EDINBURGH, Scotland — John Maybury’s “Love Is the Devil” grabbed two of the top awards at the 52nd Edinburgh Intl. Film Festival, which closed Sunday with a gala screening of the French drama “The Dream Life of Angels.”
A portrait of the celebrated British painter Francis Bacon that was highly praised at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard sidebar, “Devil” won the Michael Powell Award for best new British feature. The decision of the five-member jury, which included English actress Katrin Cartlidge and New York distrib Bingham Ray, was swift and unanimous. (Deliberations by the Powell jury are held in open session, accessible to the press.)
Twelve pics were under consideration, but the jury recognized that the “Devil” had “many of the qualities which distinguished the work of Powell himself.” Only three other titles — “I Want You,” “Orphans” and “Velvet Goldmine” — made it to the jury’s second round of discussions.
Lead thesps Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig, playing Bacon and his lover, respectively, jointly won the British Performance Award, a new prize sponsored by distrib Pathe for the best perf anywhere in the festival by a Brit. Scottish actor Robert Carlyle presented the award.
American director Todd Haynes took the Director’s Award for “Velvet Goldmine,” the fest’s opener, with a special mention going to French helmer Gaspar Noe’s black drama “Seul Contre Tous,” a Cannes Critics’ Week discovery.
New British pics proved popular at this year’s event, which reported B.O. revenue up by over 10% and nearly 40,000 admissions, with 45% of screenings SRO. Simon Shore’s coming-out comedy-drama “Get Real,” a fest world preem, easily won the Audience Award. Runners-up were “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and Scottish-set black comedy “Orphans.”
Ron Havilio of Israel won Best Docu for “Fragments*Jerusalem.” The Best British Animation nod, the McLaren Award, went to Peter Peake for “Hum Drum,” while special mention was accorded Martin Davies’ “Keep in a Dry Place Away from Children.” The Best British Short honors were awarded jointly, to Matt Hulse (“Wee Three”) and Jamie Thraves (“I Just Want to Kiss You”).