CineFringe is a small affair, yet its efforts to fly the filmic flag at the Fringe are admirable. Following the shift of the Edinburgh International Film Festival from August to June in 2008, CineFringe stands alone among a sea of stagecraft. In putting together a programme of three cinematic anthologies, the fest successfully suggests a sense of community and collaboration both between respective projects, and also between this pick-n-mix picture-reel and its patrons. The screening I saw – called Count on the Impossible – was excellently eclectic in its scope.
Ranging from Hannan Majid and Richard York’s Platform 12 - a documentary about real-life Railway Children working for pittance in Indian train stations – to Richard Addlesee’s brief Believe - which features characters smacking asteroids back into space with a baseball bat – its sheer variety took viewers on a spin around the emotional spectrum. Of particularly ready reception is Javier Chillon’s Decapoda Shock – a rip-roaring sci-fi-action-fantasy-revenge tragedy featuring an astronaut-turned-lobster back on Earth and baying for blood. Decapoda Shock’s insatiable sensationalism is both beautiful and hilarious.
The screening suffers somewhat due to structural choices; namely, the implementation of a voting system, by which the audience is called upon to democratically decide a ‘winning’ film feels both frustrating and unfair. Firstly, the fact that each of us is asked to pick only one favourite film seems counter to the communal ethos of CineFringe. In this series of six films there is plenty to merit and side-lining five of them off the bat feels almost ungrateful. Furthermore, the democracy of such a concentrated and casual audience almost short-changes professional persons involved of the credit and kudos they deserve. Viewing would have proved more enjoyable if not constantly concentrating on critical and technical value.
Outside of such an extrinsic factor in the feel of the festival, however, CineFringe is a wonderful thing. If grandstanding actors and gag-a-minute comics are leaving you emotionally exasperated, a stint in front of this silver screen with both soothe and satisfy.