In the comment made about my decision to use Senses of Cinema’s online journal (http://www.sensesofcinema.com), I was encouraged to keep up with the festival reports. To be completely honest, they were the last thing I checked out. Many of the other articles on the web page examine at length about some way to view films or speak to their importance. In comparison to these thought provoking pieces, I figured festival reports would pale, giving me no important information. However, when I started looking at the category, I began to see how Senses of Cinema’s outside-the-box examination of film applied to it too.
In Nagisa Hikino’s report The 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival from June of this year, I expected to get a list of the films playing and perhaps some recommendations. Though I received both of these things, I also got a lot more. Hikino’s report is not a mindless endorsement of the popular film festival, it examines the atmosphere and quality of the fest. During a review of the Scottish film Summer, Hikino takes time to address the logistics of the showing: the state of the audience, the order of events, the state of those involved with the film and how that made her feel. The section reviewing this film ends by tying the film’s nature to the audience reaction. “After seeing this genuinely human film, it was very easy to feel part of the warm atmosphere in the auditorium”.
From here, Hikino transitions into discussing the festival’s change in dates (it used to be held in August, but was moved to June). This change has had a negative effect on the EIFF, it would seem. She was disappointed with the number of countries represented at the festival, which were down from the previous two years. She hopes that in the future they will have more time to prepare and find films.
What follows this is a discussion of some stand out British films and a mention of the importance of documentary to the EIFF. She ends her article pondering a world where such documentaries are more accessible to the general public, but is glad for the festival format because of the reality of the situation.