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Edinburgh International Film Festival: Picks of the Fest

17 June 2014

The Edinburgh International Film Festival is back and bigger than ever. From 18th to 29th June the festival will showcase 156 features from 47 countries, including 11 World premieres, 8 International premieres, and a range of special screenings and events. With so many filmic delights to choose from, the EIFF team has given us their picks of each day of the festival to help you plan your festival experience. 

EIFF Picks of the Day

Edinburgh international Film Festival 2014 is almost here. If the old adage about apples and doctors is anything to go by, we reckon the same goes for films!

Here we present to you a free-for-all selection of one film to watch at EIFF for each day the Festival runs.

Don’t forget to check out the full programme at

Wednesday 18 June


Opening Night Gala

Opening Night! So we’re cheating a little here, as it’s the only film on the billing. The World Premiere of Hyena is set to kick off EIFF in style. This slick crime thriller is more than just another genre film – as you’ll soon see when you watch it!

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Thursday 19 June

Whether you’re taking time off especially for the film festival or just want to get your weekend started early, we’ve got a couple of fun picks to kick off your EIFF experience!

The Anomaly –

Wicked and Wild strand

In the future, time is of the essence. Noel Clarke directs and stars in this ambitious and stylish sci-fi thriller. Its clever premise and bone-crunching fight sequences make for an action-packed feature. 

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A Night in Old Mexico –

American Dreams strand

Robert Duvall gets back in the saddle, taking on a role as a tough old rancher in this road movie. His outstanding performance and the magical story make this a surprising heart-warmer. It’s sure to give you a taste for the Old West, so don’t forget to check out more films from the American Dreams strand.

Bridging the Gap –

Shorts strand

Looking for something new this EIFF? Look no further than Bridging the Gap, a programme of little (in length!) films filled with big ideas and compelling characters. These films from the Scottish Documentary Institute’s talent programme tell stories from across our nation, exploring a breadth of Scottish life.

Friday 20 June

Friday night’s alright for movie watching… and the rest of the day too, if you’re around. How about making up for taking that time off work with a couple of serious(ly interesting) films, followed by something fun in the evening?

A House in Berlin

Focus on Germany strand

Have you ever dipped into your family history and found something surprising? A House in Berlin follows the personal voyage of a Scottish woman who unexpectedly inherits an old house from her Jewish great-uncle and, upon visiting, makes friends with two of the tenants who help her investigate the complex history of the building.

The Green Inferno

Wicked and Wild strand

Eli Roth latest gore-fest follows group of politically-correct college students travel to the Amazon to save a disappearing tribe – and their idealism soon breeds contempt. It’s inspired by Italian cannibal film Cannibal Holocaust, so don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Saturday 21 June

During EIFF Saturday is a day for cinephiles and cinema-goers who are looking for something a little outside of the mainstream. Discover distant lands with these films that range from the explicit to the politically hopeful.

Be My Baby (Koi no uzu) –

New Perspectives strand

Something provocative for your Saturday viewing: By My Baby follows the twists and turns of the sex lives of rootless 20-somethings adrift in Tokyo. Think Haruki Murakami meets Queer as Folk. As shockingly bad as their behaviour gets, you won't be able to turn away.

Ana Arabia

Directors’ Showcase strand

An outside addition to our celebration of Israeli cinema, Ana Arabia is a masterful prayer for peace in the form of a single-take 85 minute feature. Amos Gitai’s film embraces simplicity, portraying a way of life that represents a hope for peaceful coexistence. As an added bonus, the director’s short film, Book of Amos (2014), will screen alongside it.

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Sunday 22 June

They don’t call it the day of rest for nothing! Grab a programme and pick whichever film your finger falls on – or sit back and enjoy this eclectic selection.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar

Bringing the kids to EIFF? Or just love nature? This spectacular IMAX film transport you to the unique, magical island of Madagascar. It's short and sweet, it’s narrated by Morgan Freeman, and you and the kids are bound to love it!

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N: The Madness of Reason –

Director’s Showcase strand

Raymond Borremans (1906-1988) escaped to Ivory Coast while in his twenties. The adventurer, musician, projectionist and entomologist, spent his life chronicling this African country. His planned encyclopaedia was left unfinished at the letter N – but director Peter Krüger has put together this tribute: a love letter to the African continent.

