C’s Fringe Film Festival is a smorgasbord of productions shuffled neatly into one come-and-go styled theatre. Calling it hit and miss would be putting it lightly, and it certainly doesn’t help that there is barely any listings of what time each individual film runs at. Depending on what time you go, you will either be treated to some juvenile efforts or shows that could be considered five stars in their own right.
You might as well check it out to see if anything takes your fancy. You certainly won’t be low on options.
When I first arrived, I walked into what could have easily been someone’s living room: a dark, medium-sized space with several couches and an overhead projector. There was little sign posting, nor many staff to offer directions, and I was completely alone for the first two hours. But this had the benefit of feeling cosier and more laidback, making it a nice retreat for those running between shows wanting to kill a few hours by sitting back and watching some TV. The range of films showcased certainly did not lack diversity, hence the term ‘festival’. The show, in its entirety, lasts close to fourteen hours, of which there were both high and low points to name.
One commendable picture was Lemon Men, a homoerotic bromance of two guys, Hunter and Nick, who own a lemonade stand. Lemon Men descends from the comedic stylings of Seth Rogan in formulating a quirky depiction of two quasi entrepreneurs living the American suburban life. Another picture worth discussing, and by far the most dramatic feature I observed, was Si Mitchell’s Borderland. This documentary showcased the hotbed of revolutionary fervour currently gripping Syria as well as the brutality of Bashar Assad’s regime and the rise of ISIS, whilst also touching upon more regional issues of the Middle East such as Lebanon’s civil war and the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Other memorable features included Charizard, The Vibrator and The Technician, yet the show was not without its inhibitions.
The runt of the litter, Tapes From The Revolutionary, was a particularly bad production by the Edinburgh College of Art, delivering a dull take on the human experience which featured a rambling crackpot who likes to film sheep in his spare time. This may be an oversimplification, but the sad truth is that American Beauty beat Andy Anderson’s approach to filming and discussing random objects by a margin of sixteen years. And ironically, Anderson’s rants about the lives of the bourgeoisie are the very qualities that director Scott Willis seems to embellish. Another troubled presentation was ‘Bus Stop’ which followed an agonisingly predictable plot line: man meets troubled woman in a public setting, man comforts her, turns out they have some common ground, and off they go hand in hand into the sunset (or in this case the 49).
It would be unfair to put it down to only one or two titles, either good or bad, and the three stars is merely due to the high volume of both exceptional films and films exhibiting a complete lack of refinement. For what it’s worth, you might as well check it out to see if anything takes your fancy. You certainly won’t be low on options.