The cultural make-up of the UK sees film hovering on the precipice of being ‘art’: arts festival programmes too often see film aligned to artists’ moving image only. Arts funding won’t fund a film generally, but what about exhibiting work inspired by film as a work of art?
Discovering film-inspired work was our Edinburgh Fringe mission this year. If we consider live cinema to be augmented, enhanced or participatory events inspired by a film, the Fringe is in fact a movie fan’s dream.
Doesn’t Edinburgh have several film festivals including Edinburgh International Film Festival, one of the oldest and most respected fests in the country? Of course it does, and brilliant they are too at integrating live-ness and other exciting artistic innovations into their programmes. But at a festival that includes film only on the periphery of its categorisation of over 3000 shows, repeating almost daily, there is a wealth of innovative talent on display, the performers of which take film culture as the inspiration for their work, the very thing that defines live cinema.
Daily (excluding Mondays) to 28th August, 17:50, Summerhall,
Wearing a projector and screen on his head, Mamoru Iriguchi is the adorable host of a one hour journey into cinematic history, our collective memory of film, and live art. A show very much of two halves, it is impossible to review in its entirety without major spoilers, and going in fairly blind has a brilliant pay off.
4D Cinema treads the line between high-art and film history session, and where live and performance art may at times leave the casual theatre goer scratching their head (including us), the content on film history and the questioning of ‘live-ness’ in what we see on screen and on stage is head scratching in the best possible way, and makes a niche art form truly accessible through its cinematic themes.
Daily (excluding Tuesdays) 18:00 / 20:30 / 20:45, Assembly George Square Studios – Underground, £15/£13 concessions
Soon to transfer to Bristol then London, the timely production of Trainspotting by In Your Face Theatre chimes with films fans and piggy back promotion from the recently announced Trainspotting sequel.
In your face is a correct description. This is the live-est of live cinema: you rave, you scream, you of course laugh, but also feel real fear, empathy, sadness and exhaustion. In short, you really do live the film, with all its pish, shite, tits, arse and smack-filled roller coaster highs and lows. Not for the feint hearted, prepare to jostled, hugged, started on, splattered (a bit) and a scared (a wee bit). Note that you can’t chose where you sit; performers will do that for you. It’s not comfy, but neith should it be; just go in, go with it, and leave your morals at the door.
It is (deep breath): better than the film. As a film organisation, that’s tough for us to say. But it is. It really is. The cast are more the characters than the film. Renton, who carries the show: Ewan McWHO? We doubt the film cast pull off this mammoth achievement three times a day.
LAURENCE OWEN: CINEMUSICAL HIGH
Daily to August 28th, 13:45, VooDoo Rooms
FREE but arrive early and be nice: bring cash donations!
EXTRA SHOW: Cinemusical (an ‘even weirder’ show by Laurence) plays at VooDoo Rooms 22nd August only
If the Book of Mormon was a teen movie parody, written and performed by one man, you’re somewhere close to the Cinemusical High experience.
Performed alone by Laurence playing all characters regardless of gender or indeed high school status at his stereotypical American high school somewhere in the 80s (or 90s or early Noughties, he’s not sure), the show is pure joy for anyone who lists a teen movie as their ultimate guilty pleasure.
Cleverly weaving of the genre’s rules and tropes into a non-stop one hour show, Laurence’s skills as a composer (his day job), a comedian and an all-rounder of singing and performance on a surprising variety of live instruments in addition to his self-composed backing track would put any musical theatre star’s talent to the test. Performing solo for an entire hour with no breaks, playng multiple characters, with a self-composed score intersecting with live instrumental performances: no easy task, but one that Laurence should be credited for alongside the more ‘serious’ or well known performers at the Fringe.
If you hate musicals or teen comedies, go see it. If you love musicals and teen films, go see it. If you love film, look for the more complex musical and film references outside of the teen genre, and feel smug as you bask in your movie-spotting glory. Resist the urge to stand up and dance though, as it would be shame for Laurence to have to share is multi-talented joyful spotlight with anyone.
Friday 12 Aug only. Part of Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival
If you know Dune, and love Dune, in all of its campness and impenetrability, New Media Scotland’s production with new electronic score will surely, as all good live cinema does, complement and enhance a film experience you know and love. Where the production falls down is the lack of familiarity with the original score: with performers staged behind us on the balcony, it was near impossible to tell which sections were augmented (apart from a few brilliant audio gags, including a LOL moment with Sting…)
Maybe the intention was to not know what was new and what was original, made possible with seamless 5.1 sound installed into the Assembly Rooms music hall which would have been a nightmare to get precision sound with its ringing acoustics, so props to all sound techs involved for this.
Part of a trio of Atmosphere events from New Media Scotland, we sadly missed Beberian Sound Studio with live foley, and brand new commission La Jeteé with augmented score played through the audiences mobile phones. Dune was perhaps the (only slightly) worst show of the three inventive audio experiences at EDEF.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT FESTIVAL: VR STUDIO
Daily to 28th August, various times, Assembly Rooms
£12/£10 per session with free Tech Hub 2 hour access
New for 2016, and as a much needed to reaction to Edinburgh’s criticism of lack of digital integration, Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival, programmed and produced by London’s Riverside Studios sees the Assembly Rooms in the (slightly) quieter area of New Town transformed into a digital playground, expertly curated in stunning surrounding. A one hour VR experience in the VR Studio allows you to curate your own personal cinema ona Samsung Gear from a selection of 20 projects/videos/experiences. How exactly do we define a ‘thing’ watched in VR anyway?
Compared to other VR exhibits, what makes EDEF’s experience work is the pre-bookable timeslots, with all content preloaded for you to explore, with assistance on hand should you get lost inside the Oculus Studio menu. Unlike other digital festival experiences where it’s one project per headset, resulting in long waits for the most popular exhibits, you watch what you want when you want within your one hour slot.
Your ticket indludes a visit to the Tech Hub: an exhibit based experience where you MAY have a short wait for exhibits such as the BBC’s space station adventure HOME. Again props to EDEF for managing timing and space so well.
Our highlight was Igloo’s cylinder screen. Being able to experience VR collectively, outside of a headset was wondrous, watching each others reactions and discussing the panoramas, vistas, and sheer terror in the case of iScream 360 that we found ourselves in.
Shameless plug: Collective VR is the subject of a panel we have submitted to SXSW this year. You can help us research this more at an international level by voting for us on PanelPicker.