Stranger Than Fiction: Must-see documentaries at Glasgow Film Festival
- Maddy Williamson
- 28 February 2020
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am / credit: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Eight engaging works of cinema to catch at GFF 2020
The Glasgow Film Festival is back in 2020 with its jam-packed schedule of films from all genres, for all audiences. In its 15th year as one of the UK's leading film festivals, the featured programme proudly boasts exciting new local and international works, from mainstream crowd-pleasers to rare cult gems. However, for all the documentary fanatics out there, the festival's Stranger than Fiction strand is not to be missed.
Through a diverse program, it extols the power of documentaries to illuminate lives both big and small, and confront issues by opening the audience's eyes and hearts. From fresh insights into the extraordinary lives of Truman Capote, Barry Gifford and Toni Morrison, to raw awakenings to the injustices of modern society in Anthony Baxter's Flint, there is something to stir every viewer.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
Following the passing of Toni Morrison in August 2019, this wide-ranging documentary pays a reflective tribute to the woman who was inspired to write because no one took a 'little black girl' seriously. From a life whose influence stretched far and wide, director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders has composed a narrative that covers Morrison's achievements from as early as her childhood in the steel town of Lorain, to the Ohio book tours with Muhammad Ali, her activism alongside Angela Davis and, of course, a well-deserved Nobel Prize in 1993. In a film that encompasses many of the issues Morrison tackled in her writing, surrounding race, gender, American history and the human condition, it is a testimony to her inspirational and warm persona; cementing her as one of the most momentous writers of our times.
GFT, Sat 29 Feb, 3.30pm
Always in Season
The multi-award winning Always in Season follows the tragic death of African American teenager Lennon Lacy, who in August 2014 was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina. The documentary covers the dispute following Lacey's passing after local officials quickly ruled the death a suicide, while his family believe he was lynched. This hard-hitting feature directed by Jacqueline Olive and narrated by Danny Oliver holds a mirror to American history; in dissecting Lennon's story as well as other individuals and communities, it is a moving ode to the ongoing pursuit of justice for those who have suffered at the hands of racism and prejudice.
CCA, Sat 29 Feb, 7.15pm & Sun 1 Mar, 12.30pm
Antony Baxter is back at GFF this year with Flint, a coverage of the six years he has spent documenting the Flint water crisis that began in 2014. Narrated by Alec Baldwin, the film follows the authorities' choice to cut costs by changing the city's domestic water supply from the great Lakes to the Flint River. Failure to apply corrosion inhibitors to the water resulted in disastrous effects, with the city's poorest residents suffering most. In educating audiences to the years of denial and evasion by officials, and the sad fate of one American community, this two-hour documentary sheds light on the heartbreaking social inequalities of the modern world while applauding the solidarity of ordinary people.
GFT, Sun 1 Mar, 5.30pm, followed by a Q&A with director Anthony Baxter
One Taxi Ride
In this intensely emotional film, director Mak C K documents the life of Erick as he overcomes the trauma following a horrific sexual assault that took place a decade prior. Erick was just seventeen when he got into a taxi in Mexico City and was subsequently assaulted by the driver and two accomplices. Sadly, like many victims, he never went to the police, saw a doctor or told his family or friends. In this heartbreaking yet undoubtedly uplifting documentary, audiences follow Erick's journey to courageously reclaim his life as he faces the ordeal that has dominated it for the past 10 years, while in the process becoming an inspirational symbol to fellow survivors of male rape.
CCA, Sun 1 Mar, 8.15pm, followed by a Q&A with director Mak C K & Mon 2 Mar, 3.45pm
On 5 March 1953, the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin plunged a stunned Soviet Union into four days of national mourning and saw a state funeral in Moscow that was attended by tens of thousands. In using intriguing unseen archive footage of the event that Pravda called 'the Great Farewell', Sergei Loznitsa's captivating documentary places you right at the heart of what happened by covering the extraordinary state-orchestrated mourning and the grand, grotesque spectacle for a man who was as much deity as dictator to his people. In this revealing portrayal, viewers witness the cult of personality and the feelings of ordinary people in the grip of a tyrannical state.
Cineworld, Sun 1 Mar, 5.15pm & Mon 2 Mar, 1.15pm
The Capote Tapes
Through previously unseen footage and audio, director Ebs Burnough sheds light on the famous presence behind some of America's most renowned classics including Breakfast At Tiffanys, In Cold Blood and Other Voice, Other Rooms. Though best known for his novels, The Capote Tapes reveal the author himself to be an individual equally as complex and fascinating as the ones he invented. Audiences learn how the literary titan found his celebrity both seductive and destructive, as he navigated his way through life as a member of high society and a fearlessly out gay man. The documentary is an excellent film documenting the enigma of Truman Capote and the times in which he lived.
CCA, Sun 1 Mar, 5pm & Mon 2 Mar, 4pm
Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro
More famously known as professional wrestler Vampiro, Ian Richard Hodgkinson has risen to fame as one of Mexico's top wrestling stars in the last 30 years, becoming known as one of wrestling's most polarising competitors. Set in the present, the documentary follows Vampiro as he struggles to balance his roles running Lucha Libra AAA in Mexico while also being a father to his teenage daughter back in his hometown in Canada. Sure to resonate with audiences, the film is a heartwarming and honest portrayal of one man's drive to do the best he can for his family.
Cineworld, Mon 2 Mar, 6.30pm & Tue 3 Mar, 4pm
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).
From the team behind Netflix's Chef's Table comes the eye-opening documentary Machine. In a modern era ever-more reliant on technology, the film focuses on how humankind is hurtling towards an automated world, with director Justin Krook posing the question, 'what exactly does this mean for humanity as we know it?' Examining everything from healthcare to transport, entertainment to the military, he asks the question to a variety of professionals including engineers, neurosurgeons and philosophers. This mind-blowing documentary is sure to leave audiences questioning our very engagement with technology as we know it.
CCA, Fri 6 Mar, 6.15pm & Sat 7 Mar, 12.30pm
Glasgow Film Festival
Since 2005, Scotland's fastest-growing film festival has become a force to be reckoned with in the movie world. The 2021 festival will be presented in a new online format.
Wed 2 Mar 2022
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Thu 3 Mar 2022
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…and 9 more dates until 13 Mar 2022
Fri 4 Mar 2022
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