Time of the Signs at Film Festival 2018

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Edinburgh International Film Festival has launched its 2018 Retrospective programme, titled Time of the Signs: Chasing the American Zeitgeist.

The programme, inspired by current affairs in Donald Trump's America features three strands, primarily focusing on US cinema and the evolution of modern-day American culture.

EIFF Senior Programmer, Niall Greig Fulton said:

In light of recent events on the other side of the Atlantic, Time of the Signs is designed to reflect important cultural issues in America today through the cinema of the country's past.

The programme will examine the work of America's female directors, the representation of the media in US cinema, and the influence of horror films in the USA.

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American Woman: Female Directors in American Cinema

The main strand of the Festival's Retrospective, Female Directors in American Cinema highlights work by female filmmakers between 1980 and 1990. Films in the strand include:

  • The Decline of Western Civilization (Penelope Spheeris, 1981)
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982)
  • Testament (Lynne Littman, 1983)
  • Smithereens (Susan Seidelman, 1985)
  • Smooth Talk (Joyce Chopra, 1985)
  • Desert Hearts (Donna Deitch, 1985)
  • Working Girls (Lizzie Borden, 1986)
  • Ornette: Made in America (Shirley Clarke, 1986)
  • Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987)
  • Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1991, above)

Niall Greig Fulton said:

American Woman: Female Directors in American Cinema will celebrate women in American cinema by highlighting the work of pioneering female directors of the 1980s. It's a truly breath-taking selection of films, revealing ground-breaking, insightful work that paints a fascinating picture of America at the time. This strand is complemented by a retrospective look at the essential, innovative work of the brilliant experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer.

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American Exposé: The Media in Mainstream American Cinema 1975-1990

This topical selection of American films comments on modern-day society, covering issues as familiar now as they were at the time. Films in the strand include:

  • Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
  • The China Syndrome (James Bridges, 1979)
  • Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979)
  • The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1982, above)
  • Absence of Malice (Sydney Pollack, 1981)
  • Broadcast News (James L Brooks, 1987)

Fulton said:

American Exposé: The Media in Mainstream American Cinema will explore the evolution of the crucial role played by the media in American society today. Focusing on subjects such as freedom of speech, fake news, the cult of celebrity and the power of investigative journalism, these classic films are as compelling and relevant now as they were in the 1980s.

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The American Nightmare: Horror in Mainstream American Cinema 1980-1985

This selection of highly influential horror titles from the early 1980s, features work which has informed and shaped the modern horror landscape through to the likes of The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. Titles to be screened include:

  • The Howling (Joe Dante, 1981)
  • Poltergeist (above, Tobe Hooper, 1982)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984)
  • Day of the Dead (George A Romero, 1985) 

Fulton commented:

The American Nightmare: Horror in Mainstream American Cinema examines the way in which genre cinema has affected popular contemporary American television, presenting a selection of highly influential titles from the early 1980s; a golden era for U.S. horror. It's an exciting late night strand, providing a rare opportunity for all the cult cinema fans in our audience to catch these dark gems in their full glory on the big screen.

Following the success of 2017's special Stop Making Sense event, the Festival will also present a special Retrospective LIVE! screening on Friday 22 June of DA Pennebaker’s classic and rarely-seen concert film Monterey Pop.

Monterey Pop will be shown as if it were a real, live gig as part of Summerhall’s Southern Exposure Festival. Performers captured in the film include Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and The Mamas & the Papas, transporting the audience back to the golden vibe of the 1960s, with full festival lighting and sound.

Edinburgh International Film Festival takes place from 20 June to 1 July 2018. The full Festival programme will be revealed on 23 May, with tickets on public sale from Friday 25 May at 10am

Find out more about the Film Festival at edfilmfest.org.uk

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