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Zero Days ****

U.S. / Director Alex Gibney /116 mins

Synopsis: The malware worm Stuxnet, famously used against Iranian centrifuges, has been claimed by many to have originated as a joint effort between America and Israel.

Academy Award winning documentarian Alex Gibney tackles another intriguing subject after covering pieces on Frank Sinatra, Steve Jobs, Wikileaks,  Fela Kuti and Scientlogy. 

The film documents the potentially  lethal computer virus which was first detected back in 2010. Rumours have long circled that the virus may have been commissioned by the US and Israeli governments to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The virus  was eventually found by the anti-virus companies, and was named Stuxnet by the industry. While the official code name was ‘Olympic Games’. The malware was made to be used to paralyse the infrastructure of entire states in a split second without leaving any trace of those responsible.

Gibney interviews a range of professionals including coders from Symantec to government insiders, nuclear physicists and an anonymous NSA source. 

The film is loaded with technical information which could have been dull and boring, but is conveyed in a way that is compelling. The filmmakers have also tried to make the film as unpolitical as possible with finger pointing by never to a definitive source. 

By the end it is difficult to feel safe in a world where cyber warfare appears to be the next stage on the battlefield. 

As with ‘Going Clear’ and ‘We Steal Secrets’ Gibney shows again that he is one of the best documentarians in his field.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Yoga Hosers **

U.S. / Director Kevin Smith /88 mins

Synopsis: Two 15-year-old yoga enthusiasts (Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Melody Depp) in Manitoba who work at a convenience store after school join forces with a legendary man-hunter (Johnny Depp) to battle an ancient evil and fight for their lives.

Kevin Smith returns with another part of his True North Trilogy after the demented and funny ‘Tusk’.

The Colleens (Smith and Depp) reluctantly work behind the counter at the convenience store owned by Colleen C’s dad (Tony Hale). The girls are constantly  on their phones and always  invent any excuse to put up a “temporarily closed” sign. When not working or attending high school they visit a strip mall yoga studio run by Yogi Bayer (Justin Long), who teaches moves like “Pretentious Frog” and “Dissatisfied Customer”. One night in the shop the girls are attacked by Nazis sausages (“Brat-zis”). They team up to uncover where these little monsters have come from and try and rid the town of them.

The story like Tusk was thought of by one of the Director’s Smodcast podcasts. Unlike ‘Tusk’ which was a self contained premise, this time there is too much going on and everything but the kitchen sink has been thrown in. 

In the past Kevin Smith has written some great funny observant films. Unfortunately Hosers is not very funny and most of the jokes are lazy stereotypes regarding Canadians using the phrases  “eh” and “aboot”. Although some of the wisecracks in the film do work.

The pacing is also all over the place with the first hour coming across as a Romy and ‘Michelle’s High School Reunion’ meets ‘Scott Pilgrim Versus the World’ with  Instagram 8bit graphics. It is only in the last 30 mins that anything really happens when the monsters are unleashed when the film becomes some sort of Troma inspired homage.

The girls are fun and have an incredible chemistry together. Johnny Depp’s private eye character Guy LaPointe is also different from his initial incarnation in ‘Tusk’ where he was played more like Columbo, while here he has changed the characterisation to being more like Inspector Closeau.

There are some elements of fun hidden in this mess. But after ‘Tusk’, this is a really disappointing piece of work from a unique auteur like Kevin Smith. Hopefully with the final part ‘Moose Jaws’ he can rein in the over imaginative ideas.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Pikadero ***

U.K. & Spain/ Director Ben Sharrock/97mins

Synopsis: Two lovers Gorka (Joseba Usabiaga) and Ane (Barbera Geonaga) seek to find a private place only to be blocked or interrupted at every attempt. 

The title refers to a Spanish term for riding schools or places to have sexual relations at in this easy going quirky comedy from newcomer Ben Sharrock.

