Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.



Dalida 24.06.17

The Edinburgh Film Festival, at the Odeon. My first impression: I don't care for the Odeon. As a cinema, there's nowhere to sit and wait, at least the Cineworld complex has a couple of rows of airport seating and then upstairs, a Starbucks. I milled around after getting my Odeon ticket, the weather too windy outside to return to, the restaurant you enter through too expensive. My mind drifted to my beloved Cameo, with its cheap bar and intimate seating. If cinema is romance to me, then as a flirtation, my visit to the Odeon felt less a casual affair on the side than a visit to an industrial brothel, with a waiting room like a bus terminal.

And the film? I remember Egyptian friends talking about the singer called Dalida, the voice of the sea. The film shows her as a glamorous blend of Cairo, Rome and Paris, the latter two moulding her in adulthood as her career takes off. I thought of another tragic European singer of her era, Ana Jantar of Poland, but Dalida – from the evidence of this film – was more self-destructive. She is shown craving the stability of love, but she moves from one lover to another until finally settling for an absurd, self-proclaimed alchemist with maturity issues. She wants to start a family, but damage from an abortion leaves her childless. These are the decisions that come back to haunt her; despite loving support from her brother and sister, she grows lonelier with age. Some of her songs are hauntingly melancholic, especially 'Malady', in which she sings of her sickness, and then another song about growing old, alone, and the props she clings to.

So I connected with her fate to some degree, not the glamour or the fortune or the talent, but the childless, single life in front of her that eventually overwhelms her. Viewers should be aware that this is a film about suicide, both of past lovers and her own different attempts. It is also an artistically and coherently designed spotlighting of familial love, as well as glamour and aesthetics, of lonely, beautiful people leading ultimately empty lives. To conclude, it was a film whose protagonist I didn't grieve for with tears, but one I left feeling melancholic and reflective of what life has to offer, not least in our final act.
Baby Driver
The Mummy


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Thursday, 24 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
October 05, 2019


October 05, 2019


Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...