Cultural Plans Go Awry

Day 4 at the EIFF: So many parties! What's a festival diarist to do?

by Kotleta

Tilda Swinton at the Mirrorball 10th Anniversary Party in Edinburgh

Tilda Swinton at the Mirrorball 10th Anniversary Party in Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Film Festival, Saturday, 20 August, 2005

You could safely say without fear of reprisals, that culturally Saturday was a bit of a failure. I had so many great plans. It was due to start with The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, swiftly followed by three star-studded press conferences and then rounded up with Neve Campbell in When Will I Be Loved, a brief nap and then the choice of two parties - Mirrorball's 10th anniversary extravanganza and the Tartan Films bash for Battle in Heaven.

It's hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong, but having a morning sit-down and a leisurely chat over a cup of tea without looking at a clock might have been a bad move.

After missing Carmichael and discovering that the various press conferences were now just photocalls, I decided to sit in the sun and eat sausage rolls for a while. All that grease works up a thirst, so I went down to the Cameo for a 20th anniversary (there must be something about years ending in 5) drinks reception with some lovely people, free drinks and a varied canape selection.

The stilton and pear on oatcake was excellent, the slimy slug tortilla wrap thing less so. When that ended it was getting late and Cineworld was a long walk on a sunny day, especially when you've been mixing dodgy food combinations.

Time for a short, or two

Ditching Neve's latest arthouse flick, I opted for the World Shorts 1 programme at the Filmhouse instead. It was nearer. This was a good plan, as I got chatting to a few people on the way in and missed the first film anyway.

Of the remainder, Invulnerable was touching and funny, Tam Tu beautiful and dark, Time Please Gentlemen confusing and pointless. The beginning of Dust was a visual poem, but it's very restful watching people sleep on screen so I decided to join them. There was another, but I can't remember anything about it, which suggests that it wasn't especially good.

Then the nap plan fell down too. Beer and falafel (yes, yet more food) at the Forest Cafe led to vodka and astonishingly bad service at Negociants. On the upside, I met a very nice Australian man called Mikelangelo who is giving me some free tickets to his Fringe cabaret show at the Spiegeltent in return for a bag of cakes. He offered me a free comb as well, but this seemed like a suggestion that I needed one, so I declined on principle. It's such a bad idea to encourage rudeness.

A whole day of solid failing to do anything much other than sit around and drink was starting to give me self-esteem issues. The solution was obvious - trowel on the make-up and drink some more.

Heaven and Hell

The Battle In Heaven party was at Cabaret Voltaire and far more reminiscent of hell - hot, packed and sweaty. It was also far too short.

The star turnout was fairly impressive, I asked a short American man with much coveted seats to keep an eye on my stuff and later realised that he was sitting next to Jason Biggs, in town with Guy X.

Tilda Swinton was at the bar and the cast of Battle in Heaven were also kicking about.

A quick mini survey failed to find a single non-Mexican guest who had actually seen the film. A chubby man in a sweaty, white suit fell on a table, we did some lacklustre dancing and then the free drink stopped.

End of excitement there, so we headed on to the Mirrorball party at The Venue. This was quite hard to get to as we hadn't read the address on the flyer or looked at a map at any point. Luckily we ran into some mates with better navigational skills. This was also a cracking party, although it was quite expensive to get into (i.e. not free). A couple of people pointed out Damien Lewis, and if he is a tall man with red hair, then it was most definitely him.

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