Edinburgh International Film Festival 2008: Tiramisu, Sleep Furiously, and The Third Pint

Carl's been watching more than he really has time to write about, but here are his verdicts on three films from the Edinburgh festival

I’ve been having a good time at this year’s festival, perhaps too good a time, since I’ve got such a massive backlog of films I’ve seen that I just don’t have enough time to talk about all of them. So here is a brief overview of some of the films I’ve seen.


When you think of someone with the job description “bookkeeper”, you’ll probably think of a man in his late 30s, with glasses, a suit, and a nervous attitude to anything not related to maths. When you think of aging actresses, you probably think of someone who likes their wine, lives in a strange place, and has some weird friends. Put these two people (with nothing in common!) together, and you get Tiramisu.

The film explores the idea of a burgeoning friendship between two people brought together, not by choice, but because of their individual work. At first their relationship is purely work related, although stage actress Anne (played brilliantly by Anneke Blok) is an utter pain to work for, it seems, as Jacob (played by Jacob Derwig) has trouble understanding her life. The plot of the film is that Anne has not paid her taxes in years, and how her fancy houseboat is up for auction to pay off the debt. The film however, centres on their relationship with each other, and how that affects Jacob’s relationship with his wife, and Anne’s relationship with her daughter.

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The film is a competent try at understanding how two people from different worlds communicate and understand each other, but nothing much more. While it is an interesting attempt at bridging the gap between the two, at the end of the film, you know that they are never going to be much more than acquaintances. The film however, does do a good job of sucking you into their respective worlds, and leaves you with a warm feeling of justification. An alright film, but nothing spectacular.

Sleep Furiously

When I walked in thinking this was a Mexican sci-fi film, I was completely mistaken. Instead, I was treated to a documentary about a rural Welsh village, but even although it wasn’t what I expected, it was a joy.

In fact, it was an utter triumph to watch this film evolve from simple scenery into a study of the community and what it would be like to be part of it for a few months. Rarely, if ever, do people talk to the camera, meaning that it is an experience to feel like you are sitting in the same room as these people just listening to what they have to say. Of course, there are outside scenes too, and those are just as good. Even if it’s just watching the scenery float on by, it’s an epic way to spend a few hours, and will do wonders for the Welsh tourist industry.

Whether it’s watching Bob the sheepdog trainer run the sheep into the pen, cheered on by only a few people, or watching a baby piglet or cow being born, you are immersed entirely into this beautiful world, and even it is only for a few hours, you’ll want to go back at the end, and enjoy some more serene scenes and local conversations. One scene that really represents the whole film is when the sheep are moved across a field, and we watch from about half a mile away. It may be one shot that lasts for about 10 minutes, but it’s so immersing that you can’t help but feel like you are the one with the camera. Amazing.

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The Third Pint

This was a strange one. It’s a film that gives me very little to talk about. The basic story is that a man is out for a drink with a woman, and while she is away at the toilet, and he starts drinking his third pint, he disappears, and then stays invisible for over a year. The story is told, not with a cast and a script, but by the main character narrating it to us, while we get shown static camera recordings of streets and places he went to. Occasionally we get a scene or two which has a script written for it, but those are few and far between.

In truth, the story is good, and the way it is told is interesting. But when about 20 minutes have no dialogue, some flashing static images, it leaves the film without a heart. Instead of running for 70 minutes, this could have been a brilliant and entertaining 45 minute TV special. It’s a shame, but worth a watch if you have an hour and a fast forward button.

More soon!

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