Back to the Film Festival’s future

Time for our final post of the year and as it’s a time for reflection (and continuing the theme of our New Year Quiz that the more things change the more they stay the same – see last post) the news that the Edinburgh International Film Festival is going for a ‘radical’ new approach in 2011 brings to mind some possibly comforting words of that grand old figure of Scottish Cinema, Forsyth Hardy, reviewing the fourth festival back in 1950…

EUROPE’S Film Festivals have been the target of a steady flow of critical analysis since the end of the last festival season. Their purpose and value have been called in question and a tentative effort has been made to bring some order into what everyone admits has become a confused and somewhat overcrowded field. One of the most reasonable suggestions made is that each festival should specialize in one aspect of the cinema-avant-garde, historical, films for children, and so forth. Although such a course would hardly be popular with the older festivals, it has much to commend it. It would mean, for example, that visitors could confidently expect to see different films at each festival instead of, as happens so often at present, the same few films. It would also mean that a film student interested in a special aspect of the cinema would be able to satisfy that interest by visiting a single festival and not merely have it titillated by chance items in generalized festival programs. It might mean, too, that an enthusiast could make the circuit of the festivals confident that he would have a series of experiences rather than the same one repeated in different surroundings.” <>Hollywood Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Autumn, 1950) 


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