Chris' Daily Diary 3: Friday Night Highlights

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The latest highlights from Chris in his blog

The last of several EIFF screenings for which I moderated Q&As at Cineworld last night was the Japanese film Hospitalité. Jim Broadbent loved the film and was astonished when its producer and star, Kiki Sugino, disclosed it was shot in eight days, with no rehearsal. “Eight days!” he marvelled in the car that took us to the Apex City Hotel for a festival party. “Filmmakers around the world should be made to see it so that they can see what can be done in eight days.”

It’s nice when people like the films one programmes. Earlier in the evening Elliott Gould raved to me at length about one of the films in the International Competition (for which he chairs the jury). “I’ve never seen a film like this before,” he said. “I had no idea work like this was being done anywhere.” I was as happy to hear him say this as I know the filmmaker will be.

Three highlights of the party at the Metro Brasserie:

(1) Meeting Grover Crisp, head of film restoration at Sony Pictures Entertainment, who had come to take part in our panel on digital restoration. Grover revealed he had just restored Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse, one of my favourite films, and would shortly be premiering the restoration at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna. Grover still loves Bonjour Tristesse, even after having watched it innumerable times during the restoration work. We also both love another Jean Seberg film he has recently restored for Sony, the almost unknown Robert Parrish masterpiece In the French Style.

(2) As I was talking with Grover, an excited young man whom I had never met before introduced himself. He was Nathan Silver, the director of the marvellous and surprising Exit Elena, which will have its World Premiere at Cineworld on Sunday evening. He told me how thrilled and grateful he was that the film had been selected for EIFF. He also told me that the programmers of several other festivals to which he had submitted Exit Elena wrote back saying that even though they loved the film they could not programme it. Why not? Apparently because it was too “small,” too low-budget. An incredible and absurd reason for a festival to refuse a film.

(3) Nadya Cazan, who appears in another EIFF World Premiere, Maja Borg’s visionary documentary Future My Love (interview with Maja here), spent much of the party shooting video footage in which people look at the camera, introduce themselves and say, “I live here.” The idea is that everyone lives on the same planet and we are all connected. Nadya showed me scenes she had made earlier in the day of Tilda Swinton, Atsushi Funahashi and Lav Diaz (three takes). When the film is edited it will be a very special record of EIFF 2012.

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Chris Fujiwara is the Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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