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'Giants' and Cockrell a Hit!

The They Might Be Giants retrospective and Variety writer Eddie Cockrell's inspired introductions have been a huge hit at the EIFF. We highlight some seminal works screening as part of the retrospecti...

The They Might Be Giants retrospective and Variety writer Eddie Cockrell's inspired introductions have been a huge hit at the EIFF. We highlight some seminal works screening as part of the retrospective over the next few days.

Electra Glide in Blue proves the old maxim that its quality not quantity that counts, being James William Guercio’s only directorial outing. Mostly ignored upon release for featuring ‘too straight’ a central character, it now deserves recogniton as an astoundingly shot and constructed piece of filmmaking. By the time the wordless and flawlessy composed opening sequence finishes, you’ll be hooked.

The Gambler was scripted by James Toback and is, narratively at least, his film. Based on his real-life addiction, Toback’s story is perfectly allied to Briton Kark Reisz’s beautiful direction. James Caan is outstanding in the central role, in an edge of the seat thriller which is perfectly plotted.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door hasn’t been seen on these shores for more than two decades and is a scarily prescient vision of government oppression. Director Ivan Dixon made only this and the great Trouble Man (more famous for Marvin Gaye’s soundtrack) in a three-year directing career. Thrilling action sequences are allied to terrific dialogue from the ghetto rebels, all underpinned by Herbie Hancock’s incredible soundtrack.

Little Murders was originally a stage play which was re-discovered and brought to the big screen by Alan Arkin. It features then-superstar Elliot Gould in the central role as a nihilist, whose view of life as hell is perfectly represented by Arkin. His would-be saviour, Marcia Rodd, takes him to visit her family, and they’re as grotesque a representation of the ‘traditional values’ family unit as you’ll ever see.

Cockfighter is a film worth getting excited about which is groundbreaking in conception and execution. Director Monte Hellman filmed at actual cockfights using  real-life cock-fighters, utilising a documentary style that pre-dated a later vogue for the technique. This is the brutal tale of a solitary and silent man determined to be a champion cock-fighter, told with an unrelenting verite style by Hellman. Unmissable.

Eddie Cockrell will be leaving the EIFF after Monday's films in They Might Be Giants, so don't miss your chance to hear his informative and amusing introductions.

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