5 literary-themed picks from the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Category: Reading

Edinburgh’s annual big Film Festival begins this Wednesday, kicking off 11 packed days of every kind of cinema you can possibly think of, and almost certainly some that you can’t. Since we’re all about the books here, we’ve delved into the programme and dug out five films with links to the literary world that we think are worth a punt. If you’ve got any recommendations of your own, add them in the comments below!



Not Another Happy Ending, Sun 30 June

The Festival’s closing film is not only a distinctly Scottish affair, starring Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan and shot on location in Glasgow, it’s also thoroughly bookish, centring on Jane (Gillan), a blocked novelist whose publisher takes desperate measures to try and reignite her creative spark. It’s a rom-com at heart, but one with writerly problems on its brain.

The Sea, Sun 23 & Mon 24 June

This adaptation of the 2005 Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name has two great things going for it. The screenplay is written by its author, John Banville, so you can be sure it will be an adaptation that understands its source material; and it stars Ciarán Hinds, the Irish actor who brings class to pretty much everything he appears in.

First Cousin Once Removed, Mon 24 and Sat 29 June

What happens to the act of writing when its essential companion, memory, is no longer accessible? This documentary about the American poet Edwin Honig, put together by his cousin and focusing on the last five years of his life as Honig gradually succumbed to Alzheimer’s, takes a first-hand look at that question, in what promises to be a moving, thoughtful film.

What Maisie Knew, Thu 20 & Sat 22 June

If you’re looking for a period novel adaptation with a twist, this is the one. It’s a modern-day telling of Henry James’ 1898 story that views a couples’ divorce from the perspective of their sidelined only child, and arrives following a Stateside run that earned its child star Onata Aprile glowing reviews. The adults in the cast include Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Alexander Skarsgård.

Soylent Green, Sun 30 June

Okay, tenuous final pick. The only reason this 1973 dystopian sci-fi classic can appear on this list is because it’s based on the 1966 novel Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (I know, I’ve never heard of it/him either). But it gives me an excuse to highlight one of the festival’s retrospective strands, the films of underappreciated American director Richard Fleischer; check it out!