Artistic Director's Blog: Week 2 Begins

Chris Fujiwara returns to the EIFF blog with a mid-Festival update.

A fun part of my work during the festival is to introduce screenings and moderate post-screening discussions between the audience and the filmmakers. Over the past few days, you might have seen me doing these things for such films as Ebrahim Golestan’s The Brick and the Mirror, Cynthia Beatt’s A House in Berlin, Mania Akbari and Mark Cousins’ Life May Be, Brian O’Malley’s Let Us Prey, Terry McMahon’s Patrick’s Day, Amos Gitai’s Ana Arabia and Joanna Coates’ Hide and Seek.

Since there’s a good chance people are by now sick of the sight of me, I should warn everyone that on Tuesday, 24 June, I’ll appear not only live on stage with Koji Fukada, director of the witty and glowing Au revoir l’été, but also on screen in the film. Au revoir l’été deals with an 18-year-old girl’s summer vacation and touches in a light and knowing way on love, deception, and the social fall-out from the Fukushima disaster. It’s a lovely film, and people tell me I’m not bad in my 15-second bit.

Our retrospective on director Dominik Graf gives us the chance to show the UK premiere of his brand-new film, Beloved Sisters. Set in the late 18th century, it’s about the three-way romance between Friedrich Schiller and two sisters of noble birth but precarious finances, Caroline and Charlotte von Lengefeld. I feel very strongly about this film, which asks audiences to participate in the ideals of romanticism and commitment to love and art. Graf and his cast bring the period setting to vibrant life. The director will be here for the Wednesday, 25 June, screening.

Nils Malmros does something astonishing in Sorrow and Joy, the latest film of the Danish director, which he’ll present on Tuesday, 24 June, screening. The hero of the film is a successful film director who comes home one day to find that his wife, the victim of temporary psychosis, has murdered their infant daughter. Malmros’s direction, refusing to be exploitative, is deeply respectful of the tragedy. But the astonishing thing he does is to centre the film on the efforts of the husband to save his wife from the legal system, a process through which he comes to discover his own responsibility for what has taken place. Sorrow and Joy is a supreme work of light, grace and intelligence in the service of morality.

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

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