It’s that time of year again – when the Edinburgh International Film Festival rolls into town and we all go and sit in the cinema for two weeks on sunny days (or not so sunny, really).

Regardless of the weather, and stamina levels, this year’s packed programme has plenty on offer to keep you indoors and from a technical perspective, continues to display the festival’s commitment to the art and beauty of analogue film projection.

While there may be no roadshow extravaganzas as per the glory of last year’s festival (though we hope for a certain 70mm title to appear at Filmhouse next month!), at this writer’s count and digging around, there are a total of 22 events which involve the projection of 16mm and 35mm across the 12 days of EIFF 2017. In fact, excluding opening night, there is at least one event per day which will have the unrivalled EIFF Tech team firing up those projectors in the versatile and bustling booths of the Filmhouse Cinema.

Poster for Gandahar

The first of these, and a particular personal highlight, is David Cronenberg’s prescient nightmare from 1983, Videodrome (Thu 22nd, 23:30). As a central text in my own dissertation at university last year, I have seen this film a lot – even on 16MM at Filmhouse itself back in 2013! – but if there’s anything that will convince me to go back to it just one more time, it is a late-night screening in Filmhouse Cinema 1 from an imported, Canadian 35mm print. Doesn’t that just sound perfect? I hope you’ll agree: this is unmissable.

Looking further ahead there is once again EIFF’s ever-fascinating Black Box strand, running every day from Monday 26th. Put together by experimental film programmer, Kim Knowles, Black Box specialises in pushing the boundaries of the moving image and in utilising a variety of film formats to do so. 16mm, video, 2K digital, 35mm, Digibeta: it’s all there! And in four separate shorts strands, jumping from format-to-format in each. Few would ask or even expect their tech team to show complex, multi-format programmes like this these days and fewer still would be able to pull it off. It is a testament to the quality of the programming and projection that Black Box remains a staple of EIFF.

The Element of Crime
The Element of Crime

For more 16mm, you would be kicking yourself to miss Lars von Trier’s The Element of Crime (Thu 29th, 18:00), screening in this year’s selection of science-fiction cinema from 1980-1985 - one strand of three in the overarching ‘The Future is History’ exploration. It is interestingly, however, the science-fiction section of this programme, under the title ‘Brave New World’, which produces the most concentrated amount of analogue screening at this year’s EIFF. From the aforementioned von Trier to Lizzie Borden’s BORN IN FLAMES (Sat 1st, 18:00), Luc Besson’s The Last Battle (Mon 26th, 20:50), Peter Hyams’ Outland (Sat 24th, 15:35), and many more on 35mm, this is tantalising cinema-going indeed.

Repo Man
Repo Man

One could spend all day gabbing about the prints in this year’s programme, how rare they are (Gandahar, Wed 28th, 18:10), how bold and unexpected a choice they be (The Woodsman, Fri 23rd, 20:40), and simply how great it is to have these films back on the big-screen in their original format (Repo Man, Thu 29th, 23:25). See below for a full list of titles. However, we must end by just appreciating the fact that we still have this opportunity to see analogue film projection in 2017 – and not only that but to see it done to the highest standards every year at EIFF. It is truly wonderful to have a festival as large continuing to actively support and shine a light on the medium (no pun intended). The work, care and skill that goes on behind-the-scenes of making this possible is a thing of increasing rarity in cinema today so it is only right that we show our support back, make the most of what is on offer and carpe the 35mm diem!

Cieran McCusker
Analogue Film Scotland

Twitter: @AnalogueScot
Facebook: AnalogueFilmScotland


EIFF 2017. All shows at Filmhouse on 35mm unless stated.


Thu 22     - VIDEODROME. Filmhouse 1. 23:30.

Fri 23       - HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING. Filmhouse 1. 13:30.
                 - THE WOODSMAN. Filmhouse 1. 20:40.

Sat 24      - OUTLAND. Filmhouse 2. 15:35.
                 - BELLMAN AND TRUE. Filmhouse 1. 17:45.

Sun 25     - MONA LISA. Filmhouse 1. 12:15.
                 - TOM MCGRATH: ON SCREEN ('Wholly Communion'). Filmhouse 2. 15:40.

Mon 26     - THE LAST BATTLE/LE DERNIER COMBAT. Filmhouse 2. 20:50.
                  - BLACK BOX SHORTS: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES. Filmhouse 3. 20:40. Mixed digital + analogue.

Tue 27      - BLACK BOX SHORTS: DISSECTING MOVEMENT. Filmhouse 3. 20:40. Mixed digital +  analogue.

Wed 28     - GANDAHAR. Filmhouse. 18:10. Filmhouse 2.
                  - BLACK BOX SHORTS: (DIS)APPEARANCES. Filmhouse 3. 20:40. Mixed digital + analogue.

Thu 29      - THE ELEMENT OF CRIME. Filmhouse 3. 18:00. 16mm.
                  - BLACK BOX SHORTS: HUMANATURE. Filmhouse 3. 20:40. Mixed digital + analogue.
                  - REPO MAN. Filmhouse 1. 23:25.

Fri 30         - THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET. Filmhouse 2. 18:10.

Sat 1         - BLACK BOX SHORTS: FEMALE PERSPECTIVES. Filmhouse 3. 14:15. Mixed digital + analogue.
                  - BORN IN FLAMES. Filmhouse 1. 18:00.

                  - BLACK BOX SHORTS: DISSECTING MOVEMENT. Filmhouse 3. 20:40. Mixed digital + analogue.

Sun 2        - BLACK BOX SHORTS: (DIS)APPEARANCES. Filmhouse 3. 14:15. Mixed digital + analogue.
                  - BLACK BOX SHORTS: HUMANATURE. Filmhouse 3. 16:10. Mixed digital + analogue.
                  - RED, WHITE AND BLUE ANIMATION. Filmhouse 1. 16:40.