Edinburgh Film Festival: Balance, Not Symmetry

I really wanted to love this film. The director seems like quite the sweetheart, and it was clearly a deeply personal journey for him. The cast includes some incredible people I adore to see on screen. Biffy Clyro make sick music and of course I’m delighted to hear more of it. Unfortunately, so much of this movie had me rolling my eyes.

Image of Jamie Adams and some cast introducing the film at the Festival theatre

I enjoyed parts of Balance, not symmetry – honestly I really did. There were bits of it that were nice, and it did have touching and real moments. I thought many of the actors were pretty excellent – Freya Mavor was wasted though. Despite being perfectly nice, this movie isn’t one I would ever fully enjoy. The message of the movie is so outrageously pretentious it made me want to bang my head against a wall. The film really is deeply personal to Jamie Adams, but it’s so personal that I don’t think he was able to view it objectively at all. 

By the close of the film my take on the messaging was that art exists as a cathartic process for artists, and nothing more. The movie is simply trying to justify its own existence throughout. This isn’t entirely untrue, but it sure demeans the power of art. I can’t help but feel like the Director knew it was going to be a poor film, so wanted to make it clear that he doesn’t care because it’s just him processing his emotions.

image of movie ticket gin and tonic and salted caramel ice cream

Art is in part for the artist, I will accept that. It is an incredibly productive tool for addressing the experiences, emotions, and journey of an artist. However, part of that power is how the human experience will resonate with the audience. The audience is important, and connecting with an audience through your work is important, as much as this film doesn’t want it to be. The story Jamie Adams wants to share is just too close to him to make it something the audience can share in.

This a perfectly nice movie with nice moments. The music is good, though an awkward fit at times (especially given it was written for the project). The cast is lovely, though their skills don’t always rise to the improvisation challenge. It’s an interesting exploration of the art world but one which ultimately rests at a boring conclusion. There are just too many ‘buts’. Unfortunately this movie is ultimately forgettable.

Fringe Festival: Urzila Carlson

Despite living in Edinburgh since 2014 this is the first time I’ve ever actually been to the fringe! Over the next few weeks I’m going to throw up some short blog posts about what I’m going to. Naturally when the book festival starts there will be a lot about that too. Finally, I’m going to Summer in the City this weekend, there are a couple of bookish panels I’m going to try and get to! So look for a post about that coming up next week.

So, last night I went to my very first Fringe show ever. Urzila Carlson is a fab comedian that I know well, because she’s been on my TV back home in New Zealand heaps. She is a fat queer woman, so obviously I resonate with her a lot. I’m always here for my women in comedy, and I know she makes me laugh.

I was sat directly in the middle of the front row, practically feeling her breath on me. Luckily she quickly dispelled my fears of being picked on, otherwise my anxiety would have had me out of there like a rocket. She was absolutely marvelous. Lovely, and funny, and so real. She absolutely nails the whole ‘I’m saying things that have definitely happened to almost anyone but making it so much more clever and funny’ vibe that stand-up comedy has. I also seriously appreciated some of the more serious chat she wove into her hour on stage. She started a conversation that absolutely needs to be had, without derailing the show at all. I thought it was cool to hear a badass female comedian talk about some life stuff that isn’t so easy to tun into a joke.

I couldn’t have wished for a better show to kick off my Fringe experience. It was so nice to be that close to a piece of home (I’m so fucking homesick guys), and she was truly fucking funny.

Highly recommend  – check her out if you’re in Edinburgh!

urzilacarlson.com