Gorka  (Usabiaga) and Ane (Goenaga) have just recently met. Both are polar opposites of each other. He works as an unpaid apprentice at the local tool factory, in the hopes it may become a full-time job just like his father used to do, but is too shy and reserved to have any other dreams. She is an outgoing student, studying art and yearning to advance her English language skills with an aim of working in Edinburgh to better herself. They do however have same aspirations for love and romance.
The piece is set during a European economic crisis and is shot beautifully in the Basque country 

Perfectly framed and filmed over numerous locations including a recurring Train Station where the lovers meet and say goodbye to each other. The situations the two find themselves in are subtle , but funny. The scenes that work incredibly well are the ones involving Gorka’s family who could become a whole other film set up by themselves. Notably the uncomfortable squashed living room where the family watches television while the mother continually  sorts their washing. All the cast give unique and quirky performances.

While entertaining the film is slightly let down funnily enough by the lead characters, but not by the actors. Even although the term opposites attract is used and is mainly right, here it the couple are too different that many questions arise.

Why does she regularly meet with him, when he rarely communicates with her. When they do talk neither appears to be interested in each others interests. Why do other men in the area not try to talk to Ane. The character herself also appears underwritten, nothing is really known about who she is, where she has come from or anything about her background.

Even with these problems, this debut is pretty impressive and has enough to keep even the most cynical person with the hardest of hearts entertained.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Moon Dogs ****

U.K. / Director Philip John/90 mins

Synopsis: Two teenage step brothers (Jack Parry-Jones and Christy O’Donnell) head off on a road trip across Scotland in order for one of them to see his Girlfriend in Glasgow. Their relationship is challenged by the free spirited and enigmatic Caitlin (a charismatic Tara Lee) who comes between them. 

A stunning and fun feature debut with a fantastic soundtrack. 

Thor (O’Donnell) agrees to join his Step-brother Michael (Parry-Jones) for a road trip from Shetland to Glasgow, in order for the latter to see his girlfriend. Thor has an alterer motive he wants to meet his mother who has long since abandoned him. Before they even reach the mainland they manage to run into trouble until they meet Caitlin (Lee) who helps them out. She joins them on their adventure as she is also heading to Glasgow to play at Celtic Connections.

On the outset the film feels like a Celtic version of Todd Phillips ‘Road Trip’ (the main players are Scottish, Welsh and Irish. However it does not have the silly wackiness that movie has. What distinguishes the two is that’Moon Dogs’ has a cracking script by Derek Boyle and Raymond Friel blending funny situations with sensitive issues and interesting characterisations. Although climax feels rather rushed and uneven.

Director Philip John who recently has been directing period dramas with ‘Outlander’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ directs his first foray into features with visual panache and vigour with stunning cinematography of the Scottish landscapes. 

All involved give impressive performances especially Tara Lee who has the hard role of portraying someone who on the surface has unlikable characteristics, but who is trying to deal with her own insecurities.

All these elements are aaccompanied by unforgettable unique soundtrack by Anton Newcombe.

This tale of rebellious angst is uplifting, funny and never dull. It will interesting to see how everyone involved follows this accomplishment.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Maggie’s Plan ***

U.S./ Director Rebecca Miller/ 98mins

Synopsis: A young woman (Greta Gerwig) longing to start a family becomes involved in a complicated love triangle with a professor (Ethan Hawke) and his theorist wife (Julianne Moore). 

Writer Director Rebecca Miller has decided in a change of genres after making the dramas like “Personal Velocity” and “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”, she has made a light comedy with mixed results. 

Gerwig plays Maggie, who really wants a child. She has been unlucky in love and has decided to seeks a sperm donor. Maggie asks Guy (Travis Fimmel), a former college friend who is now a Pickle business owner. However she falls in love with John (Hawke), an anthropologist and aspiring writer. Unfortunately he is married to the egotistical Georgette (Moore), but he decides to leave her to be with Maggie. Three years later,  Maggie now has a  daughter with John but their love for each other is waning. She decides to reunite Georgette and  John.

The film has a Woody Allenesque feel not only due to the location being New York, but also due to the awkward situations the protagonist lets herself be involved in and light comedic moments.

Story wise the plot is over familiar and very predictable. For a comedy it is also light on laughs with only SNL alumni  Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader, who play Maggie’s best friends providing most of the laughs. 

Greta Gerwig usually has great screen presence as seen in her previous roles in “Mistress America” and “Francis Ha”. Here her performance feels flat and uninteresting, this may have something to do with role being mainly straight laced.

