It says a lot about how I view my year that once Celtic Connections is over, thoughts turn to the Glasgow Film Festival. This year is their 10th anniversary, and over that decade the festival has grown to be one of the world’s biggest and best.
Along the way it has picked up the Glasgow Youth Festival, the Short Film Festival, the Music and Film Festival, Kapow!, Frightfest and lots of other interesting strands. What it does, perhaps better than any other film festival I have been to, is to balance the past and the future, the popular and the experimental, so there really is something for everyone. The following are only a few, personal, highlights that I’ll be trying my best to get to.
I’m going to start at the end, with the film which will close the festival. It’s Jonathan Glazer’s eagerly anticipated film version of Michael Faber’s novel Under the Skin, which has Scarlett Johansson as a woman who fell to earth, and ends up stalking the streets of Glasgow searching for men, but it’s so much weirder then that sounds. Here’s the trailer:
Another film shot in Scotland, although this time over 30 years ago,was the George Lucas backed Black Angel, Roger Christian’s short fantasy film which was shown before The Empire Strikes Back in some countries. Long thought lost, a version has been found and will be shown at this year’s festival. Some of you may be wondering where you know the name Roger Christian. Well, he directed possible the worst film I have ever seen, the incomprehensible Scientology propaganda fest Battlefield Earth, but try not to hold that against him, if you can. Here are a couple of rare clips from Black Angel:
Now, three very different Scottish films. The first is The Edge of the World, the 1938 film by Michael Powell, filmed on the Isle of Foula, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should. Powell captures the wild and dangerous forces of nature which are the backdrop to the fisherman and their families who risk their lives to make a living:
David McKenzie is one of my favourite film directors, and even when he doesn’t get it quite right (Perfect Sense) he is always interesting and experimental, and when he does get it right (Young Adam) he is fabulous. His latest film is Starred Up, a prison drama shot in Belfast, and which has Ben Mendelsohn in it, and I would go and see it for that reason alone:
Everybody’s Child is a documentary by film maker Garry Fraser about his his home town of Muirhouse in Edinburgh which promises to show a part of Scotland which most people choose to ignore, or don’t even know exists in the first place. This could be one of the highlights of the festival:
There are a couple of portraits of two of Scotland’s greatest artists at this year’s festival. Place of Work revisits the work of film-maker Margaret Tait, and then there is Nort Atlantik Drift, which is based on a collections of poems by writer Robert Alan Jamieson. Both of these will be worth attending, and here is the trailer to the latter:
One of the best things about the Glasgow Film Festival over the years has been the opportunity to see classic movies on the big screen, and this year they include Mr Smith Goes To Washington, Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz and Goodbye, Mr Chips. The two, very different, classics that I am determined to see are The Belles of St Trinians and one of the most important films in my life, Rebel Without A Cause (“You’re tearing me apart!”). Here’s a clip from the first, and the trailer to the latter:
There are quite a few location specific events happening this year, such as film and food evenings in The Briggait, Harold Lloyd silents at the Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, and quite a few showings on the Tall Ship, including Pete’s Dragon and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but I can’t think of a better venue to show John Carpenter’s classic horror The Fog, and that’s exactly what they are doing. An overlooked classic from the early ’80s, here’s the trailer:
Other highlights will be a Conversation with John Sessions, Monster Mash at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Admiral Fallow’s ‘Ten Takes’ at the Old Fruitmarket, but I’m going to end this preview with Lee Sang-il’s remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. Many Hollywood movies have adapted cinema from the far east, and it is interesting to see that trend reversed here. Here’s the trailer:
What promises to be a fantastic couple of weeks begins on the 20th Feb, see you there…