EIFF 2001: Day 1

Amelie opens the film festival

by Trinity

Birth. Death. Love. Sex. School. Work. War. Peace. Exile. Home. Food. Drink. And, oh yes, there's some singing, dancing, and shopping too!

... and so Lizzie Francke welcomed us to this, the 55th Edinburgh International Film Festival, and her last in charge.

Welcome back also to everyone reading this, and I hope you enjoy the festival, wherever you are!

This year, the fest kicked off in style with Amelie, a gloriously positive film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the maker of Delicatessan. In a short, but funny speech about his film, he warned his audience not to be fooled by his fairytale view of Paris - apparantly the real Paris is full of dogshit and it rains all the time (not too different from here!).

The heavens certainly opened outside the Odeon as the celebrities made their way in. Unfortunately, the stars seemed to have been deterred by the damp weather although we got to see Brian Cox, Sir David Steel and even Mel from last years Big Brother...

The opening party was held, once again, at the Corn Exchange, and proved to be an outstanding success. Invitations were in the style of polaroid pictures showing a view of the castle profile in the background. The theme was "Green and Red" and there were some amazing outfits on show as well as plenty of strange "French-Scottish" foodie delights on offer.

Gimmick of the night was the photo booths which allowed you to take your picture with one of the stars of the film - the garden gnome. People queued up all night to get their photos taken, which were then stuck in a big album, mimicing the film.

But the highlight of the night was live entertainment from Neil "Divine Comedy" Hannon who enthralled the crowds with a short set. This coup had been pulled off by the festival's IT guy who's a friend of Hannon and had asked if he'd like to come along.

As with everything in this world, it's not what you know, but who.

To mark the opening of the festival massive images of Scottish film stars (including Sean, Ewan and Billy) were projected on the castle rock of Edinburgh castle from 10pm-11pm. If you missed it, you can also catch it on August 18 and 25.

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