If you only have time to see one movie per day during this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, then Eddie Harrison is the man to guide you through the maze
THURSDAY 19 FEBRUARY
White Bird in a Blizzard
2014’s most meteoric rise to fame came from Shailene Woodley, who capitalised on her memorable turn opposite George Clooney in The Descendants to star in all-conquering teenage hits Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. Cult director Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, The Living End) sculpts a thoughtful adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel and coaxes a sensual performance from Woodley as Kat, a teenage girl haunted by the disappearance of her mother (excellently played by Eva Green), with further complications due to sexual liaisons with a handsome detective (Thomas Jane). Tense, lyrical and dreamlike, White Bird in a Blizzard is a poetic drama with a well-delivered twist ending.
GFT, Thu 19 Feb; Grosvenor, Fri 20 Feb
Also on: Monsters: Dark Continent, Catch Me Daddy
FRIDAY 20 FEBRUARY
A making-of documentary about a film that was never made, Jodorowsky’s Dune looks back on an ill-fated struggle to make a sci-fi epic. Faced with the task of adapting Frank Herbert’s novel, mystic-minded director Alejandro Jodorowsky assembled an eclectic cast including Salvador Dalí, Mick Jagger, Orson Welles and disco diva Amanda Lear, plus his own son Brontis, and added garnish with HR Giger designs and a Pink Floyd score. The production collapsed, but the David Lynch film that was eventually made from the book provided Jodorowsky with some glee when it duly flopped. The production materials led directly to Star Wars and Prometheus, while Alien co-writer Dan O’Bannon’s anecdote about witnessing lightning bolts being fired from Jodorowsky’s eyes is a peach.
GFT, Fri 20 Feb; Grosvenor, Sat 21 Feb
Also on: Family Goldmine, The Little Death
SATURDAY 21 FEBRUARY
Moomins on the Riviera
A brand new Finnish-French animation featuring the beloved Moomin characters as created by Tove Jansson. This strikingly old-fashioned 2D cartoon finds the perky little critters in upwardly mobile mode as they set sail for the South of France and decide to join the jet-set by passing themselves off as aristocracy, an unwise deception that leads to considerable strain on the family unit. The Moomins have enjoyed a wide UK following due to their previous television exposure, and Russell Tovey is amongst the voice-talent in this English-language version that wisely refuses to update too much about Jansson’s original stories.
Odeon at the Quay, Sat 21 Feb
Also on: Still Alice, It Follows
SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY
Outgoing Daily Show host Jon Stewart became aware of Maziar Bahari when the Canadian journalist was arrested in Iran: part of the evidence which led authorities to imagine he was a spy was a copy of Stewart’s show. Admirably, Stewart chose to get involved himself, and directs Gael Garcia Bernal in this sometimes harrowing drama about Bahari’s enforced period of captivity. Registering his own brand of political protest by having a Leonard Cohen disco in his head while he dances alone in his cell, Bahari’s struggle to prove his innocence and keep his sanity makes for small-scale and absorbing cinema. It all proves that nothing a satirist can imagine is as surreal as the machinations of modern politics.
GFT, Sun 22 Feb; Grosvenor, Mon 23 Feb
Also on: Altman, The Town That Dreaded Sundown
MONDAY 23 FEBRUARY
Clouds of Sils Maria
French director Olivier Assayas has variable form, but the likes of Irma Vep and Clean have shown him to have a commanding skill-set when required. His latest features the eternally luminous Juliette Binoche in a backstage drama about acting and age. Maria (Binoche) is a stage actress getting older and fearing for her looks. New talent threatens her, a rivalry with film actress Jo-Ann (Chloë Grace Moretz) providing a catalyst for Maria’s breakdown, with Kristen Stewart on hand as her assistant. With a plotline which sounds surprisingly similar to the Julianne Moore section of David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, hopes are high for a return to form for Assayas, and potentially his most widely seen film yet by dint of the red-hot cast.
