Seeing Film Differently in Edinburgh

Saturday February 5th 2011

Apologies for the lack of brilliantly acerbic movie blogging yesterday but I was making my way back to LANDAN from the torture chamber of rain and wind that is Edinburgh in early February. Team Ultra Culture has been whisked up to the Scottish capital by VW to experience their latest See Film Differently event: a special screening of Trainspotting just a stone’s throw from where it was shot.

After a 4.5 hour train journey (during which we were treated to 15 minutes of complimentary WiFi access – thanks a fucking bunch, East Coast Trains) we emerged from the station ready for an evening of LOLtastic druggie fun. The screening was in the Royal Scottish Academy, which is the big building in the background of this shot…

… and we arrived to find a mahoosive queue of patient film fans waiting to mop up the remaining tickets that hadn’t been claimed in the online ticket lottery. Upon entering the building, guests were treated to a LITERAL smorgasbord of culinary delights:

There was free beer, free haggis and free popcorn but sadly the complimentary smack must have run dry before we arrived. Still, at least we managed to get good seats in front of the baying crowd of cardigan-wearing skag fans.

That may or may not be Kieran Culkin at the front right.

There were brief introductions by a man from the Edinburgh Film Festival and the editor of hipster movie bible Little White Lies before the film proper began. And as you might imagine, it went down quite well.

When I was about 15, Trainspotting was my favourite of all time (OF ALL TIME). Seeing it again after a long hiatus, it was hard not to be disappointed by how dated (and slightly annoying) some of it feels, even if the majority is still great. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still a 0.85.

Worse were the screening conditions themselves. It’s admirable that they went to such lengths to find a location that features in the film itself and also has a screening room (and unlike Secret Cinema, the focus of See Film Differently never strays from the film at hand) but the cinema in the RSA seems to have been primarily designed for lectures, and as such, it struggled to cope with the audiovisual demands of such a energetic film.

A one-night-only exhibition had been organised to follow the screening, so we duly trotted off down the road to check it out. Did I mention it’s the road Renton and co. run down during the shoplifting scene at the beginning of the film? Well it is. Here’s an aerial view from our trip up the Scott Monument the following day:

I so nearly dropped the camera.

We also passed the stairs Renton runs down just before he nearly gets hit by the car. We stopped to take some pictures and recreate the scene on video. An old man smoking outside a pub wore an expression of disdain.

The exhibition turned out to be largely comprised of badly-printed promotional stills from the film, but there were free drinks and old copies of Empire with headlines like ‘IN YER FACE!’ so it wasn’t a total bust. Best of all, they had a projector showing live updates of all the tweets with the #vwfilm hashtag in them.

In hindsight, telling my Twitter followers about it may have been a mistake.

OH YOU GUYS, what are you like?

We decided to head off once the Nazi-related tweets started coming in, and found solace in a nearby pub. I was thrilled to discover that they had a collage of topless women in the mens’ toilet cubicle, as well as a life size photograph of Tess Daley.

I once wrote a letter to Tess Daley’s agent, pitching a feature in which Miss Daley gives her opinion on various films and, if positive, decides how frequently she would like to watch them. It was to be called ‘Tess, No or Daley’.

I never heard back.