Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2011

I get quite excited this time of year.  I'm usually on holiday (just back from two weeks in France on this occasion), it's my birthday (although that is becoming less exciting- the novelty wears off after thirty odd years), and I get a curious sense of optimism about the forthcoming football season (probably subconsciously justifying the purchase of a new Hibs season ticket to myself) .  However, no small part of this excitement is from the genuine anticipation I feel when the programme for the Edinburgh International Film Festival is launched.  The EIFF, which kicked off today, has had a fair amount of criticism over the last few months (more later) but none of that stopped me from picking up the programme on the first day and setting about my system for determining my cinema viewing for these next ten days.

I have a system for lots of things.  When I cook, I like to cut my vegetables in a certain order and in a particular way. I get irritated when my system for the laundry is ignored by my partner. It's not an OCD thing- there's a logic behind it all. 

My system for deciding what I'll watch during the EIFF has evolved over the years and is now a great deal more straight forward than it once was.  

Stage 1- I read through the programme and mark the ones that sound interesting

Stage 2- I have a second read though to see if I might have missed anything and begin the process of prioritising.  East Asian action films and most things with a strong political theme usually have a very big asterisk next to them.  At the same time I try to work out which films are likely to get a wider release further down the line.  I don't normally mind waiting a few months to see them and my fondest festival memories have come from watching things I would have been highly unlikely to have caught otherwise (I'm thinking of films like Boy, Baraboo, Komma, Murk, Next Door, Left Bank, and Au Revoir Taipei to name a few).
Me and my system

Stage 3- I type out my initial choices dividing them into an A list and a B list.  The A list will comprise the ten or so things I want to see most with the B list acting as a subs bench in the event of time clashes, work commitments, or lack of availability.  In a World Cup or European Championship year then I also have to avoid fixture clashes.

Stage 4- Buy the tickets.

My excitement notwithstanding, it was hard not to notice the reduced number of features this year.  I found my ten easy enough but that's not great.  I normally have a list of fifteen or sixteen I have to whittle down.  Then there's the lack of any ticket deals which is hugely disappointing.  We'll know in ten days time whether the new direction has worked.