TGIM! The Edinburgh International Film Festival is back

For the last few days, the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival has been filling Edinburgh with the lights, sounds and inevitable broken projectors that accompany 150 films being shown in twelve days. A lucky Best For Film reader has already won a pair of tickets to the opening night screening of Killer Joe – but don’t worry, there are still dozens of films to be seen before the festival closes this Saturday with a gala screening of Pixar’s US box office-topping Brave.

The festival is screening an extraordinary total of 150 films, of which 121 are brand new features from 52 countries across the world. Edinburgh is hosting 19 world premieres (gosh), 13 international premieres (what’s the difference?), 11 European premieres (this is getting silly), 76 UK premieres (not if the separatists get their way) and 29 ‘Retrospectives’, which is a jolly clever way of rebranding films that aren’t premieres at all but have, for example, been out for fifty years (HELLO, digital remaster of Lawrence of Arabia) already. That makes 148 films – presumably the other two are too shit for us to even think about. Perhaps Chernobyl Diaries premiered there before its deeply ill-advised release on Friday…

There’s virtually nothing that we don’t fancy seeing, or at least that we wouldn’t sit through after four glasses of whiskey and a raw haggis, but some films have really jumped out at us. Who wouldn’t thrill, for example, at the prospect of watching Irish monster movie Grabbers? Enormous tentacular bastards attack a remote Irish fishing village, whose inhabitants somehow discover that alcohol is fatal to the alien invaders. Solution: get utterly, riotously pissed – either it’ll repel Cthulhu’s mates, or you’ll take them out before they’ve finished swallowing. Oh, and Russell Tovey’s in it.

Unless you were really organised you’ve already missed the boat on the sole screening of Blair Witch Project director Eduardo Sánchez’ new film Lovely Molly (shame – still, it’s out nationwide on Friday). But there’s plenty more found-footage horror for the taking, most notably (and literally) the utterly bloody terrifying-looking V/H/S. In this extraordinary omnibus feature, a group of unsuspecting burglars break into a house with orders to steal a rare VHS cassette. What they find is a corpse slumped in front of a TV and surrounded by hundreds of tapes. The five that they choose to watch are essentially short films directed by emerging horror auteurs including Ti West (House of the Devil), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead) and Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die). We just rewatched the trailer and we think our hearts may have burst.

One of the cinematic highlights of 2010 was discovering that Police Academy and SNL veteran Bobcat Goldthwait was an even better director than he was a writer. After remaking his name with ultra-dark comedy World’s Greatest Dad (it’s about unfulfilled ambition, lies and wanking yourself to death), Goldthwait is back with God Bless America, a searing indictment of modern society which stars Bill Murray’s brother Joel as a middle-aged wage slave who decides life’s just too short to spend doing anything but gunning down reality TV stars. Look out for our review any day now, or just go see it yourself – strong-stomached cynics will weep with joy as they watch the golden calves of 21st century America get ruthlessly barbecued.

Well, that’s 6/150. You can find the full (and spectacular) list of films here, and whether your tastes run more to lyrical Indonesian dramas (The Mirror Never Lies, already being touted as this year’s first festival masterpiece), absurdist Japanese black comedy (Gakuryu Ishii’s Isn’t Anyone Alive?, in which a group of students are markedly put out by their own sudden deaths) or energetic Icelandic gang thrillers (Black’s Game, based on the best-seller by Stefan Mani) there’ll be something for you. And don’t forget that although the festival technically ends on Saturday night, Sunday’s Best of the Fest screenings offer you the chance to see the festival’s most popular films all over again. The line-up will be confirmed on Thursday – check back then for our updated list of the EIFF’s biggest hits.

See you in the queue!

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