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Busy, busy, busy...

Posted on Sunday June 22, 2008, 12:06 by Damon Wise in Edinburgh International Film Festival
Busy, busy, busy...

Apologies for being slack! There's been a lot to do today, and none of it involving seeing films. Sad to report that yesterday afternoon's session resulted in the disappointing Standard Operating Procedure, about the Abu Ghraib scandal involving photographs of scandalously ill-treated Iraqis. Though the film does an admirable job of humanising the US army individuals involved, it's a long and flawed essay on the subject that raises more issues than it answers. I can understand that certain forms of duress don't strictly count as torture: sleep deprivation, for one. But why, for example, would anyone want to pile naked men on top of each other? Or make them wear women's undies on their heads? And the billion dollar question remains: what kind of sick fuck would take a picture of the results anyway? It's all very well to bleat about scapegoatism, but, honestly, these people weren't out in the jungle or on a snowy mountain eating each other, they were in a secure prison unit, and the war-makes-people-a-bit-funny argument is a bit of a stretch. Apparently director Errol Morris doesn't like it too much if you question the film's integrity, so I guess I'll stay out of his way, then.

On a purely personal level, the festival has been a blast so far simply because I've been recognised. Twice. Both times by people called Dan, who spotted me on the Cannes video blogs. Well, they're in for a treat tonight, as Sam Toy, cameraman par excellence has just flown in (and, boy, his arms are tired). Sam had time to take in Blood Car last night, which he enjoyed, even though it wasn't the car-maggedon epic he was hoping for. Still, the audience “lapped it up,” he said. I missed it, sadly, being on the phone to Mel Brooks, off all people, who asked me to “hold onto my seat in Edinburgh” because The Producers is about to be staged in Vienna – Springtime For Hitler and all. Before that, however, I had time to chat with the joint directors of doc Three Miles North Of Molkum, which I'm hoping to see tonight. I have no idea what it's about, but if it's anything like the individuals behind it, it'll be fresh, irrepressible and a lot of fun.

This morning was spent smarming around at a photocall for Donkey Punch – or, as I like to call it, MY FILM. Funnily enough, director Olly Blackburn was literally just standing over my shoulder, noting, quite rightly, that although his film contains torture AND porn, it's not torture porn. About half his cast are up here, and they're having their party tonight. Sadly I can't let my hair down too far as I have Shane Meadows to interview tomorrow, onstage and everything, and having been pointedly reminded how badly my John Waters one went last year – the Edinburgh one, not the epic NFT one the following night – I have to be on my best behaviour. I saw Shane just now, and anyone attending the talk should know now that he has to leave after an hour, so get your questions ready. I may even hold the clips until the end, to get in more talk time, though Shane rather ominously suggested that when the lights come up, watches may be missing and undercarriages tampered with.
Even though I haven't seen anything today, I do have opinions on the bigger films of the day, which luckily for reader Acho, I think includes The Visitor, which I like a lot (and Man On Wire). Another biggie of the day is The Wackness, which was promoted today with a big, eff-off graffiti board. I'll post about that tomorrow, as I will the lovely Somers Town, which will – if Justin Marciano from Revolver comes though with the goods – be accompanied by a picture of ST star Thomas Turgoose throwing down some aerosol stylings. I might even write about Donkey Punch again. Did I ever tell you about MY FILM...?

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1 Scruffybobby
Posted on Sunday June 22, 2008, 18:36
Blood Car was a cheap and nasty but very funny piece of nonsense. Although VERY sick in places. Still the director Alex Orr came across as a laid back, down to earth guy - and he gave away free t-shirts. Did Sam get one?

2 Acho
Posted on Monday June 23, 2008, 03:10
Thanks for the updates Damon! I have identified the Irish release dates for each so may continue looking forward to seeing them. There are really positive comments about Somers Town on the Edinburgh festival forum thread too - Shane Meadows continues to impress it seems. Hope that interview goes well!

And of course you got recognised - those Cannes video blogs are legendary stuff! Or cult favourites, at the very least. I trust you and Sam will put together something ever so entertaining for our viewing pleasure.

3 Daniel!
Posted on Tuesday June 24, 2008, 01:41
Surprisingly enough, I am one of the Dans mentioned in this blog. I shit you not, Damon.

Standard Operating Procedure was certainly a flawed film but it certainly left you feeling ashamed over everything that went down there. It truly was, as one of the interviewees said, when America was "caught with its pants down". Still a bit convenient to have the framing device of the prison guard's letters to her wife, methinks...

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