1) Completed the Edinburgh Moonwalk with Daisy, wearing our mother and daughter matching bras as shown here:
2) Visited the Edinburgh Film Festival (newly happening in June) where I saw the following:
- The Edge of Love
- The Song of Sparrows
- Warsaw Dark
- The King of Ping Pong
- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
- Gloss: The Director’s Cut
- The Wave
I’d heartily recommend The Song of Sparrows and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. The first is a beautiful portrayal of human resilience in the face of hardship, alternating between humour and pathos and the second is a gorgeous-looking (loose) adaptation of the book of the same name (published by Persephone Press). It also stars the ever-watchable Frances McDormand.
I’d also recommend Gloss (a warts-and-all look at the fashion industry in Moscow), The Wave (based on this novel, which was in turn based on a classroom experiment by this man) and, to a lesser extent, The King of Ping Pong ( a Swedish film about adolescence, a little lacking in pace for my taste). Faintheart, although hilarious at times, wasn’t as funny overall as it should have been (given its cast) or, indeed, as it thought it was.
Warsaw Dark was either an interesting piece of art house cinema or a load of pretentious tosh (I’m inclining towards the second opinion). The film was Christopher Doyle’s second outing as a director and here I have to put my hands up and say that, although he clearly enjoys a reputation as an outstanding cinematographer among those in the know, I’d never heard of him. However, any opinion I have or may have of him in the future could hardly have been enhanced by his performance at the Q & A session after the film. Doyle shared the stage with his director of photography, Rain Li and the film’s producer, Marianna Rowinska. What was obvious from the outset, though was that Doyle had to be in the limelight at all times. When either of his colleagues attempted to answer a question, he gurned away on the sidelines, ensuring that the majority of the audience was looking at him. Odd behaviour, I thought, for a man who presumably chose to spend his life behind the camera rather than in front of it.
The Edge of Love deserves special mention, if only because it was so thoroughly disappointing. Dealing as it does with the relationship between Dylan Thomas, his wife, Caitlin and his former lover Vera Phillips, I had expected this film to be an exploration of human emotion. According to the IMDb synopsis, this is a film in which “The passion and pathos of legendary poet Dylan Thomas is told through the lives of two extraordinary women.” Sadly, nothing could have been further from the truth. I found it impossible to care about any of the characters for the majority of the film and, given that there were so many references to sex and love, the whole thing was strangely lacking in passion and almost sterile. The only genuinely emotional scenes in the film were the battle scenes and Captain William Killick’s resulting post-traumatic stress. Killick is played by Cillian Murphy and, while he’s lovely to look at in the early part of the film, the poor man is given dialogue so mannered and clunky that it sounds as if it was written by a pompous fourteen year-old who’d read too much bad romantic fiction. Keira Knightley as Vera at least makes an attempt at a Welsh accent (even if it is of the “There’s lovely, boy-o” variety). Sienna Miller’s accent, on the other hand, is from everywhere and nowhere. They both perform well as clothes-horses, though (ooh, scratch your eyes out!) with Keira looking picture-perfect in her 1940s garb, while Sienna showcases boho chic to great effect. Matthew Rhys’s portrayal of Dylan Thomas ironically reverses historical fact with disastrous consequences. Thomas was famously ugly but charming, Rhys is considerably better looking but about as charmless as it is possible for an individual to be. It is really is straining the bounds of credibility to suggest that one let alone two women could have been won over by this self-serving monster. To quote Tom Paulin: I didn’t like it.