THE Edinburgh International Festival is 70 this year and has grown old both gracefully and disgracefully over the last seven decades.
As the world around it has changed, politically, socially and culturally, so too, the EIF has evolved. That evolution is traced in a film to be shown at The Studio on Potterrow, later this month, as part of this year’s Festival.
The World in One City, a one-hour long documentary by Anne Milne, features archive footage and interviews conducted by Sir Jonathan Mills with previous EIF directors, performers and festival-goers.
The rare footage includes seldom before seen film of Marlene Dietrich, described in the piece as “monstrous and rude, terrifying stage staff…. but still marvellous,” by Patricia, Countess of Harewood.
The German film star herself later declared “I loved Edinburgh. I want to say this again and again and again and again, I loved Edinburgh.”
The movie icon came to the Festival in 1965 when she performed at the Royal Lyceum, singing a collection of late night cabaret songs, assisted by an orchestra conducted by Burt Bacharach.
Other contributors recalling the EIF’s colourful past include arts impresario Richard Demarco, while famous names to have graced the Festival’s stages over the decades include a young Sir Ian McKellen, who played Edward II and Richard II by Marlowe.
Produced by the Scottish Documentary Institute for the EIF the film celebrates the Festival’s post war remit to bring together artists and audiences to look to the future, mend bridges, and to encourage the exchange of cultures.
The World In One City, The Studio, Potterrow, 10 August, 5pm, & 19 August, 2.30pm & 5pm, £8, www.eif.co.uk