While Julianne Moore steals the show with her thick funny Danish accent and outlandish outfits. She chews every scene with relish. Even Hawke impresses with his sympathetic confused manchild who dotes on women’s affection.

Overall not a memorable piece of cinema, the story may be easy going but it is the performances from the supporting cast that make the film entertaining.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Finding Dory ****

USA / Director Andrew Stanton/ 100 mins

Synopsis: The forgetful blue tang fish Dory, along with her friends Nemo and Marlin  search for answers about her past. 

It has been over a decade since Pixar warmed people’s hearts with a story set under the sea, can lighting strike twice?

Taking place a year after Nemo’s return to the reef, the long awaited sequel flashes back to the heroine’s childhood, when she was a short-term-memory-challenged hatchling living with her mom (Diane Keaton) and dad (Eugene Levy). She wanders off one day, and searches for her family, however in typical Dory fashion forgets what she is looking for.  The revival of her quest sends her across the seas to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California along with her friends Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) encountering a new bunch of colourful characters.

The original ‘Finding Nemo’ was never screaming out for a follow up, but somehow Pixar has struck gold yet again. After the awful ‘Cars 2’and the disappointing ‘Monster’s University’, the Animation studio has successfully created a memorable sequel.

Rather than focusing on searching for a primary character, this time the search is for two secondary characters. Dory once again is voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, who has not changed at all in that she is still the quirky likeable fish that she was in the original. 

The story appears to struggle from the offset as it repeats elements from the original. Things pick up considerably when Dory reaches the  Marine Life Institute and the audience is introduced to a wealth of colourful characters. Once the story hits this point the pace and action is relentless, but never confusing or boring. As always with Pixar movies they come with an emotional and at times heartbreaking narrative and Dory is no exception.

The first new encounter is a stroppy  dry witted octopus, Hank (Ed O’Neill). Along with longtime whale shark ‘pipe pal’  Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a hyper condriact beluga Whale, Bailey and the hysterical  sea lions Fluke and Rudder (The Wire co stars Idris Elba and Dominic West).

The animation as would be expected is stunning showing the ocean as a vast and terrifying place.
The film never feels like a lazy, cynical cash in. Which in this day and age is hard to believe after the onslaught of pointless sequels audiences have had to endure.
Reviewed by Paul Logan

Hunt for the Wilderpeople *****

New Zealand/ Director Taika Waititi /102mins

Synopsis: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.

Writer/director Taika Waititi returns with his fourth feature after his vampire mockumentary ‘What We Do in the Shadows’, with a broad visual comedy based on Barry Crump’s novel ‘Wild Pork and Watercress’.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), a troubled city teen is placed into the care of Bella (Rima Te Wiata) an old fashioned outgoing woman who loves the countryside. However her shy unwelcoming husband Hector (Sam Neill) is not to happy with the new addition to the family. When tragedy strikes the authorities insist  the boy goes back into the system. Ricky decides to run out into the wilderness, but Hector catches up with him. Both parties go on the run with the authorities in hot pursuit.

This charming, nostalgic, wacky, offbeat comedy is driven by a hilarious script and fantastic performances by all. The deadpan humour comes thick and fast with the narrative. The twists are well placed and the overall story never drags. 

The look of the film has a very Eighties feel, which is funny as it would not be out of place as a double bill with one of that time periods classic family adventure movies The story is broken down into 11 episodic chapters every time Ricky encounters a new situation. 

What really makes the film work is the overall dynamic between the two protagonists who have great chemistry together. Dennison is a true revelation with accurate comedic timing and likeable screen presence. It is not very often that Neill shows his funny side, so it is a refreshing treat to see this veteran actor in a different genre.

A warm, funny, heartfelt, coming of age, buddy movie  will warm the hardest of hearts.

Reviewed by Paul Logan 


Edinburgh International Film Festival welcomes a galaxy of stars

Edinburgh International Film Festival has announced special guests who will be attending this year.

Jury Panels

Kim Cattrall, Spanish filmmaker and actress Icíar Bollaín and  Clancy Brown are on the Michael Powell Jury.

Angus Macfadyen, Sadie Frost and Matt Mueller, editor of Screen International are the International Jury.

