That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2017 Podcasts – Part 1 (Film)…

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This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film, music, and books. For the first two, Ali and Ian are once again joined by irregular podcast guest and resident film expert Chris Ward, and Scottish music man & manager, Wesley Shearer.

In this, Part I, we concentrate on the films of 2017, and give you some recommendations. As usual, Ali kicks things off talking about his favourite Scottish films of the year, including T2: Trainspotting, Daphne, Benny, The End Of The Game, and Lost In France before Chris and Wesley widen the discussion to talk about the best films they have seen in the last 12 months. As well as their recommendations, they talk about the continuing success of the Glasgow Film Festival, the growing influence of streaming services, the possible threat to cinemas, and more. Continue reading

Screen Break: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Peter Mackie Burns…

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For the latest podcast Ali talks to Peter Mackie Burns (below, right), the director of critically acclaimed new British film Daphne, starring Emily Beecham in the title role, and which has Geraldine James among the support.

The two talk about the film, the collaborative process of building the central peter mackie burnscharacter, the importance of place, the influences on the film, the secret to good casting, Burns’ earlier work, and how he got to this stage in his career. It’s a fascinating insight into the film-making process and much more.

Peter tells you where and when you can see Daphne, which is distributed by Altitude Films and produced by The Bureau, and you can learn all about it, and buy tickets, at Daphne.film. The name of the composer which temporarily slipped Peter’s mind is Sam Beste, and you can listen to the soundtrack by checking out the Spotify playlist.
But before we go any further here’s the trailer for Daphne:

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You Have Been Watching…Benny

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Any informed discussion of the greatest all-time Scottish sports stars will throw up familiar names. Alongside the likes of Alan Wells, Liz McColgan, the Lisbon Lions, Andy Murray, Denis Law, Jackie Stewart and John Thomas ‘Jocky’ Wilson will be that of boxer Benny Lynch. However, the passing of time increases the risk that those who have been members of this elite group for the longest are in the greatest danger of being forgotten. The fact that the Lynch legend has lasted this long is testament to his impact on sports fans and beyond. Like Ali, Leonard, McGuigan and Chavez, he transcended the sport of boxing to become a national icon and hero. But Lynch last fought in 1938, lest we forget.

Andrew Gallimore’s documentary, Benny, which previewed at the Glasgow Film Festival last week, is timely for this very reason. It is not only a reminder of a great boxer, arguably one of the very best, but of a time and place, namely Glasgow in the 1920s and ’30s, which is also in danger of being forgotten. Glasgow was overpopulated, ripe and rotten, and at the heart of it was the Gorbals, which had a population density six-times higher than anywhere else in the city. Continue reading

Talking Movies At GFF17 – #3: An Interview With Bodkin Ras Director Kaweh Modiri…

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The third of our interviews with directors at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival is with Kaweh Modiri, a Dutch filmmaker of Iranian descent. Strange then, perhaps, that his film Bodkin Ras is set in the town of Forres in the north of Scotland, but such movement of people and place has been a feature of the films we have been highlighting at at this year’s festival, and those who have made them.

Our previous interviews have been with David Graham Scott, whose film The End Of The Game begins in Caithness and then moves to South Africa, and Hope Dickson Leach, who wrote The Levelling in Glasgow but filmed it in Somerset. You could make the claim, so I will, that they typify the Glasgow Film Festival in that they mix home with the international. Continue reading

You Have Been Watching…The End Of The Game

 

Our first film review of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival is of David Graham Scott’s The End Of The Game. And what a place to start. When documentary is at its best it trumps fiction every time as it gives us stranger and more telling tales. It is certainly the case that if someone was to write a character such as ‘Sir’ Guy Wallace, the focus of The End Of The Game, then an editor would dismiss him as being unbelievable. But when faced with the real thing, he is impossible to ignore.

He is a man whose story needs a film-maker as fair and even-handed as Graham Scott for audiences to see behind the facade and try to understand just what makes the man who he is. It would have been all too easy for the director to hold his subject up to ridicule. There is a lot of humour in the film, but it is as much pointed to the man behind the camera as to the one it is trained on, and much of it comes from their two very different  worlds colliding. But, as with the likes of fellow documentarian Jon Ronson, Scott tries to understand the personality and the driving passion of his subject. It is the result of an inquisitive mind, and one which is keen to see the best in people, even when initial evidence may prove otherwise. Other filmmakers could learn a lot in terms of approach and perspective Continue reading

Talking Movies At GFF17 – #2: An Interview With The Levelling Director Hope Dickson Leach…

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Hope Dickson Leach’s excellent The Levelling is at the GFT from the 12th – 18th May. Below is an interview with the director from earlier this year…

The Glasgow Film Festival offers something for everyone, but each year there are films which arrive having  created a buzz through word-of-mouth and critical reception. This certainly applies to The Levelling which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and it has been earning rave reviews wherever it has been shown. Continue reading

Stranger Than Fiction: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Documentary Maker Lou McLoughlan…

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The latest podcast has Ali talking to director and cinematographer Lou McLoughlan. We could pretend that it has been perfectly timed to coincide with the first week of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, but in all honesty it’s an interview we’ve been trying to organise ever since watching Lou’s fantastic feature documentary 16 Years Till Summer, one of the best films of 2016.

