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Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015: the top 10 films you need to see

Written by
Niki Boyle

The Edinburgh International Film Festival launched its 2015 programme today, with over 164 screenings of new and classic movies from around the world (plus a host of short film screenings, special events and education sessions). The fest runs in venues from Wednesday June 17–Sunday June 28, with tickets on sale to the general public from 9am on Friday May 29 from the festival website. Here are ten of the screenings and events you won’t want to miss out on (excluding that live-scored 'Back to the Future' screening, which is sadly already sold out).

The Legend of Barney Thomson
Robert Carlyle’s directorial debut (pictured above) is a black comedy set in Glasgow, where a mild-mannered barber (Carlyle) accidentally becomes a serial killer. The Opening Gala of the film fest is usually a star-studded affair, so keep an eye out for Carlyle along with co-stars Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay and Martin Compston.
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wednesday June 17 

Following a premiere at Cannes, this biopic of troubled singer Amy Winehouse comes to Edinburgh at the hands of director Asif Kapadia (‘Senna’). Featuring intimate home video and camera phone footage, plus archive material and interviews, it creates a portrait of the controversial star who died aged 27 in 2011.
Filmhouse, Thursday June 18 & Saturday June 20 

Under Milk Wood
Last year's EIFF featured the premiere of Elijah Wood-starring Dylan Thomas drama ‘Set Fire to the Stars’; it's staying on the Thomas train this year with this lyrical adaptation of his 1954 radio drama ‘Under Milk Wood’, starring Rhys Ifans and Charlotte Church.
Cineworld, Saturday June 20 & Sunday June 21

Believe it or not, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been getting high praise for his performance in this relatively low-key zombie drama. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (and, more appropriately, ‘Zombieland’) star Abigail Breslin takes on the title role of Maggie, infected daughter of Midwestern farmer Wade (Schwarzenegger), who has to protect her from external forces as zombification looms.
Filmhouse, Saturday June 20 & Tuesday June 23 

Inside Out
The EIFF continues its fruitful relationship with Pixar in 2015, following triumphant screenings of ‘Brave’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ in recent years. ‘Inside Out’ tells the story of teenager Riley – or more accurately, of the team of emotions that hold sway inside Riley’s head, including Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Fear (Bill Hader).
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Sunday June 21

In Person: Ewan McGregor
The Scottish star returns to his homeland to discuss his career, including recent biblical project ‘Last Days in the Desert’ (which, handily enough, also screens at the festival).
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Sunday June 21
Last Days in the Desert, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Sunday June 21 

Having somewhat rehabilitated Nicolas Cage's career with last year's 'Joe' (another hit at EIFF 2014), director David Gordon Green delivers an unsentimental character study of ageing locksmith AJ Manglehorn (Al Pacino), a man whose largely solitary existence is broken up by conversations with his cat and the odd family skirmish. Holly Hunter and ‘Spring Breakers’ director Harmony Korine also star.
Cineworld, Tuesday June 23 & Sunday June 28

Live Live Cinema: Little Shop of Horrors
Roger Corman’s original 1960 cult horror-comedy (not to be confused with Frank Oz’s 1986 musical reimagining) is the subject of this special screening where all the sound – including music, dialogue and sound effects – is recreated by a live stage crew. If you can take your eyes off them long enough, you may even spot a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from a young Jack Nicholson.
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Wednesday June 24 

The Wolfpack
This stunning US documentary offers a peak into the lives of the six Angulo brothers, who lead a reclusive life in a New York apartment where they entertain themselves by re-enacting movies from the DVD collection. A compelling watch, this screening is made all the more intriguing by the (hopeful) promise of a Skype Q&A with the family after the film.
Filmhouse, Friday June 26 & Saturday June 27

Santa Sangre
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal, avant-garde horror is part of the EIFF’s Focus on Mexico strand (yes, we know he's Chilean), exploring the country’s impressive output old and new. Head along for a line-night delve into unsettling, hallucinogenic territory.
Filmhouse, Saturday June 27

The Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from Wednesday June 17–Sunday June 28, and also features strands dedicated to cult US made-for-TV movies directed by big-name directors and a retrospective of 'The Warriors' director Walter Hill.

Find out about more film on Time Out Edinburgh.

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