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BBC Scotland arts correspondent Pauline McLean
"The Danish director is reknowned for his fear of flying"
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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Reel drama at film premiere
Bjork won the best actress award at Cannes
The first screening at Edinburgh's International Film Festival lived up to its name when the audience was left in the dark.

Guests could have been forgiven for blowing a fuse when the UK debut of Dancer in the Dark - starring Icelandic pop star Bjork - was halted during the closing scenes.

Staff had to persuade the disgruntled audience to stay seated for 20 minutes after a fuse blew in the cinema, plunging the auditorium into darkness.

Catherine Deneuve
Catherine Deneuve did not attend the premiere
There had earlier been disappointment for fans who lined the streets waiting for the stars of Lars von Trier's acclaimed film.

The key actors - including Bjork and Catherine Deneuve - did not attend the film's UK premiere on Sunday night.

The director himself, who refuses to travel by air, was also absent.

Only Scottish actor Robert Carlisle and a handful of industry regulars were at the low-key event, which marks the start of the 54th film festival in the capital.

However, star-struck fans are still hoping for a glimpse of Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney, who is rumoured to be attending the festival.

He stars in the Coen Brothers' new film O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier refuses to fly
Dancer in the Dark, a mixture of dark drama and Hollywood song and dance routines, won the Palme D'Or and the best actress award for Bjork at the Cannes film festival.

But it has divided critics, with some audiences booing the film out of cinemas.

However, the festival's artistic director Lizzie Francke said she knew immediately that it was the film she wanted to open the festival.

"Dancer in the Dark is one of the most sensational films to be made for many years," she said.

"The fact that it is going to get people talking is an indication that there is still life and art in cinemas."

Other premieres during the world's longest-running film festival will include period drama The House of Mirth and The Hollow Man, a science fiction adventure.

There will also be debates, seminars, panel discussions, training sessions and filmakers' masterclasses at the event, which runs until 27 August.

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13 Aug 00 | Scotland
Film festival 'welcomes Clooney'
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