For Day Nine, Thursday June 24, of the 2010 Edinburgh International Film Festival we went back to the 1930s with Robert Duvall and Bill Murray, before coming right up-to-date with a visit from Nick Cave...
With its amiable lead actors, uncomplicated storyline and competent direction, there’s little to take offence at with Get Low: there’s just not much to get excited about either.
Robert Duvall is the hermit-like Felix, living in the backwoods of a small US town in the 1930s, until he decides to end his self-imposed exile with a funeral party, before he actually dies.
With funeral director, Frank (Bill Murray), and his assistant, Buddy (Lucas Black), recruited to organise the celebration, at which Felix hopes everyone in the town who dislikes him will tell a story about him, it’s up to the pair to ensure the old man goes through with his plan, or else watch the business go bust.
Director Aaron Schneider has opted to make what looks like a TV movie for the big screen, eliciting little emotion from the viewer as the characters go through the motions. Duvall and Murray do justice to the script, but there’s nothing much for them to get their teeth into.
Wait for the DVD release or TV screening in a few years, as this is certainly not a cinematic event. â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜… (JM)
Irregular 5: Canongate vs. EIFF at The Roxy Art House
All evidence suggests this was a bit of a tacked-on event to EIFF’s programme, included only as an extra jolt of star wattage. It’s the fifth of Canongate Publishing’s Irregular ˜literary club nights’ that just happens to have coincided with EIFF. All branding at the venue and the slant of the whole evening makes it clear this was Canongate’s gig. Any film element was certainly underplayed.
EIFF credentials aside, it was a cracking night which mixed poetry, book readings, short films and live music inside a deconsecrated church. The room was laid out cabaret-style with large circular tables, intimately lit by scented candles.
The big draw of the event, and the focus of EIFF’s involvement, was the appearance of the one and only, prodigious singer/songwriter/author/screenwriter/film scorer Nick Cave. Nick was in town to promote the paperback publishing of his latest novel The Death Of Bunny Munro and was on hand in both halves of the show to read a couple of extracts from his darkly comic sexual odyssey.
The readings were highly charged and delivered with all the wit and energy of Cave’s musical oeuvre. The generally relaxed ambience of the evening meant that fans were able to sidle over to Cave during the break for a quick photo or signing. He seemed relaxed and nobody took advantage of his generosity.
The compÃ¨re of the evening was performance poet Salena Godden whose spiky, playful poems tied the night together like a thread of studded lace.
A short film from 2008 called The Archivist was a great little piece of work and director David Whitehouse was on-hand to read out an extract from his forthcoming novel, Bed.
A short film about Gil Scott Heron, a musical interlude from local band The Sea, The Sea and a (sadly pre-recorded, rather than in-person) reading from Tilda Swinton rounded out the evening.
Its association with film may be tenuous (it’s certainly a literary event) but it was a relaxed atmosphere with fine entertainment and any excuse to bring Australia’s finest son within the city walls is more than welcome. (RM)
Jonathan Melville (JM)
Ross Maclean (RM)