Producer Steve Abbott, Dougray Scott, and Doctor Who’s Freema Agyeman will sit on the Documentary Jury.

Short film producer Rebecca Mark-Lawson, film development executive Hilary Davis and filmmaker Ashley Horner will be judging the Short titles in competition.

In Person Events

Cult indie auteur Kevin Smith will be talking through a career that includes the likes of Clerks, Dogma and Red State. The filmmaker, a previous winner of the Audience Award at Edinburgh, will be joined on-stage by his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, rising star of his latest comedy YOGA HOSERS. Smith will also attend both screenings of YOGA HOSERS with his daughter, chilling horror anthology HOLIDAYS, and BATMAN: THE MOVIE. In addition to the aforementioned Golden Globe-winning Kim Cattrall, audiences will also have the opportunity to hear from the prolific Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas, whose MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE screens at the festival and Outlander star and iconic on-screen figurehead of the Cinéma du look movement Dominique Pinon, who will also be attending the screening of the film that made his name, the seminal kaleidoscopic thriller DIVA, introducing the film alongside its iconic director Jean-Jacques Beineix, whose BETTY BLUE is also set to screen over the course of the festival.

Notable Guests

Hollywood legend Meg Ryan will be in attendance at the Festival with the directorial debut of her elegant and moving period film ITHACA, which features a cameo from her Sleepless in Seattle co-star Tom Hanks; Golden Globe-nominated Dundee native Brian Cox has two films premiering at the Festival, and will be in Edinburgh for both THE CARER and THE FORSAKEN while indie darling Robert Sheehan will return with the cast of hedonistic thriller JET TRASH. Other notable guests gracing the Festival this month include Will Poulter, Sebastian de Souza, Preston Thompson, Alma Jodorowsky and director Chris Foggin all in attendance for the screening of coming-of-age drama KIDS IN LOVE, which stars Cara Delevigne; director Rebecca Miller, in town to present love triangle comedy MAGGIE’S PLAN, starring Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke; Brady Corbet, director of feature debut psychodrama THE CHILDHOOD OF A LEADER; filmmaker Jean-Paul Rappeneau for the UK Premiere of French drama FAMILIES; Hans Petter Moland, director of A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH and much-loved Golden Globe-nominated star of dystopian thriller THE WHITE KING, Jonathan Pryce. EIFF patron James Cosmo will also join Clancy Brown at the HIGHLANDER screening; director Nick Love will be in attendance of the screening of AMERICAN HERO; and the legendary filmmaker Lizzie Borden attend a screening of her film REGROUPING, which has only been screened to the public four times, once in 1976 when it premiered at the EIFF. Michael Smiley will be in attendance supporting the screening of MY NAME IS EMILY and Joanne Froggatt and Tom Riley will attend the World Premiere of STARFISH. 

Diane Henderson, EIFF Deputy Artistic Director said: “In this special year we’re proud to welcome so many exciting and talented guests from all over the world. Some we’re lucky enough to welcome back and others are here for the very first time. If you’d like the chance to rub shoulders with your favourite actor, director, animator or producer, or the opportunity to meet the stars of tomorrow, then EIFF has it all. Join us at a screening, a Youth Hub event, or pop into EIFF HQ at Filmhouse, where guests and audiences will mingle until late every night of the Festival.”

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) takes place from the 15th to 26th June 2016.

The Nice Guys ****

Running time 115 mins Cert: 15

Synopsis: In 1970’s Los Angeles, Washed-up private eye Holland March (Gosling) and hired enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) must team up to investigate the case of a missing girl (Margaret Qualley) and the connected death of a porn star.

After showing that he can handle big action blockbusters with Iron Man 3, screenwriter and director Shane Black returns to a smaller but incredibly enjoyable action comedy.

Black has always had a way with pacing and clever dialogue, The Nice Guys is no exception in which audiences is given well balanced action with witty wisecracks. Not really surprising considering he is the genius behind Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Last Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout and even Lethal Weapon.

Black along with co-screenwriter  Anthony Bagarozzi provide classic noir aspects, channelling such classics as L.A. Confidential in particular the scene reuniting Crowe and Kim Basinger together. 

Neither Crowe or Gosling are particularly well known for their comedic chops. However both actors play off incredibly well towards each other as the  odd-couple protagonists.

