EIFF @ Edinburgh International Festival: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
21 August 2023
WORLD PREMIERE Jekyll and Hyde trade London for Edinburgh in Hope Dickson Leach’s cinematic...
In our penultimate article looking at 75 years of great EIFF films, we move into the 21st century and take a look at some modern classics from the noughties...
Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2000
Wong Kar-Wai's masterpiece was a standout film from the first EIFF of the 21st century, and went on to be voted 24th in Sight & Sound's most recent 100 Greatest Films of All Time poll, one of only two films since the year 2000 to make the cut. The romantic drama follows two neighbours, outstandingly portrayed by Hong Kong superstars Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, who form a bond after suspecting an affair between their spouses. Wong's moody but colourful filmmaking tells a story of unrealised love straight from the heart.
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2001
This feel-good film about a quirky Parisian from director Jean-Pierre Jeunet captivated audiences at EIFF in 2001. Audrey Tatou is delightful in the titular role as the kooky waitress who quietly meddles in the lives of those around her (with the best intentions!) The use of saturated colours shows Paris in a whole new, almost surreal, light, as Amélie goes about her daily business of orchestrating romances and stealing garden gnomes!
Director: Gaspar Noé
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2002
Not a film for the feint-hearted, but if you know anything about the works of Gaspar Noé, you probably suspected as much! Inventively told in reverse chronological (hence the title), the film follows two men attempting to avenge the rape of a woman they both love. The film totally polarised audiences, leaving many astounded and outraged in equal manner.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2003
We were lucky enough to welcome cinema icon Clint Eastwood to Edinburgh in 1990, and since that visit, he's made a number of critically-acclaimed, award-winning modern classics, from 1992's Unforgiven to 2004's Million Dollar Baby. Another such film from Eastwood is this 2003 somber, Boston-set, crime drama, for which Sean Penn and Tim Robbins both took home Oscars for outstanding performances. Gritty and haunting, Mystic River expertly tackles difficult themes of trauma, grief and revenge.
Rent: Apple TV
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2004
Released a year earlier in its director's native South Korea, Oldboy is one of the films most credited for bringing East Asian cinema to a wider audience this century. The brutal revenge film finds Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su, a man who was kidnapped and held prisoner for 15 years, before suddenly being released and tasked with finding his captor in just five days. Littered with impressive action and fight sequences, but not without heart, Oldboy is a perfect thriller (but we can't promise it won't put you off sushi for life...)
Stream: Amazon Prime
Director: Werner Herzog
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2005
Werner Herzog appeared in this column a few weeks ago, and we mentioned that during EIFF 72, he disappeared off to the Scottish Highlands without warning. It makes sense then that he'd be interested in making a film about another man who shunned civilisation to immerse himself in nature. Chronicling the life of bear-enthusiast, Timothy Treadwell, and using much of Treadwell's own home footage, we watch on as he appears to integrate himself with the grizzlies of Katmai National Park and build their trust. Despite the clearly crazy intentions of the film's subject, Herzog himself narrates with an open mind.
Rent: Apple TV
Director: Jonathan Dayton / Valerie Faris
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2006
A dysfunction family take a wacky road trip in this great indie comedy from 2006, as they set to support their daughter's efforts to win the Little Miss Sunshine contest in California. There's not a single family member without their quirks though, and with the six of them confined to their VW bus, the trip quickly turns into a ticking time bomb. Little Miss Sunshine is a film that finely balances belly laughs with tender moments, while really letting its strong ensemble cast shine!
Director: Anton Corbijn
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2007
A much deserved winner of the Michael Powell Award at EIFF 2007, Control tells the tragic story of Joy Division lead singer, Ian Curtis. Director Anton Corbijn made a name for himself in the 80s and 90s directing music videos for the likes of U2, Nirvana, Metallica and Depeche Mode, so its no surprise that his filmmaking style is perfectly suited to a biopic on the iconic but reluctant indie star. Shot in stunning black and white, a decision which seems perfectly fitting when backed by Joy Division classics such as Love Will Tear Us Apart and Atmosphere, the film features a sensational performance from its lead, Sam Riley, and won praise from Curtis's former bandmates.
Stream: Amazon Prime/Freevee
Director: Olivier Assayas
Screened at EIFF: EIFF 2009
Prolific French director Olivier Assayas is a staple at European film festivals these days, and his contemplative family drama drew many plaudits on the circuit towards the end of the decade. The film follows three siblings who must decide what to do with their recently deceased mother's homestead, and this plot is tackled in a nuanced and eloquent manner, without any over-the-top melodrama just for the sake of it. If you enjoy this, you may also want to check out another much-loved Assayas film, 1996's Irma Vep (starring In The Mood For Love's Maggie Cheung) at EIFF22!
Director: Wes Anderson
Screens at EIFF: EIFF 2022
The first of Wes Anderson's forays into stop-motion animation, Fantastic Mr. Fox is a meticulously crafted take on Roald Dahl's classic children's novel. Voiced by an all-star cast led by George Clooney and Meryl Street, the film can delight children and adults alike, with its lovable woodland characters set against Anderson's infallible filmmaking style. Fantastic Mr. Fox hasn't actually screened at EIFF before, but that's changing next Friday, when you can catch it for free at Film Fest in the City!
Missed our previous posts in this series? Here you go...
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