British films stage latest comeback at Edinburgh

Despite widespread despondency among British film-makers worried by a slump in production caused by changes to tax breaks, the festival director, Shane Danielsen, said domestic film-making had a strong showing in the 12-day event.

The festival opens this evening with Wah-Wah, the semi-autobiographical directorial debut of the actor Richard E Grant, and closes on Sunday week with The Business, Nick Love's follow-up to Football Factory, set in the underworld of the Costa del Sol.

In between is Stoned, the British premiere of Stephen Woolley's biopic about the demented genius of the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, Gypo, described as "the first, maybe only British Dogme film" after the distinctive Scandinavian arthouse movies, and offbeat fare such as Song of Songs, a story of sexual obsession set in London's Orthodox Jewish community.

There will also be some scandal. The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, a film whose shocking, climactic violence prompted critics' walkouts at the Cannes film festival, is also among the British movies being premiered.

And there is vintage fare for the buffs, a retrospective for Michael Powell, described by Mr Danielsen as "the best film-maker Britain has ever produced".

Mr Danielsen said yesterday: "What is interesting is that for the last couple of years, the Cannes film festival, which I admit is the gold standard in many ways of the whole culture, has said - by omission, by not programming them - that British films are shit. Journalists dutifully follow the party line. But I'm in the fortunate position of getting to see everything. So Cannes makes its pronouncements and everyone wails and then Edinburgh for the last couple of years has been very strong."

Although he hesitates to call it a renaissance in British movie-making, Mr Danielsen, who is himself an Australian, believes the industry has helped itself by stopping imitating every hit.

"There was a period after Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels when suddenly every British film for two years was an East End gangster film. And after Four Weddings and a Funeral, there was a rush of dopey romantic comedies that didn't have a fraction of the wit of the original. They were imitative, pure cash-ins," he said.

Today, however, he said there was apparent recognition that the Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino was right when he said that a healthy film industry made every kind of movie.

However, the programme includes its share of premieres from around the world including The Aristocrats, a foul-mouthed American movie in which comedians from Robin Williams to Eddie Izzard help tell the world's dirtiest joke, and Paul Schrader's 2004 prequel to The Exorcist, a film rejected by its producers on completion.

The public has responded with enthusiasm, with £50,000 worth of tickets sold on the first day of booking. Serenity, the feature debut of the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon, with a cast including Adam Baldwin and Chiwetel Ejiofor, sold out within 15 minutes.

Mr Danielsen suggested that Edinburgh audiences' measured reaction to Gaspar Noé's Irreversible, which caused a scandal elsewhere, showed they could take "iconoclastic tough attitudinal film-making" such as Robert Carmichael.

Asked what he was most looking forward to, Mr Danielsen admitted: "September". This is his penultimate festival of a five-year contract. "I think every film festival director should stop after five years. You get stale otherwise," he said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman as Doctor Who and Clara behind the scenes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cheery but half-baked canine caper: 'Pudsey the dog: The movie'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce leads the MTV VMA Awards 2014 nominations with eight

music
Arts and Entertainment
Live from your living room: Go People perform at a private home in Covent Garden

theatre
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor