Film Festival online

Had the fun of my first movie of the 60th Edinburgh International Film Festival this week. Busting is a part of the They Might Be Giants retrospective of unusual hidden gems of movies from the 70s in America, a period any film fan knows to be a rich one, giving us Scorcese, De Palma and more. They Might Be Giants is looking at the movies which don’t usually make the lists of greatest movies of the period but which are being touted here as great examples of (often independently made) movies which pushed the film-making evnelope in both terms of technical expertise in the innovative ways movie makers found to shoot scenes and also the subject matter.

Busting is an almost archetypal buddy cop movie; two guys with no life outside the force, partners and best mates, the only honest cops in a world of gangsters and bribed, corrupt cops. It is an early Peter Hyams movie with Elliot Gould and Robert Blake, along with an early screen appearance by Antonio Fargas at one point (yep, the man who would be Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch). It was an absolute blast of a film, with some innovative camera shots and use of low, ambient street light sources for the night shots, years before Michael Mann would do the same to such stunning visual effect for Collateral and Miami Vice. Like any modern buddy movie which descends from it, Busting has its share of humour with the two laid-back vice cops although today it has some unintentional humour in the 70s styles – Elliot Gould’s perm and droopy moustache brought a lot of giggles from the (packed) audience; he looked like a cross between the 118 188 advert guys and Rangers-era Graeme Souness (not a great look really). The film now looks to be full of cop buddy movie cliches, except of course these scenes were not cliches when the movie was made. Its still a hugely enjoyable movie and the car chase finale between two ambulances is brilliant; in a classic case of what comes around goes around I find the anti-authority message and theme of distrust in corrupt systems which is common to 70s era US movies (not surprisingly given Watergate and Vietnam protests) actually fits so very well with the 2000s.

The Film Festival website announced today that they will be working with the BBC to make available a package of online videos covering clips from some of the movies along with interviews and other material after the Gala opening of the film. You can also catch some short movies being made for BBC Film Network celebrating fresh talent (including my beloved animation genre), so if you aren’t lucky enough to be here you can still check out some of the Film Fest. One of the first movies stars Johnny Lee Miller and Billy Boyd in The Flying Scotsman, a biopic of the great Scots cyclist hero Graeme Obree. Its a nice touch to the site I think; even though I am here I didn’t get into that film, although I did see the red carpet being rolled out in preparation for it as I went into another one, so I get to catch up with it then watch a cool animated short afterwards too! You can access the material on the video section of the EIFF site.