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Hipsters, Bad Lieutenant and a Frightfest at GFF

Glasgow Film Festival blog

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Hipsters, Bad Lieutenant and a Frightfest at GFF

Friday 26/Sat 27 February

Friday afternoon. I decide to brave the vertiginous screens at Glasgow’s Cineworld Renfrew Street where some festival films are also showing. I make the perverse choice of Hipsters, a Russian film with no current UK distributor about a group of post World War Two youths who like nothing better than dressing in American jazz age clothing. The film is touted in the programme as ‘one of the best Russian films of the last ten years’. It is, of course, nothing of the sort. It’s more like Johnny Suede meets Leningrad Cowboys meets Cop Rock. If you get the last reference you obviously spent too much of the 1990s in your underpants smoking grass. The film is madly uneven with bizarre musical intervals but not without its charms and the costumes are to die for. If by some quirk of fate you do get a chance to see it, I recommend you do, it’s a strange and giddy ride.

Next was Werner Herzog’s brilliant Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, a film so chaotic, unpredictable and out of control it put me in mind of the great Nicholas Ray’s thematically similar morphine meltdown of a movie Bigger than Life. It was a quiet night on the party front with not a lot happening (that anyone wanted to tell me about anyway) so I retired to the friend’s house I am staying at and gave myself red wine teeth while being given a masterclass in the short films of Mario Bava via the medium of You Tube.

By way of squaring some kind of demented giallo cinema circle I decided to drop into Frightfest to catch the partially restored print of Lucio Fulci’s 1971 psychedelic horror thriller A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. The Frightfest audience was the usual gaggle of emaciated or chronically overweight young men in horror t-shirts, but there is no denying their passion and commitment to horror cinema. Writer, organizer and one man mountain Karloff geek Alan Jones corralled the twitchy heckling nerds with a few words about the film before a representative from Optimum, who are currently in the process of restoring the film, explained the exact status of the print we were about to see, which is essentially half restored.

The film itself is better than I could have wished for. Full of Freudian illusion, psychedelia, nympho-erotica and truly phenomenal score by Ennio Morricone, I am convinced it is a lost masterpiece. When Optimum releases it later this year I urge you to buy, rent or steal it.

Right now I’m going off to enjoy free cocktails at the Blythewood Hotel at a bash hosted by the GFF and the very honourable Scottish Documentary Institute, then I’m going to introduce the List Surprise Film. It’s a beast of a film this year. This is the first time the film has been shown in the UK. And the film is…

You think I’m a douchebag? I’ll blog again early tomorrow and tell you how that went and then it’s back to the talented Mr Gallagher for some proper decent chat. Farewell for now.

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