Tuesday, 22 June 2010

"Will You Join Me On The Veranda?"

Wow. Been a while. I need to get this blog thing regular again.

This year's Edinburgh International Film Festival is in full swing and as usual, I'm can't get to see much, if anything. A busy weekend just past, however, ended with with the premiere of Donkeys at the EIFF, which I am glad I managed to get to. It was directed by the brilliant Morag Mackinnon and written by the equally brilliant Colin McLaren, two good friends with whom I've shared some wonderful alcohol induced and occasionally shameful times. All good.

So, while I'm friends with the filmmakers, I'll try and be as objective as possible.

Donkeys has been a while in the making but it was worth the wait. Telling the story of Albert (James Cosmo), a man who has reached that time in his life when he sees that the end may actually be in sight and sets about trying to reconcile with his estranged daughter (Kate Dickie), involving his old mate Brian (Brian Pettifer) in certain questionable ways. The film treads a fine line between tragedy and the blackest, sharpest comedy and is a brilliant example of how we deal with that eventuality in life that does not involve taxes. The tone shifts beautifully from bleak and sad to sidesplitting almost guilty comedy, an achievement hardly any films seem to either attempt or pull off these days and the entire proceedings are drenched in just the right kind of no-bullshit pathos I've seen in their work in the past and it's about damn time Colin and Morag got their chance at a feature.

It also features, to paraphrase festival director Hannah McGill, the funniest assisted suicide scene you'll ever see, but which is also handled beautifully. As well as laughter, there are a few tears. And a brilliant use of Demis Roussos' Una Paloma Blanca. A great film about that one certainty of life and the other bits that come along with what makes us human.

It's hilarious and touching stuff. I can't wait to see what they get to do next.

I'm going to see if I can get to a couple of things at Best of the Fest this Sunday, particularly Monsters, a film I've been wanting to see for some time, but circumstances always seem to stand between men and the EIFF. That and the fact it's so damn expensive these days if you want one of the event passes.

But tonight is all about seeing metal's Big Four on the big screen as Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth all perform at Sonisphere in Bulgaria tonight and the whole damn thing is being shown live. Bring it.

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