Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TIFF 2013: Sunshine On Leith (Very Good)

I've been a big fan of The Proclaimers' music for some time, so when I spotted Sunshine on Leith in the TIFF programme, it was an obvious pick. The film is based on a successful musical stage production, and includes numerous Proclaimers songs, some very familiar (I Would Walk 500 Miles) and some new to me (OK, so I'm a big fan of one album, and hadn't explored their other work...)

It's a story about finding, losing and struggling to hold on to love, with a wee bit of Scottish nationalism thrown in for good measure. There are enough sub-plots to make it all interesting and some of them are dark, but in general it's a light little affair. The energy and passion with which The Proclaimers infuse their music comes across loud and clear through strong performances by the entire cast. And the beautiful city of Edinburgh shines as a wonderful backdrop. I was reminded that it has been 5 years since I visited Scotland, and it brought back vivid memories of how beautify the country is.

The audience in the theatre for this world premiere must have been almost entirely Proclaimers fans of Scottish descent; they ate up every bit of the film, from the twins' early cameo to the final flash-mob-style musical number (yes, number: guess which song). 

The director, screenwriter, much of the cast and The Proclaimers took the stage for Q&A after the film. Most of the questions were about how they adapted the stage production to the screen, but the last was memorable: "Do you feel it's wrong to have a Scottish story end on a happy note?". The director didn't.

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