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It's Not All Work Work Work

Posted on Monday June 23, 2008, 10:14 by Damon Wise in Edinburgh International Film Festival
It's Not All Work Work Work

Time for a bit of recapping. Friday was quite a hectic day, starting off with an interview with Thomas Turgoose, aka Tomo, star of Shane Meadows's Somers Town, and his Polish co-star Piotr Jagiello, who's every bit as adorable in real life as he is in the movie. Turgoose is really coming along as an actor; I think he's 16 now but he's pretty confident for his age and somewhat surprised me by admiring my tattoo (it's an old-fashioned sailor-type) in front of his dad and telling me of his plans to get one on his shoulder. “Don't worry, he's got loads,” Thomas assured me, gesturing towards his old man. As I think I've said elsewhere, Somers Town is a great little movie; it's about two boys, one a runaway, the other a loner, who become unlikely friends in the shadow of the Eurostar. Thomas was effusive in his praise for Shane, recalled (with a shudder) the amount of violence they saw while shooting in one of London's scuzzier housing estates, and told a fantastic story about the scene in which Perry Benson, as the geezer with the moody-lock-up, comes out of his front door in a sarong and pulls £20 note out from his hideously skimpy underpants.

After that, it was off to meet Charles Burns, the illustrator-stroke-graphic-novelist whose eerie section of Fear(s) Of The Dark is still freaking me out with its twisted boy-meets-girl romance. Burns is a quiet guy, intense but in a good way, and I was embarrassed to admit that I only knew his work piecemeal, and principally from a book jacket that, it turns out, he had no idea about, which suggests he never got paid for it! Burns talked openly about his influences – Tintin, bugs, B-movies and the drug-soused underground comics of R Crumb – but the real doozy came when he revealed who had the rights to his 11-years-in-the-making epic The Black Hole, a warped tale of a sexually transmitted alien plague that attacks teenagers. If you don't know the book, the news will sound exciting enough, and if you do, chances are you might even wet yourself. The rights, in the “known universe”, are held by a Mr David Fincher. I don't know about you, but what part of a film about “a sexually transmitted alien plague that attacks teenagers”, directed by Fincher, is there not to like?

Burns' wife was also impressed by my tattoo, and took a picture of it for an art project she's working on. I encountered her at the party for Three Miles North Of Molkom, and as I write this, in the Delegates' Centre cafe, I can see the film's two directors, Robert Cannan and Corinna Villari-McFarlane, and I still feel bad that I didn't see their movie. Sam did, and being Australian, was very taken with it (one of the main characters is a cynical Aussie on a Swedish New Age commune). So at least one of us saw it. I offered to see it on DVD, but both Robert and Corinna reacted as violently as if I'd said, “I think I just ran over your mother on the way here. I don't think it was fatal.” Instead, I'll have to wait until the next public screening, which I think is on Saturday.

After the Molkom party we went off to The Caves for the Optimum/Warp X party, which was being held for A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures and Donkey Punch, aka MY FILM. It was an interesting mix of people (jury president Danny Huston, Steve Woolley, Shane Meadows, Thomas Trugoose, The Visitor director Thomas McCarthy, Jaime Winstone and the DP cast). It was a bit damp downstairs and, rather more excitingly, apparently haunted, but upstairs was where it was at and where everybody seemed to congregate. The DP guys were very enthused by the film's reception that night, as well as Empire's coverage, but as for Chris Waitt, director/star of A Complete History... well, this one not so much. If you've seen his doc, about his rubbish lovelife, Waitt is exactly how you'd think he'd be, and he was somewhat put out that Empire gave his film just three stars, while A RIVAL MAGAZINE gave it four. I offered him a right of reply, to give me a story for this blog, and he promised to think of one. I also asked him if he was still with the girl he meets at a crucial point in the movie. “Er, I'm not sure,” he said, looking around. “Maybe that'll be the story for your blog!” Luckily for him, she appeared soon after, albeit making the sort of where-the-hell-have-you-been noises that had us all coughing and looking the other way.

The party ended late, with scenes reminiscent of Neil Marshall's Doomsday on the streets in the Grassmarket area as the rest of the city's pubs emptied out. Since it was already quite light, it felt strangely much later than it actually was (3am), but from reports that surfaced the next day a lot of people didn't stop there. Sadly, I had work to do in the morning – an appointment with The Visitor...

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