John Brown’s Body –

Border Warfare: John McGrath’s Work in TV, Theatre, & Film strand

Dip into our retrospective on seminal Scottish filmmaker John McGrath with the theatrical recording of John Brown’s Baby. This second long-form trilogy by the Wildcat company deals with the history of Scotland's industrial classes, and it’s a valuable reminder of Channel 4's commitment to challenging programming.

Monday 23 June

My Name is Salt

New Perspectives strand

This remarkable documentary spends a season with thousands of families in the desert in Gujerat, India, post-monsoon season. Each year they spend 8 months extracting salt from the earth, using the same painstaking, manual techniques as generations before them.

Cold in July –

American Dreams strand

An atmospheric tale of justice and revenge, this stylish thriller set in East Texas stars Michael C Hall (Dexter) as a quiet family man who is drawn into a vicious cycle of violence. Join him, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson as they become the most appealing vigilante trio in recent cinema history.

Korso – 

Teen Spirit strand

If you thought that the Teen Spirit strand was all American high schools and coming of age, take a closer look. This edgy feature from Finland follows 20-year-old Markus from suburban Helsinki, whose sights are set on New York City. Korso is an honest portrayal of the confusion and denial teenage life can bring when one is suddenly forced to balance ambition against reality.

#ChicagoGirl – The Social Network Takes On a Dictator

More than just clicktivism, #ChicagoGirl is the story of a 19-year-old student who leads the marches in Syria from her bedroom. The film documents a new kind of revolution not just taking place in the streets. Selected by our Young Programmers, it’s a raw and often inspiring look at how the Facebook generation is making a political impact on a global scale.

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Tuesday 24 June

Is it just us or is Tuesday the forgotten day? The week is just setting in, but it’s not quite humpday… so why not take the leap and try watching something new that you can’t see anywhere else? Here are some foreign language picks:


Teen Spirit strand

Hand-picked by our Young Programmers, Galore is an Australian tale of sun, sex and bushfires. With stunning performances and a gripping narrative, this directorial debut from Rhys Graham shows the joys and traumas of teenage life in a compelling and dramatic style.

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Apparition (Ashbah) –

Focus on Iran strand

Loosely adapted from Ibsen, Apparition is the newest work by one of the legendary figures of Iran's New Wave. It’s a flamboyantly stylised melodrama – far from contemporary Hollywood fare – which incorporates family secrets, intrigue, and the outlook of a whole new generation.

Hotte in Paradise (Hotte im Paradies) -

Secret Master: Dominik Graf and the Hidden History of German Cinema strand

Selected from our Dominik Graf retrospective, Hotte in Paradise is an exhilarating ride through Berlin's extinct red-light district, guided by an up-and-coming pimp with a sweet streak. Like a walk through any red-light district, it’s full of surprises.

Wednesday 25 June

Humpday, eh? Well, let’s get you over the hump of watching the same kinds of films year-round with a selection of Shorts and a New Perspective for you to take all the way to the box office.

Shorts –

Explore our short films strand with any of 3 programmes running on Wednesday 25 June.

Shorts from the Film Academies: Unspeakable Secrets showcases new talent in creative storytelling on a journey of self-discovery, finding their style and cinematic voice.

The Ethics shorts programme features powerful experimental documentaries oscillate between intellectual objectivity and discomforting proximity, while opening up a space for personal reflection. 

Meanwhile Phantom Landscapes gives five incandescent examples of moving image act as a conductor through which rich evocations of ideas, dreams and mythical landscapes.

Virunga –

New Perspectives strand

This documentary takes us to the front lines of the battle to save the planet. The Virunga National Park in eastern Congo is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas – but it's also a rich oil reserve. Reach beyond what you see in the media and learn about the dark forces struggling to control Congo's rich natural resources.

Thursday 26 June 

You’ve had a long week by this point, so how about some lighter fare to keep you agile? Grab a coffee, grab a friend, and come and meet three men: two real-life guys and one fictional.

 That Guy Dick Miller –

Films on Film strand

If you loved Twenty Feet From Stardom, That Guy Dick Miller is for you! Dick Miller is not a household name, but he is a cult icon. The character actor has appeared in literally hundreds of feature films, and worked with some of the most famous directors and actors in the world. This light-hearted documentary puts a name to the familiar face.