While it is Crowe and Gosling’s platform, acknowledgment should also be given  to  Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s savvy teenage daughter. Rice holds her own with leading men.

If there is any flaws it is the MacGuffin that has been chosen, which is  interesting however this element never really flows particularly well within the confines of storyline. Also while the film is funny, there not as nearly as many comedic moments as the exceptional Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Fortunately, Black and his cast make it easy to get swept away in the wild ride that The Nice Guys offers its audience, and the enjoyment one gets from watching Crowe and Gosling bumble their way through a perfectly re-created 1970s LA far outweighs any storytelling issues in the film.

Flawed, but incredibly smart, the question is why Shane Black is not making more movies, when his current output is almost flawless. Hopefully his next foray into blockbuster country with The Predator will be equally good.

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Edinburgh International Film Festival announces 70th Anniversary line up

Artistic Director Mark Adams has unveiled details of the programme for the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF).

Now in its landmark 70th edition, the Festival will showcase a total of 161 features from 46 countries including: 22 World Premieres, 5 International Premieres, 17 European Premieres and 85 UK Premieres.

 Highlights include the UK Premiere of the highly-anticipated Disney-Pixar animation FINDING DORY, In-Person events featuring the likes of Kevin Smith and Kim Cattrall, and the Opening and Closing Gala World Premieres of the previously announced TOMMY’S HONOUR and WHISKY GALORE!. Old classics will be re-imagined with the UK Premiere of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, with John Williams’ iconic score performed live by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Festival Theatre Edinburgh, and the World Premiere of the newly-restored 4K version of the Scottish classic HIGHLANDER, celebrating its 30th anniversary with star Clancy Brown in attendance.

Mark Adams, EIFF Artistic Director, said: “It is a real thrill to unveil this year’s programme and I am looking forward to showcasing so many great films and welcoming so many talented filmmakers to our 70th edition. As always we like to offer an incredibly broad range of work to ensure there is always something for everyone from mesmeric retrospectives through to absorbing new short films, to 130 new features from 46 countries, rest assured this year’s EIFF will challenge, provoke and entertain audiences in equal measure.”

This year’s BEST OF BRITISH strand includes David Blair’s drama AWAY, starring Timothy Spall and Juno Temple as two lost souls seeking solace under the lights of Blackpool; Rita Osei’s debut BLISS!, following a teenage girl on a rite of passage journey of discovery across Scandinavia; Mercedes Grower’s offbeat debut BRAKES led by Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding; János Edelényi’s  THE CARER starring Brian Cox, who will be in attendance at this year’s Festival; and Charles Henri Belleville’s hedonistic backpack thriller JET TRASH.

Will Poulter and Cara Delevingne lead a  British ensemble cast in the  coming-of-age drama KIDS IN LOVE from Chris Foggin; Philip John takes audiences on an anarchic road-trip in MOON DOGS and twin librarians plan revenge in the quiet section in Euros Lyn’s Welsh-language THE LIBRARY SUICIDES (Y LLYFRGELL)

There are also brooding Icelandic noirs PALE STAR and A REYKJAVĺK PORNO from Scot Graeme Maley; acclaimed artist Henry Coombes’ SEAT IN SHADOW, a study into the symbiotic relationship between an eccentric, part-time Jung-obsessed psychotherapist and his patient/muse; Joanne Froggatt starring as a woman attempting to keep her family together as her husband endures unimaginable pain in Bill Clark’s STARFISH; Ibiza-set crime thriller WHITE ISLAND from Benjamin Turner; and the Agyness Deyn-led complex dystopian thriller THE WHITE KING from Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel.

Taking part in the series of In Person talks will be DOMINIQUE PINON of Alien: Resurrection, Amélie, and Outlander fame, whose renowned star turn in DIVA will feature in this year’s A Celebration of the Films of Cinéma du Look retrospective; legendary filmmaker JEREMY THOMAS, the prolific producer of over fifty films, including 1983’s MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE, starring the late, great David Bowie and screening at this year’s Festival; KIM CATTRALL who will discuss a career that has seen her leave an indelible mark across both the screen and the stage; and indie auteur KEVIN SMITH, creator of cult classics Clerks and Dogma will also be taking to the stage alongside the star of his latest comedy YOGA HOSERS, Harley Quinn Smith.

