Chris' Daily Diary 7: Immodest Receptions

 On movies, audiences, opinionated Scots and dancing - Chris Fujiwara's latest from EIFF 2012

A good and engaged audience at the Traverse Café for the Tea Time Chat yesterday with Khavn De La Cruz, who programmed our Philippine New Wave section. After an hour of discussing the current situation for independent filmmaking in his country, Khavn closed the session with a poem in Tagalog. Then we went across Lothian Road to screen his programme of Philippine shorts at Filmhouse.

Exceptional Q&A late last night at Cineworld for the first EIFF screening of Mani Haghighi’s riveting, shockingly humourous Iranian road movie Modest Reception. Such a provocative film. The audience had no end of questions, and Mani answered all of them graciously, gently and wittily. Some of the questions had a strong undertone of “I wasn’t sure how I should react to this film.” Undoubtedly this was exactly the reaction Mani anticipated, and he did a good job of encouraging the audience to interrogate their own responses. Modest Reception screens again at Cineworld today (Thursday) at 18:45.

At the Grolsch-sponsored party at Opal Lounge for The Fourth Dimension, what did people do? Drank a lot of Grolsch. Danced. Smoked cigarettes in the smokers’ pen beside the door. Met some new arrivals to Edinburgh. I was told that within a few hours of landing at the airport one of our guests succeeded in having “some of the best sex of [his or her] life.” With that, together with the critical response to Exit Elena and praise for the film I had feared would be the least well received in the Shinji Somai retrospective (Luminous Woman) I think we can call this festival a success.

Also at the party I was present at an interesting conversation between two young Scotsmen, visitors to the festival. One, a man from Fife, had some rebranding ideas for EIFF. The other, a Dundonian, thought the other’s suggestions misguided. They were both quite sure of themselves, and the argument lasted a long time. I found it interesting that though their opinions were very strongly expressed they carried on the dispute in a respectful manner, each man letting the other make his statement, then briskly demolishing it. I have no idea how the debate ended because the DJ started “Whip It” and I had to excuse myself to go to the dance floor.
 

 

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

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