Scotland Loves Anime 2013: The Fourth Impact

The Scotland Loves Anime festival returns to Glasgow and Edinburgh in October for a fourth year of screenings and talks, and that rare opportunity to watch Japanese animation on the big screen – the place where so much of it begs to be seen. Over two consecutive weekends, Glasgow Film Theatre (11-13 Oct) and Edinburgh Filmhouse (18-20 Oct) will showcase some of the best of contemporary and classic anime for both the well-versed and those completely new to the medium…

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One. On. One: Filmmaker Mania Akbari in conversation

The last few years have seen a noticeable rise in Iranian cinema’s international profile, both through relatively mainstream breakthrough success for films like the Oscar-winning A Separation and thanks to publicised restrictions on the country’s filmmakers, most notably the house arrest of director Jafar Panahi, as documented in 2011’s This Is Not a Film. With artistic expression so heavily monitored, many of the country’s best have chosen to depart and make films elsewhere, Abbas Kiarostami (Close-UpTaste of Cherry) among them, whose most recent films – Certified Copy and Like Someone in Love – have been part financed in France and shot in Italy and Japan.

Mania Akbari is another filmmaker who has chosen to leave her homeland to continue her work, in her case spurred by concerns that her cast and crew on her film, which would end up being named From Tehran to London due to the circumstances of its completion, would face arrest on the basis of what has happened to Panahi and others. Now a resident in the UK, she is perhaps still best known to audiences here as the star of Kiarostami’s acclaimed 2002 film Ten, but various sources – the BFI, writer-director Mark Cousins and the Edinburgh International Film Festival among them – are serving to raise the profile of this most exciting filmmaker…

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Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, 2013)

Fantasy man Guillermo del Toro’s latest, Pacific Rim, is a large-scale love letter to Japanese sci-fi, but also an accessible blockbuster imbued with delightful eccentricities amid its broad elements…

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We Are the Freaks (Justin Edgar, 2013)

Following three teenage friends on a night out in 1990, after Thatcher has just stepped down, We Are the Freaks opens with self-reflexive narration that posits that “this is not a teen movie”; this follows an opening tirade that includes the lead expressing contempt for films where people talk to camera, right after doing so himself. It’s a film that, through meta stylistic tics (“Got any music that won’t be in wanky nostalgic films in 20 years time?”), constantly draws attention to itself; the problem is that it never provides anything to warrant the viewer’s attention…

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From Tehran to London (Mania Akbari, 2012)

Mania Akbari’s film is dedicated to “all those filmmakers in Iran, who have served a prison sentence and the ones who are still in prison.” A hypnotising exploration of a dissatisfied couple, the film conveys imprisonment in its own aesthetic. Relegated solely to a rural home’s interiors and shot in long, unbroken takes heavy on close-ups, it is a series of electric dialogues between wife, husband, sister and servant over the course of a few weeks, addressing both a specific relationship and the issue of women’s roles in Iran…

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Robot Rock: Kenji Kamiyama on ‘009 Re: Cyborg’

Since 2009, October’s Scotland Loves Anime festival has been a yearly highlight for the country’s animation fans, hosting various UK and European premières, Q&A events with filmmakers, and that all important and often rare opportunity to see anime in a cinema environment. Andrew Partridge, the driving force behind the festival, has now launched Anime Limited, a new distribution company based out of Glasgow. Its mantra is to provide chances to see high quality anime films on the big screen, as well as through other media. As such, Anime Limited’s first release, 009 Re: Cyborg, will receive a multi-platform release, heading to both select cinemas and digital platform Distrify. ..

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Gimme the Loot (Adam Leon, 2012)

In Adam Leon’s debut feature, two teenaged graffiti artists, Malcolm (Hickson) and Sofia (Washington), attempt to leave their mark on an iconic monument at a New York baseball stadium. Needing $500 to pay off stadium security, the pair manoeuvre through a myriad of loosely-conceived schemes and disparate characters over 48 hours, from flirtations with over-privileged slackers to break-ins with irritable tattooed thieves…

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Writing by Josh Slater-Williams