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Edinburgh’s a veritable Festival-Fest this month

Posted: August 19th, 2002, by Chris H

I went and saw a couple of films and a couple of authors and managed to not see any comedians except the ones who hang around in bars waiting to be recognised. Baader is easily more entertaining than you’d think a film about Marxist-Leninist terrorists could be. It focuses more on Andreas Baader than the RAF as a whole and it’s a mix. There’s funny scenes like in the courtroom where they all say “ich bin Baader,” Spartacus-style, but the director doesn’t (entirely) shy away from the violent spiral the group got into by following their rhetoric through. The opening scene is proper rousing stuff though, a montage of 60s moments set to “Kick Out The Jams”. An hour after the film had finished I wanted to see it again, there’s depth there as well as the cute art student-types with AKs.

The other film I saw was very different (and not just to Baader but to just about everything ever). The Happiness of the Katakuris is like if the Addams Family ran a guesthouse with the von Trapps. It’s Bollywood-esque in its eagerness to break into song at variously appropriate times (falling in love, dying of a knife wound, whatever). All their guests die despite the family’s best efforts but through disposing of the bodies as a family, they grow closer together and find happiness. Probably a film people will love or hate, but it earnt a round of applause at the festival and I think it deserved it for the opening animation alone. It’s what Jan Svankmeyer would have done if he wasn’t sweeping floodwater out of his cellar.

Chris H

Chris was hit by a brick as a child and lost the popular culture part of his brain. This affliction means he is only able to listen to obscure japanese noise bands and watch films with overtly complex storylines. His other interests include skulking, editing documents, taunting policemen and entering undecipherable handwriting contests. He lives in an enormous underground laboratory where he spends many hours trying to un-invent television.

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