased to see our new Lord Provost  welcome him. 

His civic leadership was in stark contrast to the lack of it shown by our First Minister who would not meet with a man who, in most peoples eyes, is the most saintly on the planet. 

I cannot understand why meeting him was such a problem. I do know that Chinese diplomats had been visiting each of the Scottish cities that His Holiness was visiting and in Inverness at least  some pressure had been put on the Provost there not to attend. That Provost rebuffed those pleas. In Dundee their Nationalist Lord Provost pulled out at a couple of days notice. Whether that was in response to Chinese pressure I shall leave you to make up your own minds.

Questions have been put down at our Council meeting on Thursday on this issue i.e what pressure was brought  if at all, and resisted, by our council.

I would say that I find our First Minister's position astonishing. He wants us to be independent but not Tibet.  If he has caved in to pressure from China re inward investment , pandas etc etc, then will he not do just that on other issues such as other human rights violations if we have a seat at the UN?

I cannot understand why he will meet with Rupert Murdoch but not with the Dalia Lama. He can't hide behind the international upset it may cause or claim that other political leaders won't  meet - both Nick Clegg and David Cameron met with him in May. 

I do fear that the foreign policy of an Independent Scotland would not be about promoting and protecting human rights  but the rights and interests of the biggest payers.  Salmonds stance did not do any favours for Scotlands reputation.

21 June 2012

Police Brutality at the Film Festival

The film festival has got off to a glamorous start with Killer Joe opening.

I think it is fair to describe this as a brutally funny black comedy brought to us by the same Director who made the Exorcist.

It was a great choice to open the festival with but was not one for the squeamish.

Matthew Macconnachie was brilliant in this. That is a sentence I never thought I would utter let alone the but this was not the marshmallow rom com he normally features in.

He played the ruthless policeman, moonlighting as a hit man, with wit and menace very well. Sort of like a smoother Vinnie Jones.

Another highlight so far has been 7 Day in Havana. Seven different dramas set Over seven days. A great sound track and some touching story telling. A great scene was after the drunken Serb film director insists his driver takes him to a club the driver turns out to be a great trumpet player.

There is a beautifully shot of them wading into the sea in the dark and all you can see is their silhouettes against the lights of Havana. The trumpeters was big guy and he is waving his trumpet about. It looked terrific.

The festivals boasts Jim Broadbent as the chair of one of the awards juries and Elliot Gould as a juror. How cool is that!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

16 June 2012

Film Fest To Start on Wenesday

Wednesday sees the start of this years Edinburgh International Film Festival. This is the longest continuos film festival in the world and predates even the Edinburgh International Festival.
After last years somewhat muted festival this year looks like it will restore some of the sparkle to the event.
Highlights include a special screening of David Lean's masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia. Now while I have sent this dozens of times on the small screen the chance to catch the marvellous cinematography on the big screen is irresistible!
Noel Coward commenting on Peter O'Tooles stunning performance in the starring role remarked that if he were any prettier he would be known as "Florence of Arabia."
The festival strs on Wednesday and runs until Sunday the 1st of July.

15 June 2012

Hate Crime - No Laughing Matter

I am really proud that in my time in power in my role as the Community Safety leader in Edinburgh we were the first city in Scotland to introduce a Hate Crime Strategy.

The Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership have launched a campaign to combat the corrosive effect of hate crime and are encouraging people to report instances of hate crime.

Media Students from Stevenson College have  produced the advert   to run during the campaign