1996 Edinburgh Film Festival Diaries
Edinburgh Diary - Day 13
Begin to recover from The Evening Standard party with a coke and an interview
with Dave Sproxton of Aardman, the home of Oscar winners "Wallace and
Gromit". It is now festival legend that Dave got himself a table in
a local restaurant which refused him entry by pulling models of "Wallace
and Gromit" out of his magic bag. Such is the power of these puppets
that Dave was then given the best table and remarkable service.
The NBX Lunch Time Talk today is given by screenwriter Peter Flannery, who
is very much the raconteur one expects a British writer to be. Like Denis
Potter before him, Flannery has a central role in his projects, his most
recent being the incredibly successful BBC TV drama "Our friends in
the North". Flannery has influence regarding director and casting,
and has even the power to rewrite the first episode after two to six were
completed. I imagine this is unheard of in America.
He also makes it clear that this power, and unwillingness to compromise,
has a cost. In order to develop his latest project Flannery has remortgaged
his house and borrowed ten thousand pounds from a friend. While he may seem
pigheaded to some, no one in the audience can doubt his commitment to his
I lunch with a young New Zealand producer who abandons me at some point
to speak to the producer of "Rob Roy". Given the choice I would
probably do the same.
At 6 PM 85-year-old Henri Alekan, the cinematographer on Cocteau's "La
Belle et la Bête", delivers his Scene By Scene. It is yet again
pure magic. Alekan speaks French and his answers are translated but the
audience knows enough franglais to get the jokes before this happens. Once
again we have a standing ovation. This is the best way to show our appreciation
and everyone in the room recognizes that the man who shot both "Belle
et la Bête" and Wim Wender's "Wings of Desire" is worth
his weight in cinema classics.
A gala screening, with orchestra, of Lon Chaney's "Phantom of The Opera"
is the key event tonight. The beautifully restored print and orchestration
from Carl Davis (with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) in The Playhouse
(in its day one of Europe's largest cinemas) is a treat. Many in the audience
are very tired (from too many large Edinburgh nights) but no one falls asleep
- or possibly 'when the organ plays no one can hear you snore'.
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