You can read the Scots Whay Hae! review here, and see the trailer at the foot of this post, but it’s worth listening to the director talk about the making of it first as it will add to the viewing experience, and spoilers are carefully avoided.

The two also talk about the practicalities and difficulties of making documentaries, and then with getting them to an audience, particularly a Scottish one.

There is also chat about Scottish storytelling, the Highlands and Islands as a ‘seductive space’, the importance of music to a film, how filming real life will always offer up the unexpected, and much, much more. Continue reading

Talking Movies At GFF17 – #1: An Interview With The End Of The Game Director David Graham Scott…

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David Graham Scott’s The End Of The Game is described as “A bizarre journey to Africa with a vegan filmmaker and an old colonial big game hunter.” In truth, that description just scratches the surface of what may prove to be the most controversial film at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, most probably for people who only engage with it on the most simple and perfunctory level. Those who are willing to look beyond the perceived stereotypes which that description suggests will discover a layered and complex picture of a man out of time facing his own mortality, and the disappearance of all that he once held as certain.

It is also as much about the director himself and his growing relationship with his leading man and his beliefs, and how they appear to directly oppose his own. Scott avoids bringing his own preconceptions to the making of the film, and that’s the way an audience should approach it as well. Continue reading

Lights, Camera, Action!: A Preview Of Glasgow Film Festival 2017…

Glasgow-Film-Festival-2017-cardFebruary in Glasgow. Chances are it’ll be cold, wet and windy. It’s almost as if the Glasgow Film Festival was created specifically to offer discerning film-fans shelter from the storm. Running from 15th – 26th February, it’s a festival which has easily established itself as one of the very best.

Scots Whay Hae! will be bringing  you exclusive interviews as well as the usual reviews, but before we do here is our preview. 2017’s programme has so much to recommend it we couldn’t possibly do anything other than make some considered suggestions here, but you can and should download the full brochure, settle back, and persuse at your leisure.

However, before you do here’s a taste of what’s on offer:

As ever,  there are various categories to guide you as to what may be your cup of tea. This year they include Cinemasters, Crossing The Line, Modern Families, Dangerous Dames,  Local HeroesSound & Vision, Pioneer, Stranger Than FictionWindow On The Worldand the always popular FrightFest.

Add to those some very special events at appropriate venues, a wide-selection of Gala events, a cinematic celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederationa series of talks about the industry, the Glasgow Short Film Festival, the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, and many Special Guest appearances. You may fear you’ll have to break the bank to enjoy yourself, but there are free showings and events on offer, as well as a great selection which come under the Festival for a Fiver category.

You can keep updated throughout the festival on Facebook and on Twitter @glasgowfilmfest #GFF17 and you can sign up the the GFT Newsletter which is not only essential for the festival, but all year round.

To whet appetites even further, here are the trailers for 11 films to look forward to. They include David Tennant as R.D. Laing, a Bill Forsyth classic, Neneh Cherry, a celebration of a Japanese master, a John Byrne writing masterclass, at least one soundtrack to die for, and Faye Dunaway reminding us that few femmes are as fatale. Continue reading

You Have Been Watching…T2 Trainspotting

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The sweat wis lashing oafy this boy. Was T2 Trainspotting a terrible idea, destined to disappoint and lessen the memory of seeing the original on its day of release in 1996, emerging blinking from a cinema thinking someone had made a film for me and mine? As soon as the credits roll, with Mark Renton pounding the virtual pavement of an Amsterdam running machine, interspersed with clips of Johan Cruyff showing that anything Archie Gemmill could do he could do better, it’s clear we are in safe hands.

This is a film which is an unashamed nostalgic experience for audience and cast alike, but it’s not wallowing – and it’s certainly not viewing that past through rose-tinted glasses. This is through a glass darkly, with old scores looking to be settled and many demons to be faced down. It’s rare for a film to hold a mirror up to its audience in this manner and ask them to take a good, hard look at themselves; who they are, who they were, and what they have done. Regrets? Too few to mention? If only. Continue reading