EIFF diary episode four

We catch up with director Jose Padhila and the great Ray Harryhausen as the festival action continues.

by Amber Wilkinson

It's take-two for my Elite Squad interview today, so I head up to the Caledonian Hotel to meet Jose Padhila. The hotel is currently swathed in scaffolding – in fact, the entire city looks like a building site at the moment, thanks to tramworks. I can only imagine what the tourists and festival-goers must think.

When Padhila arrives, he tells us that there was a fire alarm in the Caledonian at around midnight last night. He says everyone was standing about in the lobby waiting for the all-clear, when about 20 minutes after everyone else, Sean Connery walked down the stairs with a bag. One wag at the scene said: "I guess he's been having his make-up done."

Anecdote over, it's time for the serious business of talking about his very serious film, which explores corruption endemic in Rio De Janeiro's law enforcement. Padhila certainly isn't a man to shy away from issues and he's happy to discuss the difficulties of getting the film shot and his opinion on the state of the city today, 10 years on from the year in which the film is set.

Stop me if you've seen me type this before this week, but we will of course be bringing you a full interview about the film on its general release on August 8.

Before I leave, I ask if I can take a quick picture. I'm told "Yes, if you're quick." I am. Very. "That's the first time someone has ever asked to take a picture and only actually taken one," says Padhila. I'm a woman of my word… although whether he'll like the end result, above, is anyone's guess.

Having forgotten to bring my mobile with me this morning, I embark on the thankless task of going to Leith and back – this takes slightly longer than getting to Hell, given the tramworks all over town. That'll teach me.

I have time for a brisk bout with a film screener and a short set of my ongoing answer machine message tennis match with Three Miles North Of Molkom director Robert Cannan. It's getting so that I could pick his voice out of a line-up these days. There's a brief suggestion that we meet at 4.30pm, but having just snagged a ticket for the Ray Harryhausen In Person event, there's no way I'm missing it.

Talking of Ray Harryhausen, I'm reminded of a story someone was telling me yesterday about the print for Jason And The Argonauts, which screened earlier in the week. I'm told that it was so elderly that it had to be completely respliced by the projectionist before it could be shown, which somehow adds to the romance.

No need to resplice Harryhausen – still sharp as a tack at 88. Tony Dalton, who has co-written books with the special effects guru, leads a lively and interesting interview, intercut with clips from Harryhausen's films. We'll bring you the edited highlights as soon as we get a minute, but it's a pleasure to hear how he came into the industry – inspired by King Kong – and his care and attention to detail are nothing short of astounding. As I'm on my way home, I get a text message from my colleague Stuart telling me that as he was taking photos of the great man, he said: "You know what flash bulbs did to King Kong…." What a guy.

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