This year, AMERICAN DREAMS audiences can enjoy a host of fresh features including: a rom-com treat from Rebecca Miller in the form of MAGGIE’S PLAN, with Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore each delivering pitch-perfect performances; Meg Ryan’s directorial debut ITHACA, an elegant and moving story of a teenager delivering telegrams in World War II; the European Premiere of Rob Burnett’s THE FUNDAMENTALS OF CARING, a charming comedy-drama that pairs Paul Rudd and rising British star Craig Roberts as caregiver and dependent; Paco Cabezas’ MR. RIGHT starring Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell as an oddball assassin; the International Premiere of fan fiction marvel SLASH; and World Premieres of Amanda Sharp’s STICKY NOTES, starring Rose Leslie, and Steven Lewis Simpson’s road trip through Lakota country NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG.

 THE DIRECTORS’ SHOWCASE strand shines a light on the latest work from some of the world’s most highly-respected auteurs, each film offering an insight into perspectives and stories from across the globe. Screening over the course of the Festival are: BLEAK STREET, Arturo Ripstein’s black and white tale of a pair of murderous Mexican lucha wrestlers; dark Danish comedy THE COMMUNE from Thomas Vinterberg; Hans Petter Moland’s  police thriller A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH; Giuseppe Tornatore’s THE CORRESPONDENCE, starring Jeremy Irons and Olga Kurylenko; Isabel Coixet’s period drama ENDLESS NIGHT; Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s  FAMILIES; Kurdish docu-drama A FLAG WITHOUT A COUNTRY from Bahman Ghobadi; Taika Waititi’s  HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, following Sam Neill and newcomer Julian Dennison into the New Zealand bush; Ira Sachs’ observational comedy LITTLE MEN; Yeon Sang-ho’s vision of zombie apocalypse SEOUL STATION; Paddy Breathnach’s VIVA, set amongst the colourful world of Havana’s drag clubs; and YOGA HOSERS, the latest madcap adventure from Kevin Smith.

 This year’s EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVES strand features a number of much anticipated films from the continent making their UK debuts. Notable features include: Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi’s emotive BLACK, a story of forbidden love set on the streets of Brussels driven by a mesmerizing performance from newcomer Martha Canga Antonio; Florian Gallenberger’s ‘70s-set melodrama THE COLONY with Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl; Gérard Depardieu stars in THE END from Guillaume Nicloux and SAINT AMOUR by Benoȋt Delépine and Gustave Kerven; Jihane Chouaib’s  GO HOME;  Icelandic incest comedy THE HOMECOMING by Björn Hlynur Haraldsson;  legal drama KALINKA by Vincent Garenq; Kadri Köusaar’s pitch-black Estonian MOTHER; and  coming-of-age drama SPARROWS by Rúnar Rúnarsson. The strand also boasts a World Premiere of Balazs Juszt’s supernatural thriller THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY.

 Delving further afield, the WORLD PERSPECTIVES strand delivers a global array of works from emerging and established filmmaking talents. Highlights include the European Premieres of Laos-set thriller RIVER from Canadian Jamie M Dagg; India’s leading indie director Q’s  coming-of-age comedy BRAHMAN NAMAN, exclusive to Netflix; provocative Indian female buddy-comedy ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES from Pan Nalin; Jon Cassar’s stoic western FORSAKEN, starring father and son Donald and Kiefer Sutherland; Assad Fouladkar’s study of romance in a sharia setting HALAL LOVE (AND SEX); Kim Sang-chan’s darkly eccentric KARAOKE CRAZIES; Indie-Japanese crime drama KEN AND KAZU by Hiroshi Shoji; Diego Luna’s hog farmer comedy drama MR. PIG with Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph; Leena Yadav’s portrait of Gujurat PARCHED; and Oliver Schmitz’s courtroom conflict SHEPHERDS AND BUTCHERS featuring Andrea Riseborough and Steve Coogan.

