EIFF highlights

Six of the best at this year's fest

by Amber Wilkinson

As Edinburgh gears up for its 72nd year, we select six of the best at this year's fest, which kicks off with Puzzle, featuring a magnetic central performance by Kelly Macdonald as a housewife who decides to expand her horizons. The choices I've put in this article are films I've already seen and can recommend wholeheartedly - tell us about your favourites over on our Facbeook page.

Loveling

Karine Teles and Otavio Muller in Loveling
Karine Teles and Otavio Muller in Loveling Photo: Bianca Aun
This hopeful and observant celebration of Brazilian family life was one of my favourite films at Sundance this year.

Featuring a finely calibrated performance from Karine Teles (who co-wrote the screenplay) as a mum facing up to the fact her eldest son is leaving home, it captures the highs and lows of motherhood and the emotional swings that can sometimes happen within minutes of one another.

Teles told me: "Bottom line, the message we wanted to convey was it doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough money, if your house is falling apart, if you don’t have a job, if you keep the love going and you protect the ones around you with love, things are going to improve and arrange themselves somehow." Look out for our interview with Teles and director Gustavo Pizzi later this week.

Showing: Fri, June 22 6pm, Odeon 2 & Sun June 24 8.30pm, Vue Omni

Beautiful Things
Beautiful Things
Beautiful Things

Giorgio Ferrero and Federico Biasin's documentary hybrid was one of the Bienale College films last year in Venice and continues the Italian festival's track record for developing strong and interesting new voices, after 2015's The Fits. The directors incorporate the stories of four men from across the globe in order to build a symphony shining a spotlight on consumerism and waste.

Ferrero told me: "We thought about the movie like a contemporary opera, for me the screenplay was at first a score not a textual narrative." Read the full interview here.

Showing: Thu, June 28, 8.40pm, Filmhouse 2 & Sat, June 30, 1.10pm Vue Omni. Ferrero will take part in a Q&A after the screening on June 28

C'est La Vie!

C'est La Vie
C'est La Vie Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
This frothy French comedy is perfect if you want to leave the cinema with a smile on your face. Directed by Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano, who proved they could make a crowdpleaser with Intouchables, which became the world's highest grossing French-language film, it stars Jean-Pierre Bacri as a wedding planner having a very bad day as he tries to organise nuptials at a country house.

Jokes come in all shapes and sizes, from quick-fire to slow-burn, and they even find time to squeeze in a bit of social commentary between the punchlines. Featuring rising French star Eye Hadaira and Gilles Lelouche having enormous fun as a wedding singer whose ego is so large it needs a separate dressing room. We'll be chatting to Hadaira this weekend.

Showing: Fri June 22, 8.40pm, Odeon 2 & Sat, June 23, 3.30pm, Cineworld. Hadaira will take part in a Q&A after the screening on June 22

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis Photo: Paul Bourdier
This meditative documentary about climate change and the need for mankind to make changes for the better would make a perfect double bill with Beautiful Things.

Directors Nova Ami and Velcrow Ripper frame their story with the the metamorphosis and migratory path of the monarch butterfly, travelling the globe to see how the Earth is being affected by climate change and shining a light on some of those bidding to make a difference. Featuring impeccably shot footage that deserves to be seen on the big screen, this is a serious study of where we are now but which remains hopeful for humanity.

Showing: Fri, June 22, 8.40pm, Vue Omni & Sun, June 24, 1.20pm, Vue Omni. There will be a post-screening discussion on June 22

Island Of The Hungry Ghosts

Gabrielle Brady: 'The biggest rule for Poh Lin was: Therapy number one; filming number two'
Gabrielle Brady: 'The biggest rule for Poh Lin was: Therapy number one; filming number two' Photo: Chromosom Film GmbH
Another documentary that forges its own path far away from talking heads and soundbites, it was named Best Documentary at Tribeca Film Festival. Debut director Gabrielle Brady is fearless as she blends first-person testimony along with nature footage to consider the plight of those in asylum seeker detention facilities on Christmas Island. Featuring an otherworldly score by Aaron Cupples, the ideas in this feature are likely to haunt you for a long time.

Speaking about Poh Lin Lee, a trauma counsellor who she follows through the film, she told me: "I think she’s naturally a very poetic and receptive person and instead of being so inside of it and getting hung up on every little policy change, she was constantly seeing this ‘big eye’ view, which was really seeing it for what it was. That was what we wanted to do with the film, take a huge leap away from the very specific anchoring point and Poh Lin as a person helped us to do that." Read the full interview here

Showing: Sun, June 24, 6.10pm Odeon 4 & Tue 26 June, 8.35pm, Filmhouse 2. Brady will take part in a Q&A session after the screening on June 24

Searching

John Cho in Search
John Cho in Search Photo: Sebastian Baron
Matching its high concept - the entire film is seen through the various computer and phone screens of the lead character - with sharp execution, this debut thriller by Aneesh Chaganty delivers. John Cho stars as a dad who tries to find out what has happened to his daughter via her social networks after she suddenly disappears. More than just a twisty thriller, this film has real heart including one of the most heartbreaking opening five minutes of film I've seen this year.

Showing: Thu, June 21, 8.30pm, Odeon 2 & Fri, June 22, 8.50pm, Cineworld

Read our full coverage of Edinburgh here

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