Life re-injected into Edinburgh International Film Festival: Alistair Harkness

Oscar winner Olivia Colman's new movie will appear at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
Oscar winner Olivia Colman's new movie will appear at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
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The programme launch of the Edinburgh International Film Festival has been a dispiriting affair in recent years, with too few films of note to get excited about and far too many unknown quantities proving they were unknown quantities for a reason.

Opening with Edinburgh director Ninian Doff’s properly funny coming-of-age comedy Boyz in the Wood, however, the 73rd edition of the festival proves there’s life in the old dog yet.

There is the UK premieres of Jim Jarmusch’s recent Cannes-opener The Dead Don’t Die, Joanna Hogg’s Sundance-winning The Souvenir and — headlining a commemorative retrospect — Varga by Agnès, the final film by the late, great Agnès Varda.

Trainspotting director Danny Boyle also returns for a 90-minute in-person event - and the Scottish premiere of his Richard Curtis-scripted Yesterday - and there are in-person events too with rising Scottish movie star Jack Lowden and Scottish actor/filmmaker/star of The Walking Dead Pollyanna McIntosh - also presenting her new film Darlin’.

A first glance across the various country based strands reveals intriguing sounding new movies featuring the likes of Olivia Colman (Them That Follow), Jamie Bell (Skin) and Ethan Hawke (The Captor), as well as a couple of provocative-looking British efforts (experimental thriller Bait and actor-turned-filmmaker Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s semi-autobiographical skinhead drama Farming).

Even closer to home, the Motherwell-set documentary Scheme Birds arrives fresh from an award-winning debut at Tribeca.

Sadly it was too much to hope for a sneak peak of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory - despite a country focus on Spain.

but a festival with new films from Joanna Hogg, Agnès Varda and Jim Jarmusch, not to mention a new cut of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now - celebrating its 40th anniversary - is not to be sniffed at.