'Festival' is a black comedy set during the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival. The film is based around both the judging of a major comedy award and the performers at one of the smaller ...
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'Festival' is a black comedy set during the annual Edinburgh Fringe festival. The film is based around both the judging of a major comedy award and the performers at one of the smaller venues. Various plot strands interweave, including the bitter relationship between a famous self-obsessed British comic and his ever-suffering assistant, an actress debuting at the festival with a one-woman show about Dorothy Wordsworth and a depressed, rich housewife who spies on the stoned Canadian theatre troupe to whom she has rented out her house. Written by
A delight - treads the line between humour and pathos with assurance
An accurate portrayal of the vibe on the streets, boozing in the courtyards and ragbag mix of shoestring productions in dingy halls ranging from high artistic pretension to low comedy. More to the point it's a bloody good film, presenting us with some memorable portraits of aspiring artistes, jaded stand-ups, local journalists and citizens rubbing up against each other in pubs, hotel rooms and rented flats, and of course venues, with some pithy exchanges hurled between floor and stage. The actors are well served by a realistic, witty script that highlights the distinctive backgrounds and foibles of their various characters. They excite your sympathy, affection, pity or distaste even as you laugh. Every scene is either funny or sad, usually both. And the musical soundtrack is exquisite. It's not perfect - there are one or two moments of over-dramatised conflict towards the end that don't ring true, probably driven by some perceived need to pander to commercial expectations. The film should have retained its faith in the bubbling undercurrents which have swept it along so nicely until then, but thankfully it ends on an appropriate note of bittersweet irresolution.
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