Jonathan Melville - Reeltime

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WHILE the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) may have had a rocky year, the now ex-organisers claiming that the traditional festival was dead and suffering disastrous ticket sales as a result of excessive tinkering, down in London it’s a very different story.

The 55th London Film Festival began a week ago and the mix of big films, unknown independent features, shorts and restored classics is enough to make anyone who had to sit through the lacklustre EIFF drool into their popcorn.

Highlights include Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous, a star-studded drama which asks who really wrote the works of Shakespeare; David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, a look at the early days of psychoanalysis starring Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender; George Clooney in the much anticipated comedy drama The Descendants; and the loving tribute to 1920s silent movies, The Artist.

We’ll have to wait a while to see all of the above, but it sounds like there are some good reasons to look forward to the coming months at the cinema.

Back in Edinburgh, things are also looking up for the EIFF. A new artistic director, Chris Fujiwara, has been appointed and brings with him a deep knowledge and passion for film which was absent in 2011.

The Festival will also be staying in June and the rumours are that the soulless Teviot base used this year will be forgotten about. It’s also thought that films will return to the Cineworld after a year off.

The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film will also be back and I suspect a new red carpet will be unfurled for a few, big-name appearances.

Of course, it’s all about the films and I wish the new team well as they scour the globe on our behalf. Here’s to a memorable 2012.