The Edinburgh International Film Festival has had a rough past couple of years, but going by the lineup that the new artistic director, Chris Fujiwara, announced today for his first edition—the 66th for the festival—it could well be back on the up and up. The program boasts “121 new feature films including 19 World Premieres, 13 International Premieres, 11 European Premieres, and 76 UK Premieres. These films from 52 countries feature alongside 29 more as part of 2 Retrospectives on filmmakers Gregory La Cava and Shinji Somai, and the return of Special Screenings with classics from the archives and one-off previews, and of course our late-night selection titled Night Moves.” The awards are back and there’ll be special focuses on Denmark, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay as well as a Philippine New Wave strand.
The BBC notes that Wang Bing and Shinya Tsukamoto will be on hand to present a selection of their films; and Twitch‘s J Hurtado has a new UK trailer for Tsukamoto’s Kotoko. By the way, if you’re wondering who Shinji Somai is, Jasper Sharp is not surprised. “It often seems like there’s an infinite wellspring of Japanese filmmakers revered in their home country yet barely heard of overseas,” writes for the List, where he offers a quick Shinji Somai primer.
Berlin. Had he not died on June 10, 1982 at the age of 37, Rainer Werner Fassbinder would have turned 67 tomorrow. Marking the occasion, the Hands on Fassbinder series will be screening In a Year with 13 Moons (1978) tomorrow evening. June 9 and 10 sees a full schedule of events Saturday evening and all day Sunday. I’ll have a bit more on that when that weekend draws closer.
Los Angeles. The 16-film retrospective Cruelly, Madly, Deeply: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder opens tomorrow at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica and runs through June 14. For the Los Angeles Times, Susan King talks with UCLA Film & Television Archive director Jan-Christopher Horak: “Every new piece brought a new scandal…. The bourgeoisie press was on his case all the time; but at the same time, the public TV stations were financing all of his films.”
London. The exhibition Patrick Keiller The Robinson Institute is on at Tate Britain through October 14. Brian Dillon: “Keiller took the austerity of 1970s structural film and conceptual art, and filled their narrative voids with a voice that seemed to belong to a type of rambling English essayist who was also—somehow—a visionary devotee of surrealism and the Situationists.” Also in the London Review of Books, Michael Wood: “Viewed as satire, The Dictator doesn’t do a lot of work… But perhaps we’re wrong to think of satire and targets. This movie is a frolic, and a frolic has a quite different relation to reality. The well-known line from Duck Soup comes to mind. ‘He may talk like an idiot,’ Groucho says of Chico, ‘and look like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.'”
New York. If you’re in the City, today and tomorrow are your last chances to catch All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) at Film Forum. Rob Humanick for Slant: “Anti-war statements of the cinema in the subsequent 80 years have occasionally surpassed Lewis Milestone’s technically and artistically groundbreaking film, but few can match it for relentless despair or elemental fury—both on and off the battlefield.” Vadim Rizov for the L: “The opening remains astonishing: as soldiers return home, marching through the streets, Milestone cranes up and backwards, entering a classroom where a professor exhorts his students to enlist. The sheer scale and slow majesty of the shot could credibly belong to Visconti or Bertolucci.”
“It was inevitable,” writes Michael Atkinson, also for the L, “after The Hunger Games‘s bajillion-buck haul, that someone would now give Kinji Fukasaku’s legendary dogfight of a movie the American release it never got a dozen years ago. The Columbine shootings were only a year or so old, and no American distributor would touch Battle Royale with Dylan Klebold’s stilled, cold hand. For once you could hardly wonder at their collective timidity: something like the 120 Days of Sodom to the dainty Fifty Shades of Grey of Suzanne Collins’s bestsellers, Fukasaku’s film is a cataract of shredded taboos, and watching it you can feel the holy-shit violations in your spine.” Battle Royale is at the IFC Center through June 5.
In the works. Tomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is setting up an adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s The Brothers Lionheart, reports the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth.