Following their successful Cage-A-Rama 3D Double Bill, expect chills and thrills as Megan and Sean from Matchbox Cineclub give us their top picks of what's to come at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2019.
Sean: Pollyanna McIntosh’s Darlin’ is actually the third film in a series, but you really don’t have to have seen The Woman (2011), and arguably even less so Offspring (2009), to thoroughly enjoy it. McIntosh starred in the first two but for this third outing she’s also written and directed, which is…unprecedented? Answers on a postcard, but Darlin’ is truly a flesh-creeping good time and a barnstorming debut to boot. McIntosh’s way with plot twists, performance - not to mention casting - and pitch black humour suggests there will be a lot to chat about at her In Person event.
Megan: Animation is not just for kids and creepy post-apocalyptic Birdboy is definitely not for the little ones. A timely story of searching for hope in an oppressive and hostile environment, the charming but brutally dark aesthetic de-cuteifies the animated animals as they face nuclear destruction, violence and drug abuse. If Toy Story 4 isn't your thing, this might be!
Megan: Film criticism is a very different beast now compared to Pauline Kael's time, but this documentary vividly revives her might and examines film criticism in America at its peak. Sharp tongued, witty and honest, Kael's legacy lives on through her writing, which is expertly voiced by the unlikely Sarah Jessica Parker, and the people who knew her best, including Molly Haskell, Kael’s daughter Gina James and a range of “Paulinistas”. Kael's impact on film writing is still evident today so it behooves us all to learn from the sincere love she had for cinema.
Sean: AKA Balada triste de trompeta - Sad Trumpet Ballad - which we can all agree is a much better title, this is director Álex de la Iglesia at peak grotesquerie, pitting a circus’s sad clown against its happy clown in a murderous battle for the heart (and body) of a conflicted trapeze artist. Excessively demented, and yet The Last Circus is more deliberate than Iglesia’s debut Acción mutante, crafting a parable of the Spanish Civil War from the fabric of a fever dream. Both films are part of EIFF’s excellent Retrospective Selection of Cult Spanish Cinema.
Sean: Speaking of which, EIFF senior programmer Niall Greig Fulton will be joining with University of Edinburgh’s Rachel Hosker to offer a peek at the programming process at this event, which will consider EIFF’s ongoing work in curating and creating film history. Did you know EIFF was the first film festival to present retrospective programmes? There are at least three pubs in Glasgow which claim to be the very oldest, and I’m in no position to confirm either claim. However, this event presents an opportunity for rival film festivals to respond to this blatant provocation, so if it isn’t the fascinating and inspiring 90 minutes it promises to be, we can at least look forward to an Anchorman-style (prog)rammy.