Donald Trump era to inspire Edinburgh International Film Festival theme

Day of the Dead will be part of the American retrospective season at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Day of the Dead will be part of the American retrospective season at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.
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The impact of Donald Trump's presidency on the United States is to inspire a major strand of the Edinburgh International Film Festival this summer.

Films made by celebrated female directors, groundbreaking depictions of the US media and classic horrors films will all screened as part of an extended retrospective season.

Organisers say the retrospective programme, entitled “Time of the Signs: : Chasing the American Zeitgeist,” programme is aimed at exploring the evolution of American culture through the 1970s and 1980s, as well as reflecting some of the biggest issues of today, through the country’s cinematic past.

The media strand, American Exposé, will include screenings of Network, The China Syndrome, Absence of Malice, The King of Comedy, Being There and Broadcast News.

Horror classics being shown under the banner of The American Nightmare include The Fog, The Howling, Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street and Day of the Dead.

Lizzi Borden, Amy Heckerling and Kathryn Bigelow will be among the directors celebrated at screenings of Working Girls, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Near Dark, which are all part of the American Woman line-up in the retrospective programme of the film festival.

Niall Greig Fulton, senior programmer at the festival, said: “In light of recent events on the other side of the Atlantic, Time of the Signs is designed to reflect important cultural issues in America today through the cinema of the country’s past.

“American Woman is a truly breath-taking selection of films, revealing ground-breaking, insightful work that paints a fascinating picture of America at the time. This strand is complemented by a retrospective look at the essential, innovative work of the brilliant experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer.

“American Exposé will explore the evolution of the crucial role played by the media in American society today.

“Focusing on subjects such as freedom of speech, fake news, the cult of celebrity and the power of investigative journalism, these classic films are as compelling and relevant now as they were in the 1980s.

“The American Nightmare examines the way in which genre cinema has affected popular contemporary American television, presenting a selection of highly influential titles from the early 1980s; a golden era for US horror.

“It’s an exciting late night strand, providing a rare opportunity for all the cult cinema fans in our audience to catch these dark gems in their full glory on the big screen.”

The festival has already announced that it will be hosting a special screening of the classic documentary on the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in California. Simon & Garfunkel, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix and The Mamas & the Papas are among the acts who are featured in the film, which be shown at Summerhall arts centre.

The full programme for this year’s film festival, which runs from 20 June to 1 July, will be announced in May.