Nick Love, director of The Business, says the film provokes either a love it or hate it response.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, Saturday, 27 August, 2005
I'm writing this on Sunday. I know it's Sunday because this morning I got up at 10am instead of 7am, and because Gregg's the bakers was closed. After two weeks of working, writing, watching films and drinking until 3am, with very little sleep, daylight or food, I'm starting to fall apart. At this point, both body and mind are held together by coffee, cold medicine and stubborness. But despite looking and feeling like something out of a Romero film, I bravely soldiered on, determined to see this festival through to the bitter end.
Saturday morning started well with several cups of coffee and a visit to the videotheque, where I sat in a dark stuffy room and inhaled everyone else's germs while watching The Beat that My Heart Skipped. Although it's stylistically very different from the trailer, this is a beautiful and brilliant film, and deserves to have a nationwide release asap. As the man in the booth next to me was watching Ferpect Crime, which also had subtitles, I was able to do some cunning multi-tasking and watch both simultaneously. I wouldn't recommend this method to anyone else though as it just gives you a headache and a mild feeling of guilt that you are not giving either film your full attention, of which both are deserving.
Closing gala is the business
The closing gala premiere was the surprisingly violent black comedy The Business, an unusually commercial choice, but one that went down very well with the audience and lent itself to a fabulous themed party afterwards. As Nick Love himself says, he and it provoke 'love it or hate it' reactions and although at times the lurid 80s fashions made me feel queasy, I remain firmly in the love it crowd. This film opens throughout the UK next week and it's going to make a lot of money, if only from the nostalgia singalong soundtrack sales. A lot of people talk about how the British film industry is in decline, but the quality and box-office sales of the British output in this year's EIFF suggest otherwise so maybe it's time we stopped carping about what's wrong and start building on what's right.
As we left the cinema it felt like a year since I'd boarded a bus for the opening night party, so it seemed symbolic in a way that I am too lazy to explain that this time we just had to walk a few feet down to the Waikiki Beach bar in Fountainpark. For one night only this had been transformed into Charlie's Bar (from the film) and there was a hushed silence as people walked in and absorbed the atmosphere. Sangria and paella, red lights and paper umbrellas, with the poor staff wearing retro nylon shirts... it was just the right amount of tacky. The full cast of The Business were there, along with Hollywood bigshot Harvey Weinstein, whose girlfriend Georgina Chapman plays the female lead (Carly). It was touching to see that true love can blossom even between a beautiful young actress just starting her career, and a fat, multimillionaire, movie mogul. Although I was too ill to fully get into the groove, it was a cracking party and a fitting end to what was fairly accurately described two weeks ago as the best EIFF ever. Or words to that effect.
Slap me if I sound sentimental, but kudos to Shane, Ginnie, the programmers and the rest of the staff for proving yet again what it is that makes Edinburgh the world's longest continuously running film festival. And with next year celebrating the 60th anniversary, in the words of Yazz, the only way is up.