Jonathan Melville: It’s bright up north in movie land

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I made my annual pilgrimage north to the Inverness Film Festival last week, a chance to catch some upcoming films at an event that’s both ambitious in scale and intimate in size.

First up was Terence Davies’ 1950s-set drama, The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz as a woman whose world collapses when she realises her new lover doesn’t love her in return.

Confined to just a few interiors, the film looks sumptuous and should suit those who prefer their drama on a smaller, human, scale.

I also enjoyed Another Earth, a drama about a second Earth appearing in our galaxy. The film focuses more on actors Britt Marling and William Mapother than its science fiction leanings and is all the better for it.

My top choice of the Festival was Take Shelter, in which Michael Shannon stars as Curtis, a man suffering from terrifyingly realistic dreams that could mean the end of the world is nigh. As director Jeff Nichols gradually builds up the tension, Shannon quickly becomes your new favourite actor.

The Thing is a prequel/remake of John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi of the same name and features scientists called in to an Antarctic dig following the discovery of an alien spaceship. With its dull characters and recycled shock sequences, this is one to avoid.

Short films from Edinburgh’s Scottish Documentary Institute covered topics as diverse as ballet shoes, suicide and military re-enactments in The Perfect Fit, Under the Surface and I Can Smell the Cordite.

I may regularly bemoan the fact that short films aren’t accessible enough in our cinemas, but it’s worth repeating. Fewer adverts and more shorts before features is one way to increase visibility of Scottish filmmakers.

It also means we get two films for the price of one, which sounds like a good deal to me.

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