'The Future is History' for Film Festival's 70th anniversary

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As it celebrates its 70th anniversary year, it's apt that the Edinburgh International Film Festival's retrospective programme for 2017 is titled The Future Is History.

And with a lineup including the work of HandMade Films, classic early 80s sci-fi , and the life and work of Scottish playwright, poet and musician, Tom McGrath, film fans are sure to want much of this history to feature in their own near futures! 

Looking at the retrospective lineup for this year's Film Festival (21 June - 2 July), the Festival's Senior Programmer, Niall Greig Fulton commented

Inspired by Britain’s decision to depart from the EU during our last edition, and touching on the Festival’s long held passion for debate and discovery, The Future is History turns the clock back to the 1970s/1980s to explore the vital question of identity in a world undergoing seismic political and cultural change.

The Future is History includes three strands, Great Britain, The Western World of the Future and Scotland in "a special cross-arts exploration of identity".

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Great Britain

The remarkable back catalogue of HandMade Films, former Beatle George Harrison's company, forms a major part of the Great Britain strand. Features from the much-loved studio to be screened at the Festival include The Long Good Friday, Time Bandits, Mona Lisa, Withnail & I (above), How to Get Ahead in Advertising and many more. 

Also connecting the 1980s to the present day are various screenings and events related to Matt Johnson of legendary band, The The, as a new documentary looks at his work and efforts to create new music. 

Finally, Britain's proud tradition of animation is highlighted with Red, White and Blue: Animating the British Empire, featuring Bob Godfrey's Oscar-winning short, Great, two more of Godfrey's films, and work by Joanna Quinn, Lizzie Hobbs, Chris Shepherd, Marcus Armitage and Bexi Bush. 

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The Western World of the Future

Sci-fi fans will be delighted by the selection of early 80s classics in this thought-provoking collection considering possible worlds to come. New Directions in Science Fiction 1980-1985 features work from directors including David Cronenberg, Luc Besson, Terry Gilliam, Lizzie Borden, Alex Cox and James Cameron.

Cameron's iconic (and many-sequelled) blockbuster The Terminator is joined by cult classics like Brazil, Escape from New York, Repo Man and Videodrome. Others in the strand include Death Watch, Outland, The Last Battle, Born in Flames, The Brother from Another Planet, Lars von Trier's The Elements of Crime and eerie post-apocalyptic classic, The Quiet Earth (above). 

Also in this strand are two films from France's René Laloux, whose work looked at communication and identity. Laloux will be remembered with two screenings of his cult animated feature films La Planète Sauvage and Gandahar.  

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Visionary Scottish playwright, poet and jazz musician, Tom McGrath (above), will be the focus of this third strand in the Festival's retrospective programme, including his 1982 BBC Play for Tomorrow, The Nuclear Family

Other films feature McGrath's beat era origins with Wholly Communion and The Connection.

As well as onscreen work, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, led by Edinburgh-born saxophonist Tommy Smith, will pay tribute to McGrath's influence on Scottish Jazz with a concert featuring music from Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Freddie Redd and others. Actor and performer Tam Dean Burn will also give readings of McGrath's poetry at the Queens Hall event. 

Finally two live stage readings of his plays The Android Circuit and The Hard Man will take place, the latter starring Scottish actress Kate Dickie in the title role. 

Deputy Artistic Director of the Film Festival, Diane Henderson said:

This year’s special retrospective programme celebrates the 70th Anniversary of Edinburgh’s world famous festivals, and presents a clear look at, and contribution to, the evolving identity of EIFF and its provenance. It will provide a truly exciting journey of screen, stage and music and allow audiences to experience a selection of the featured era’s most important art.

Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 21 June to 2 July 2017, and tickets for selected screenings are on sale now. The full programme will be launched on 31 May 2017. More information on the Film Festival, including program and ticketing links.

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