Lynne Ramsay is to film what The Blue Nile are to music – discuss. She has made four films in 18 years, and it’s been seven between her last, We Need To Talk About Kevin, and her latest You Were Never Really Here. The Blue Nile released their four albums over 20 years, with the longest gap being 8 years between Peace At Last and High. Most importantly both proved to have put their time to good use, producing work which is of the highest quality in their respective fields.
You Were Never Really Here proves, if anyone were in any doubt, that Lynne Ramsay is one of the finest filmmakers around. From her unforgettable debut Ratcatcher, through Morvern Callar (one of the best ever film adaptations of a Scottish novel), to BAFTA & Global Globe winner We Need To Talk About Kevin, she produced a run of films to rival any other director. Could she keep it up? If you believed the recent rumours and hype surrounding Ramsay (leaving, or being asked to leave, various projects) then you may have thought this unlikely. However, if you simply look at the work – which is what matters – how could you doubt it? Continue reading
If it’s February in Glasgow it can only be the Glasgow Film Festival, the perfect place for the more discerning film fans to take shelter from the storm while enjoying the best cinema has to offer, old and new.
Running from 21st February – 4th March, it’s a festival which over the years has firmly established itself as one of the very best around.
Scots Whay Hae! will be bringing you interviews as well as the usual reviews, but before we do here is our annual preview.
2018’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 peruse at your leisure.
However, before you do here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
As ever, there are various categories and strands to guide you towards whatever may be your cup of tea. This year they include Behind The Scenes, Rebel Heroes, Ireland: The Near Shore, Cinemasters, Local Heroes, Sound & Vision, Modern Families, Stranger Than Fiction, Future Cult, Poineer, Window On The World, Crossing The Line, Pure Baltic and the always popular FrightFest.
Add to those some very special events at appropriate venues, a surprise film, school discos, a wide-selection of Gala events, the Glasgow Short Film Festival, the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, and many Special Guest appearances and interviews.
You can keep updated throughout the festival on Facebook and on Twitter #GFF18 and you can sign up the the GFT Enewsletter which is not only essential for the festival, but all year round. Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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
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
If it’s February it must be raining and it must be the Glasgow Film Festival, surely a marriage made in heaven. Running from 17th – 28th February, it’s a festival which, geographical bias aside, has become one of the very best, and this year’s programme shows a swagger and confidence that befits an event moving comfortably into its second decade.
Here’s just a taste of what’s on offer:
As ever, there are various categories to guide you to what may be your cup of tea. This year they include Dream Teams On The Silver Scream, Roads To The South: Argentinian Cinema, Window On The World, Local Heroes, Modern Familes, Nerdvana, Sound & Vision and the always popular FrightFest.
Add to those some very special events at appropriate venues, an opening and closing Gala, celebrations of cinematic anniversaries, a series of talks about the industry, the Glasgow Short Film Festival, the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, and you’ll begin to realise the breadth and depth of what’s on offer, and you should take time to peruse the full programme at your leisure as it offers different potential ‘must sees’ with every read. So much so that you may fear you’ll have to break the bank to enjoy yourself, but there are free showings on offer, as well as a great selection which come under the Festival for a Fiver category. Continue reading
If it’s February, it must be the Glasgow Film Festival. It has long been one of the best festivals Scotland has to offer, and this year is no different. As always, there are themes running throughout which act as a guide to potential areas of interest. This year they include The Best of British, Cinema City, Modern Families (featuring The Moomins!), Pioneer, and Strewth! The Films Of Oz as well as the usual Frightfest and Sound & Vision.
But these are simply suggestions; for the full guide as to what’s on you should go to visitgff.glasgowfilm.org or follow the comings and goings on Twitter @glasgowfilmfest.
At Scots Whay Hae! we like to keep our guide simple, so here are ten of the very best on show at this year’s festival…
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