Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Edinburgh Film Festival Diaries
Edinburgh Diary - Day 12

by Christine Harris-Smyth

Debut no-budget feature "Eliminator" has been heavily promoted by its makers, so I take a look first thing. This action spoof does not make my day. I know, however, that many good filmmakers had equally dubious beginnings. Peter Jackson, director of 'Frighteners', started with 'Bad Taste', a no-budget horror/schlock that took years to finish.

Next I make for a print-rehearsal of Angelica Huston's "Bastard Out of Carolina". There are less than a dozen in the audience of a very large cinema. The film is incredibly moving. I don't find the graphic representation of sexual abuse anywhere near as disturbing as the emotional truth at the core of the film. "Bastard Out of Carolina" is a melodrama; after all, it was made for TV, but it is beyond the movie-of-the-week tear-jerking genre. Huston's aim is true and I cry buckets.

This is not a movie to take your girlfriend to, it is a movie your sister and your mother should see. For once the complicity of families, including mothers, in the matter of incest is shown on the screen. It is also good to see Jennifer Jason Leigh stretching, and young actor Jena Malone is extraordinary in a role that would be demanding for the most seasoned professional.

Recovering from "Bastard Out of Carolina" could take half a day, but I have an interview with director Nick Broomfield and his producer Michele D'Acosta. They are here to promote "Fetishes", Broomfield's latest documentary in which he moves away from his normal habit of pursuing his subject. Instead Broomfield documents the activities of an up-market S&M parlour.

I am interested in Broomfield's choice of material - dysfunctional women with power - given three earlier documentaries on Margaret Thatcher, Heidi Fleiss, and serial killer Eileen Wuornos. Broomfield is uncomfortable with this line of enquiry. It is not surprising that those of us who make a living out of questioning and editorializing others get squeamish when the tables are turned.

Another party at 8 PM. This one is for the launch of something to do with Liverpool and producer Nik Powell's new feature. I do try to get to grips with the reason for the party as I wait for the room to fill but - like everyone else - abandon all pretense once the first glass of wine reaches my lips. One of my guardian angels introduces me to director Gillies Mckinnon who is a lovely man but refuses to gossip on the basis that I might repeat it. I consider losing my press pass.

A few hours later I return to the same room en route for the party of the night. The Evening Standard is throwing a BIG party with really heavy security and everyone wants to go. Freshly shucked oysters, champagne, beer, vodka, hotdogs, hamburgers, haircuts, pinball, and much bonhomie are freely available till dawn.

I am in bed by 4 AM.

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