Edinburgh – Day 3

Hamburgers and heavy metal


by empire |
Published on

Festival movies are food for the brain, but that doesn't stop an empty stomach from attracting audience attention by growling embarrassingly during the quiet bits. At Edinburgh this year, nipping into a fast food joint for a quick refill between screenings isn't an option. In fact, no one who sees Super Size Me will ever trust a burger again. Morgan Spurlock's documentary might, at a glance, sound like a Jackass stunt taken to excess - for 30 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner, he ate nothing other than what was on a McDonald's menu - but it has serious, Michael Moore-style points to make about the obesity epidemic in America. Enough impact, obviously, for yesterday's festival screening to trigger a hey-don't-believe-everything-you-see-in-the-movies advert placed by McDonald's in The Guardian. Empire's happy to report that it's a lean, detoxed Spurlock who's present at the festival. We're even happier that, to celebrate this fact, the documentary's distributor, Tartan Films, took us to dinner last night at The Atrium, judged by those in the know to be the best restaurant in the city. What does a man who spent a month gorging on french fries and gallons of coke pick from the menu? Thai fishcake for starters, followed by saddle of venison with glazed vegetables in a grain mustard sauce (anyone for the McBambi?). Needless to say, the conversation revolved around food. It was Tartan's head honcho Hamish McAlpine who trumped every other story, however, with his tale of eating slices of lion (served like prosciutto) in an Alaskan restaurant that had bought the meat when a zoo in Texas closed down? Yesterday, Empire also caught one of Tartan's other docs at the festival, Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster. Maybe Tartan could cut their travel expenses in half by passing off Spurlock, with his fanboy knowledge of the band and his distinctive moustache, as lead singer James Hetfield? Food was also in the mind of Shane Meadows when he introduced the world premiere of Dead Man's Shoes at the UGC. Seemingly it was the nachos with chilli from the Filmhouse cafe that got him through his first visit to Edinburgh in 1995 with his hour-long first feature Smalltime. As well as most of the cast (apart from star Paddy Considine, unfortunately, who is chillingly brilliant in this ice-cold tale of revenge), Meadows brought his mum along this year. She too was in Edinburgh in 1995, the year he was discovered, so now she's his lucky charm. After the screening, it was down to the Opal Lounge in George Street for a party hosted by the film's distributors, Optimum, with records spun courtesy of DJs from Nightmares On Wax. Walking along the street on the way there, Empire bumped into actress Jenna Malone, whose new movie Saved also screened last night. She'd managed to get Christian Slater along to her premiere and onto the festival's red carpet, but he'd headed off instead of joining her and the likes of Johnny Vegas at the Dead Man's Shoes party. Yep, that's the kind of mix-and-match of people we like at Edinburgh. Flashforward - Tips for Sunday A Fond Kiss (UGC, 7pm) Ken Loach's latest - about a Glaswegian Muslim boy who falls for an Irish Catholic teacher - receives its first public screening on Scottish home soil. Chain (UGC, 7.15pm) Filmmaker Jem Cohen (who has worked on documentaries on R.E.M. and Fugazi) stirs things up with this biting, visually stunning, anti-globalisation essay. Overnight (Cameo, 10.30pm) The crash-and-burn of movie industry success is picked apart in this documentary on Troy Duffy, whose first-time writer-director deal on The Boondock Saints goes tits up when Miramax pulls the plug on him. Alan Morrison

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