Modern Classics and Past Masters
With such a wealth of fascinating movies on offer, it can be difficult to know where to start on your journey through the Edinburgh International Film Festival. It is entirely your choice whether you take a risk on cutting-edge shorts or plump for mainstream premieres such as Killer Joe and Brave, which open and close the festival. But to make it easier beyond that, the programme is divided into strands that guide you into new cinematic territory.
Depending on your mood, you can explore animation old and new, the best of emerging talent from around the world, a new wave of movie-making from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, a series of classics from the archives or a specially selected line-up of late-night screenings for those who love movies too much to go to bed.
In particular this year, artistic director Chris Fujiwara is focusing on the work of two figures of world cinema he believes should be held in the highest regard. They could hardly be more different. One of them is Gregory la Cava, a master of American screen comedy. The other is Shinji Somai, a master of cinematic poetry from Japan.
During the festival, you can see six of La Cava's films made between 1928 and 1941, including My Man Godfrey, She Married her Boss and Unfinished Business. What they show is an early filmmaking master who made the transition from silent cinema to sound with a rare degree of creative control. If you like what you see, the season continues for another seven films at the Filmhouse in July.
If Shinji Somai means nothing to you, now is a fantastic moment to get up to speed. Fujiwara has programmed all 13 of this visionary artist's films, which are acclaimed in Japan but relatively little known elsewhere. The work dates from the 1980s and 90s and shows Somai as a director with a great talent for telling emotional rites-of-passage stories about young people learning about the adult world. Somai, who died in 2001, is considered a key influence on the subsequent generation of Japanese filmmakers and regarded as one of the best the country has ever produced. Here's your chance to find out why.
Edinburgh International Film Festival, 20 June–1 July, www.edfilmfest.org.uk