 EIFF offers the best in DOCUMENTARIES, as the genre continues to go from strength to strength. Titles include: Andreas Johnsen’s challenging and thought-provoking documentary for foodies and environmentalists alike BUGS; Alexandru Belc’s love letter to the big screen CINEMA, MON AMOUR; portrait of electro-music star GARY NUMAN: ANDROID IN LA LA LAND by Steve Read and Rob Alexander; Mike Day’s ode to the Faroe Islands THE ISLANDS AND THE WHALES; Ross Adam and Robert Cannan’s mind-bending look at two of South Korean cinemas biggest stars THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT; Johan Grimonprez’s journey into the international arms industry SHADOW WORLD; and Niam Itani’s timely reflection on the place of refugees in the modern world TWICE UPON A TIME. Also screening are the World Premieres of Niall McCann’s LOST IN FRANCE and Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer’s SANTOALLA; while sports fans won’t want to miss Fredrik and Magnus Gertten’s BECOMING ZLATAN, the study of the gloriously complex football icon Zlatan Ibrahimović.

 As the sun sets, attention turns to NIGHT MOVES, EIFF’s annual look at the chilling, bloody side of cinema. Audiences can enjoy late night showings of a mixture of scream-inducing horror, fantasy adventure, and unashamedly brash genre-fare; with screenings that include: the World Premiere of Nirpal Bhogal’s homegrown horror FIRST BORN; European Premiere of horror anthology HOLIDAYS, featuring offerings from some of the genre’s finest minds, including In Person participant Kevin Smith; UK-first showings of swords and skis epic THE LAST KING from Nils Gaup; Anna Biller’s sexploitation tribute THE LOVE WITCH; Wu Ershan’s Chinese blockbuster MOJIN: THE LOST LEGEND; Steve Barker’s trip to a Zombie Safari Park THE REZORT; Sion Sono’s Japanese sex-comedy THE VIRGIN PSYCHICS and a hypnotic screening of the rarely-seen 1973 Japanese cult anime BELLADONNA OF SADNESS from Eiichi Yamamoto, co-presented by EIFF and Scotland Loves Anime.

This year, EIFF will host FIVE ANIMATED YEARS OF WILL ANDERSON AND AINSLIE HENDERSON, featuring Scotland’s most dynamic animation double act. The event is the first major retrospective of the duo’s work, as the pair reflect on their rapid rise and a career that has drawn critical acclaim and awards recognition in equal measure. The McLaren Award for Best New British Animation returns once again with two varied programmes showcasing the best new short animations from the UK; while EIFF once again delivers compelling INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION highlighting celebrated short work from across the globe.

Attendees will be able to attend a raft of SPECIAL EVENTS throughout the festival. A special screening of TRAINSPOTTING will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Danny Boyle’s seminal Edinburgh-set shot of cinematic adrenaline. Also screening will be BIGGER THAN THE SHINING, a provocative new work from Mark Cousins; the first three episodes of Gaelic language drama BANNAN; and SHOOTING THE REVEL: RE-DISCOVERING EDINBURGH COLLEGE OF ART’S REVEL FILMS OF THE 1930S AND 1940S. The Festival will host two illustrated lectures from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Open Learning, and will gather a panel of novelists, screenwriters, and researchers together to ask WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM? Youngsters can get involved with the EDINBURGH SCHOOLS FILM COMPETITION, with winning entries screened at Filmhouse, and benefit from expert advice on GETTING STARTED IN FILM CRITICISM.

 This year’s EIFF SHORT FILM strand delivers a stunning selection of shorts from the UK and overseas. This year’s short programmes include: SIGN LANGUAGE; FRAGMENTS OF THE CITY; FLAMING CREATURES; OTHER PLANES; RADICAL TRANSMISSIONS; and VOICES FROM THE WILDERNESS. OUT OF BOUNDS offers a special programme of the newest works from UK film academies; SCOTTISH SHORTS presents a collection of shorts commissioned through the Scottish Film Talent Network’s new talent programme; while THE YOUNG AND THE WILD SHORTS promise an eclectic mix of quick-fire cinema targeted at a young adult audience. The annual edition of the Scottish Documentary Institute’s latest BRIDGING THE GAP collection will return, focusing this year on works by female directors such as Wilma Smith (THE REVIEW); Natalia Kouneli (SILENT LAUGHS); Lindsay Brown (SWAN); and Lucie Rachel (WHERE WE ARE NOW).