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A Fuller Life

Films on Film strand

This gripping tribute to a true American maverick, Samuel Fuller, is directed by his daughter Samantha. Allow her to lead you on a journey through Fuller’s adventure-filled life as journalist, infantryman, novelist and filmmaker. His body of work as a director, writer and producer is one of the most radical and exhilarating in the history of American cinema, and it is survived in this treasure trove of a documentary.

Billion Dollar Brian –

Border Warfare: John McGrath’s Work in TV, Theatre, & Film strand

Michael Caine stars in this loose adaptation of Len Deighton's spy thriller novel. McGrath and maverick directorial talent Ken Russell deliver a sprawling cult cinema spy story. Keep an eye out for great turns from the likes of Karl Malden, Ed Begley and Donald Sutherland.

Friday 27 June 

Friday night’s alright for film watching. In the meantime, here’s an eclectic daytime selection of everything from the silly to the sentimental. Enjoy memories and objects lost and found, cross-cultural comedy and hilarious satire.

Displaced Perssons (Familjen Persson i främmande land) –

New Perspectives strand

Pelle Persson left Sweden and travelled the world in search of adventure. He settled in Pakistan, fell in love, married and had two daughters. Now the girls have grown up, it’s time for the family of four to up sticks and set off back to the family he hasn't seen in decades. A hilarious and deeply touching culture-clash comedy.

Koo! Kin-dza-dza (Ku! Kin-dza-dza) –

Animation strand

And now for something completely different. This animated feature is a return to traditional hand-drawn style. Think The Wizard of Oz meets Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Georgian director Georgiy Daneliya revisits his 1986 live-action, cult sci-fi feature Kin-dza-dza. The feature reimagines its original 1980s Soviet satire with a charm and surrealism that is fitting for contemporary times.

Restless Memories –

Shorts strand

Beloved memories and treasured objects are celebrated in this shorts programme. Archival footage, unearthed undeveloped 8mm gems and family timelines feature in these films from as far afield as Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Spain and the USA.

Saturday 28 June

Saturday heralds the end of the Festival, your 48 hour warning for filling your eyes and minds with the best films on offer. Grab a family member or friend and settle in for a day-long binge to bring in the rest of the Fest.

Joe –

American Dreams strand

Nicolas Cage stars in Joe – a follow-up to indie director David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche and the second instalment of his "Indie Trilogy”. He harnesses a powerhouse performance from Cage, who is electrifying this dark, poignant film about Cage’s foreman of a group of forestry workers and lives a quiet life alone with his dog.

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A Dangerous Game –

Special Screenings strand

This follow-up to the award-winning You've Been Trumped takes up where the previous film left off with the saga of American billionaire property developer Donald Trump's incursion into Scotland. Filmmaker Anthony Baxter probes the disastrous environmental effects of the development of luxury golf courses – then returns to Scotland to confront Trump.

Doc of the Dead

Films on Film strand

Alexandre O Philippe, director of fun documentaries The People vs. George Lucas (EIFF 2009) and The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (EIFF 2012) returns to EIFF once again with his latest offering: Doc of the Dead. Enjoy a A sprightly zombie walk through the world of the undead through this history of the zombie in popular culture.

Sunday 29 June

The final Sunday of the Fest! Traditionally this is the day to get your fill of the final day programme and to take in the Best of the Fest. Since the latter hasn’t been announced just yet, here are some gems you ought not to miss.

International Animation 2: The Universe in a Frame –

Animation strand

An anthology of animation from around the world. Animation creates wonder and communicates universal experience through painstaking creation one frame at a time. This eclectic programme of shorts from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds demonstrates animation as a unique form of filmmaking and means of artistic expression.

The Nut Job

This animated heist movie voice-stars the likes of Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Maya Rudolph and Katherine Heigl. Winter is coming and there’s a food shortage. The animals of Liberty Park are hungry. There is hope, but our furry friends must steal enough food for the whole park. It’s one for all the family. There are lots more films For the Family – check them out at

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The Japanese Dog (Câinele Japonez)

New Perspectives

Whether you’re bringing the family or just invoking it, why not try this family drama? The spirit of Ozu visits new Romanian cinema in a deeply heartfelt, minimalistic film which offers an elliptical, touching meditation on loss, loneliness and regeneration.