Grosvenor, Mon 23 Feb; GFT, Sun 22 Feb
Also on: White God, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch
TUESDAY 24 FEBRUARY
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Shave your hair into a mohawk, whip out the eyeliner and look for your studded-gloves and leather trousers as the Road Warrior returns to Glasgow on the big IMAX screen. Derided as a ‘millionaire’s amateur dramatic piece’ by one particularly fusty critic on release in 1982, George Miller’s apocalyptic action film is a terse, rugged thriller with electrifying stunt work, particularly the final petrol-tanker pursuit. Skipping over the revenge sub-plot of the first film, Miller’s sequel sees Max (Mel Gibson) caught between a besieged community and the hoards of motorised barbarians who wait at their gates, with supplies of petrol the prize for the victors. With a big-budget reboot starring Tom Hardy landing soon, this is a welcome reminder that Mad Max 2 is as good as action movies get.
IMAX, Tue 24 Feb
Also on: Boychoir, Girlhood
WEDNESDAY 25 FEBRUARY
My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
One of modern cinema’s great characters, Danish writer and director Nicolas Winding Refn is an odd fish: teetotal, softly spoken, frequently sporting natty eyewear and given to deadpan, offbeat pronouncements (he described his Viking epic Valhalla Rising as ‘a sci-fi story about going to the moon’). In this fly-on-the-wall documentary, Liv Corfixen documents her husband’s domestic and work activities in Thailand as he makes Only God Forgives with Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas. If you’ve wondered about the mojo of the man who made such masculine fare as Bronson or Drive, Refn’s unassuming charm is both surprising and disarming.
GFT, Wed 25 & Thu 26 Feb
Also on: X + Y, Radiator
THURSDAY 26 FEBRUARY
A tale of teenage infatuation in a late 60s setting, The Falling is an ethereal British drama about a girl called Lydia (Maisie Williams) falling under the influence of the more worldly Abbie (Florence Pugh), whose pregnancy sparks hysteria in an all-girl school. Fresh from a critically acclaimed Hamlet, Maxine Peake lends support as Lydia’s agoraphobic mother. Directed by Carol Morley, The Falling was positively received at the London Film Festival, and follows in the wake of her acclaimed Dreams of a Life.
GFT, Thu 26 Feb; Grosvenor, Fri 27 Feb
Also on: Man from Reno, Red Amnesia
FRIDAY 27 FEBRUARY
Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films
Following on from Not Quite Hollywood, his film about 1970s Australian exploitation films, Mark Hartley does a similarly amusing job on the late Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus production duo. The Lemon Popsicle movies launched their careers, leading them to produce striking fare such as 1985’s Runaway Train. Unfortunately for Golan and Globus, that was only one of thousands of amusingly awful films they churned out, featuring the likes of Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris and Bo Derek. While no one would argue for the cultural importance of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Invasion USA, Lifeforce or even Ninja III: The Domination, much fun is to be derived in studying the chaotic creative process behind them.
GFT, Fri 27 Feb; CCA, Sat 28 Feb
Also on: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Burroughs: The Movie
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY
Blood and Black Lace
Following in the wake of the BFI’s admirable Gothic season, genre specialists FrightFest have got their bloodied hands on a restoration of Italian horror maestro Mario Bava’s seminal thriller. While modern gore is absent from this 1964 classic, there’s plenty of menacing intent as a masked serial killer starts murdering the models in an upmarket fashion house. Bava’s extraordinary gift for colour and framing were not always matched by the writing and conception of his films, but Blood and Black Lace is an assured thriller with several bravura sequences in true Hitchcockian vein, one involving a stolen diary in a handbag. The perennially popular FrightFest have plenty more up their sleeves, including REC 4:Apocalypse and the Eli Roth-produced Clown, but Bava on the big screen is a must for anyone who loves the horror genre.
GFT, Sat 28 Feb
Also on: The Woods, Eden
SUNDAY 1 MARCH
Little celebrated at the time of its release, Gillies MacKinnon’s 1995 Scottish drama gets the same revival treatment which the GFF has previously dished out to Local Hero, Death Watch, Living Apart Together and other fondly remembered Scottish product. A gritty tale of 1960s gang life, Small Faces was filmed in such exotic locales as Glasgow’s Maryhill, Partick, Mount Florida and Bishopbriggs: one scene takes place on the roof of the museum and art gallery at Kelvingrove. Adding to the interest level is the roster of talent assembled here, including Kevin McKidd, Colin McCredie and Laura Fraser. MacKinnon co-wrote the drama with his brother Billy, and this 20th anniversary screening will see some of the cast and crew reunited onstage.
GFT, Sun 1 Mar
Also on: Closing Gala Force Majeure.