Our trip through EIFF and cinema history continues this week, with a selection of films released in the 1960s, all of which, at some point, have screened at the festival. This week's post features a real mix of style and genre, from horror to sci-fi, road movies to historical epics...


1960 // Eyes Without A Face

A woman in a mask which has holes cut out for her eyes.

Director: Georges Franju

Screened at EIFF: EIFF 1959

Screened at EIFF in 1959, shortly before its official release, Eyes Without A Face, according to one French newspaper, “made seven spectators drop like flies”. This then prompted director Georges Franju to make the rather uncouth statment “now I know why Scotsmen wear skirts.” Scandalous upon release, the film is now considered a European horror classic!

Stream: BFI Player


1961 // Cléo From 5 To 7

A woman looks in a mirror (which is not shown in the image) and touches her face.

Director: Agnès Varda

Screened at EIFF: 2019 The Features Of Agnes

Following her death earlier that year, EIFF 2019 featured a retrospective dedicated to the iconic French filmmaker, Agnès Varda. A pioneer of both the French New Wave and feminist filmmaking, Varda made over 20 feature-length films between 1955 and 2019, with Cléo From 5 To 7 her crowning achievement, expertly handling difficult themes such as existentialism and despair.

Rent: Apple TV


1962 // Jules et Jim

Two men and a woman run through a caged tunnel happily.

Director: François Truffaut

Screened at EIFF: 2008 Jean Moreau Retrospective

Screening as part of a 2008 retrospective tribute to its outstanding leading lady, Jean Moreau, Jules et Jim is another favourite from the French New Wave. Directed by François Truffaut, it follows the story of a love triangle between the two titular characters, and Jule’s girlfriend, Catherine (Moreau). The story spans over 25 years, making it a hugely ambitious work for its time, and remains one of the most loved films to come out of the French filmmaking movement of the 1960s.

Rent: Apple TV


1963 // 8½

A man in a suit and shades stares directly into the camera.

Director: Federico Fellini

Screened at EIFF: 2018 European Classics

When suffering with writer’s block, Federico Fellini effectively turned the tables on himself, and wrote a film about a filmmaker struggling with, you guessed it, writer’s block. The result is the dreamlike, surreal, semi-autobiographical 8½, starring Italian acting legend, Marcello Mastroianni, as a fictional get-up of Fellini himself. Released to critical acclaim in 1963, the film still holds up incredibly well, placing in the top 10 of Sight & Sound’s 2012 Greatest Films of All-Time poll, and even inspired a Broadway musical adaptation.

Stream: Amazon Prime


1964 // Diary of a Chambermaid

A woman sits up in bed and looks to her right.

Director: Luis Buñuel

Screened at EIFF: 2008 Jean Moreau Retrospective

Another 60’s classic which showed as part of the Jean Moreau retrospective in 2008, Diary of a Chambermaid sees its lead actress play the titular role, the object of everything from lust to envy amongst the film’s supporting cast of characters. Spanish director Buñuel may have been known for some of the most surreal imagery in film history, but Diary… is one of his much more realistic works, and while perhaps not considered one of his many masterpieces, worth watching for Moreau’s dazzling performance.

Rent: Amazon Prime


1965 // Doctor Zhivago

A man dressed warmly stands in front of a large group and looks forward.

Director: David Lean

Screened at EIFF: EIFF 1966

British director David Lean certainly had a bit of a thing for making historical epics in the 60s, following up on 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia with another 3+ hour extravaganza in Doctor Zhivago. Not that the crowds at EIFF cared, as they packed out the 1966 opening gala to see it! The film would go on to become one of the highest grossing of all time and win five Academy Awards.

Rent: YouTube


1966 // Andrei Rublev

A man stands in a church and looks a little shaken as blood trickles down his face.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Screened at EIFF: EIFF 1973

Not to be outdone by David Lean, Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky spent the mid-60s crafting his own historical epic! Andrei Rublev tells the story of the 15th-century painter, and while not always the most historically accurate film, its realistic portrayal of medieval Russia and its take on several challenging themes won it many accolades. Burdened by censorship issues and numerous re-cuts, Andrei Rublev only made it to Western European screens at Cannes in 1969, before finally showing at Edinburgh in 1973. For audiences at the 26th edition of EIFF, it was surely worth the wait!

Stream: Amazon Prime/Freevee


1967 // Playtime

A man stands on an indoor balcony overlooking a busy office.

Director: Jacques Tati

Screened at EIFF: 2016 70/70 Vision

To celebrate EIFF’s 70th anniversary, we screened a series of films in their original 70mm format, and that gave us an opportunity to welcome Monsiuer Hulot back to Edinburgh! If you read about our 40s and 50s picks last week, you’ll already be familiar with Tati’s bumbling character, but his outing in 1967’s Playtime is arguably his funniest and finest! Tati’s influence at  EIFF has been longstanding, and more films inspired by his work will appear in this column at a later date!


1968  // 2001: A Space Odyssey

An astronaut walks through a corridor aboard a spaceship.

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Screened at EIFF: 2016 70/70 Vision

Also screening in 2016’s 70/70 Vision Strand was Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey. There’s not a lot to say about this film that hasn’t already been said, with its awe-inspiring shots and technical artistry going on to influence everyone from George Lucas to Christopher Nolan. So realistic were the effects that Kubrick used, that some conspiracy theorists have since suggested he replicated them to help NASA stage the moon landings!

Rent: Apple TV


1969  // Easy Rider

Three men ride motorcycles down a highway.

Director: Dennis Hopper

Screened at EIFF: EIFF 1969

The classic road movie, directed by cult movie icon Dennis Hopper and co-written with Peter Fonda, was slated for a very limited release in the United Kingdom, so unsurprisingly Colubmia Pictures weren’t best pleased to discover EIFF had scheduled its screening at the Playhouse, one of the largest theatres in Europe! Things went even more awry when a gang of Hell’s Angels arrived from Fife on their motorcycles! Thankfully, Fonda himself was in the crowd, encouraging him to ask Columbia for a release strategy rethink!

Rent: YouTube


Want some more EIFF classic film recommendations? Check out last week's article on the 1940s and 50s!