 As the country continues to undergo a cultural renaissance, the Festival will put its FOCUS ON FINLAND, showcasing the best features and shorts that the nation has to offer. Finland’s filmmakers are producing challenging, expectation-defying work, and audiences are responding; domestic audiences for Finnish cinema alone are one of the highest in Europe. Screening at EIFF will be: Mikko Kuparinen’s 2 NIGHTS TILL MORNING; Christy Garland’s CHEER UP; Juan Reina’s DIVING INTO THE UNKNOWN; Teppo Airaksinen’s LAPLAND ODYSSEY 2; Aleksi Salmenperä’s environmental thriller THE MINE; psychological study WAR AND PEACE OF MIND from Ari Matikainen; and a series of fiction and documentary shorts from the thriving country.

 The world of experimental film is uncovered in the ever-popular BLACK BOX strand. Screenings include the UK Premieres of American avant-garde icon Lewis Klahr’s SIXTY SIX and Mika Taanila’s bold camera-less TECTONIC PLATE. BLACK BOX SHORTS returns with four separate programmes of shorts and in a nod to the Festival’s 70th edition, this year’s strand will revisit the 1970s with retrospective screenings of Lizzie Borden’s seminal REGROUPING, with the legendary filmmaker in attendance at the Festival, and other rarely-screened gems from the period. REGROUPING is a special event bringing together filmmakers, critics, and curators celebrating one of the most important periods in EIFF’s history.

In another telling tribute to this year’s milestone edition, EIFF plays host to 70/70 VISION: a series of screenings of iconic films in their original widescreen 70mm format. The programme includes Stanley Kubrick’s legendary 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY; David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA; Jacques Tati’s PLAYTIME; and Akira Kurosawa’s Oscar-winner DERSU UZALA.

Celebrating the CINÉMA DU LOOK movement, EIFF will present a focus on the work of Jean-Jacques Beineix, Luc Besson, and Leos Carax. Films that dazzled cinemagoers throughout the 1980s and into the ‘90s will be showcased in all their poetic glory, including: Besson’s THE BIG BLUE, LA FEMME NIKITA, and SUBWAY; Carax’s LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF and MAUVAIS SANG; and Beineix’s BETTY BLUE and DIVA. LOOK AGAIN: A CELEBRATION OF CINEMA DU LOOK will feature several special guests in attendance.

 Audiences will also be invited to trace the lively cinematic roots of the current wave of superhero blockbusters, POW!!! LIVE ACTION COMIC STRIP ADAPTATIONS: THE FIRST GENERATION presents a colourful retrospective journey through various genres, tracing the evolution of the live comic strip adaptation in cinema. Bringing together cult titles from across the world, films include: Roger Vadim’s BARBARELLA; Leslie H Martinson’s BATMAN: THE MOVIE; Mario Bava’s DANGER: DIABOLIK; Robert Altman’s POPEYE; and two rarely screened Japanese classics based on world famous Manga comic strips, Kenji Misumi’s LONE WOLF AND CUB: SWORD OF VENGEANCE and Junya Sato’s GOLGO 13.

 Other highlights include the launch of Filmhouse presents ADAPTING MISS HIGHSMITH, a journey into the work of one of the most adapted-for-cinema authors of all-time, a project that will roll out across the UK post-Festival. The programme will feature an illustrated talk by Highsmith’s acclaimed biographer Joan Schenkar.

 Alongside the UK Premiere of FINDING DORY, FILM FEST JUNIOR transports younger viewers around the world with age-appropriate UK Premieres THE CANTERVILLE GHOST from Yann Samuell and Kenneth Kainz’s fantasy epic THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER

And finally, film fans of all ages can look forward to a host of cinematic treats in the form of free St Andrew Square Garden screenings for Film Fest in the City. No ticket is required to enjoy a range of hit movies, including the likes of: THE MUPPETS; THE BREAKFAST CLUB; MINIONS; MAD MAX – FURY ROAD; FINDING NEMO; PITCH PERFECT; STAR WARS: EPISODE VII – THE FORCE AWAKENS and a special dance-along screening of cult classic GREASE.

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) takes place from the 15th and 26th of June 2016.