Glasgow Film Festival 2017 day planner
- Arusa Qureshi
- 19 January 2017
A guide to the films we think you should check out at this year's Glasgow Film Festival
The Glasgow Film Festival returns this year with a packed programme of screenings and events that highlight the best in cinema from around the world. As one of the UK's leading film festivals, audiences can expect to be treated to nine world premieres as well as 67 Scottish premieres, with films being showcased from 38 different countries. With such a great number of films to choose from, we thought we'd put together a day planner to help you select your top picks. The films we've chosen vary in terms of country of origin, genre and theme, with each film taken from one of the many festival strands.
WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY
Opening Gala: Handsome Devil
John Butler's Handsome Devil is a light-hearted coming-of-age drama that follows 16-year old Ned (played by Fionn O'Shea), who's ambiguous sexuality and artistic nature makes him a prime target for homophobic abuse from his classmates. After being sent to an Irish boarding school where rugby-lads predominantly occupy the space, Ned struggles with loneliness and constant humiliation until new roommate Conor (Nicholas Galitzine) and English teacher Dan Sherry (Andrew Scott) arrive. Though Conor is a star on the rugby team, the two roommates share mutual interests, sparking an unlikely friendship that is fostered by cool and knowledgeable teacher Dan. Tackling LGBT issues as well as what it means to be an outsider, Handsome Devil is a warm and funny story with an uplifting message; the perfect film to open the 2017 festival.
GFT, Wed 15 Feb
THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY
The Woman Who Left
The Guardian described The Woman Who Left as a 'haunting drama of guilt, God, and gloomy revenge.' This aptly summarises Lav Diaz's Venice Golden Lion winning film, which takes inspiration from Tolstoy's short story God Sees the Truth, but Waits. Horacia (Charo SantosConcio) is wrongly imprisoned for a crime that she did not commit, serving 30 years before she's finally released. Things have changed on the outside but Horacia is adamant to get her revenge on Rodrigo Trinidad (Michael de Mesa), her former lover who is to blame for coercing her best friend, the true culprit. At 3h 46m, the film is an epic and tense tale, made all the more agonising by Diaz's cinematography and use of black and white. The Woman Who Left is a challenging film but one that is bound to hold your attention.
GFT, Thu 16 Feb; Fri 17 Feb
Also on: Mifune: The Last Samurai, Multiple Maniacs
FRIDAY 17 FEBRUARY
My Life as a Courgette (Ma Vie de Courgette)
Back in October, we gave My Life as a Courgette a full five stars when it screened as part of London Film Festival 2016. Swiss director Claude Barras' animation is emotional and heart-warming, following the story of 19-year old Icare who is known by his nickname Courgette. When his alcoholic mother dies, Courgette finds himself in an orphanage, where he encounters a group of other children that have gone through equally traumatic childhood experiences. Based on the book by Gilles Paris and adapted by Céline Sciama, the film's bright colours and cute characters work in opposition to the kids' various stories, making an effort to depict the reality of their situation. But their discussions about topics like sex and babies and interactions with one another are humorous and entertaining, making the film suitable for kids and adults alike.
CCA, Fri 17 Feb (subtitled); Sat 18 Feb (dubbed)
Also on: Leave Her to Heaven, Anatomy of a Soundtrack
SATURDAY 18 FEBRUARY
Personal Shopper may have been booed by audiences at Cannes, but so was Pulp Fiction. Director Olivier Assayas' latest film is a mix between a supernatural thriller and psychological drama, with a fragmented storyline that doesn't reach a real resolution. But that's the beauty of it; it fuses elements of horror, through some mildly terrifying scenes, with elements of existentialism, emphasising the overall mystery of the film. Kristen Stewart stars as Maureen, who is attempting to cope with the death of her twin brother while working as a personal shopper for a celebrity client. In her role as medium, she desperately waits for a signal from her brother from beyond the grave, but encounters other spirits in the process. Kristen Stewart's unnerving performance adds to the film's overall intensity, making it one that's worth being spooked over.
GFT, Sat 18 Feb; Sun 19 Feb
Also on: Contemporary Color, Age of Shadows
SUNDAY 19 FEBRUARY
Isabelle Huppert's performance in Elle is outstanding, so much so that it has resulted in the film becoming a strong awards contender. Michèle is raped at the start of the film by an unknown man, who begins to harass her with text messages. Rather than fall apart, Michèle carries on with life, attempting to find out who the masked rapist is. The film is unsettling but also funny at times, thanks to Michèle's seemingly strange reaction and refusal to be the victim. We praised Huppert's 'masterful inhabiting of a truly complex character' in our review because of the way she commands the screen, reinforcing the film's provocative and controversial nature. If you're looking for suspense, Elle is the film to see.
GFT, Sun 19 Feb; Mon 20 Feb
Also on: Bad Rap, David Lynch's Factory Photographs / La Jetée
MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY
Following its world premiere at the London Film Festival, Mindhorn has gained a cult following of sorts, with Little White Lies describing it as 'a starry comic romp about a washed-up actor trying to relive his glory days.' Mighty Boosh star Julian Barratt plays Richard Thorncroft, who was once famous for his role as beloved TV cop Mindhorn. But when the series ended, he headed off to LA to pursue a career that ended in failure. Decades later, he's unemployed, balding and living in a tiny London bedsit. But now, a killer that believes that Mindhorn is real is on the loose on the Isle of Man, where the original TV show was shot, giving Thorncroft a chance to redeem himself. Opportunity and chaos await in equal doses. Mindhorn is a wacky and highly goofy comedy, made all the more hilarious by a great cast of actors and excellent script.
GFT, Mon 20 Feb; Tue 21 Feb
Also on: All This Panic, Paradise
TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY
Chinese-Canadian director Johnny Ma's debut feature takes a look at a flawed social construct that forces ordinary citizens to remove any compassion for the sake of legal blame. The system in China has resulted in hit-and-runs being considered the norm but if a victim dies, only a small amount of money changes hands. However, if the victim is only injured, the driver opens themselves up to a lifetime of payments as compensation. Taxi driver Lao Shi (Chen Gang) has an internal struggle about the expected procedure of hit-and-run accidents. When a drunk passenger causes him to hit a motorcyclist, Shi defies conventions and takes the victim to hospital. But as the victim falls into a coma, Shi becomes liable for his medical expenses. Berated by his wife, friends and lawyer for his good deed, Old Stone is a chilling look at a society with a moral crisis in which death is the preferred option.
GFT, Mon 20 Feb; Tue 21 Feb
Also on: Trespass Against Us, Patriots Day
WEDNESDAY 22 FEBRUARY
I Am Not Your Negro
James Baldwin was one of the most important African American writers and social critics of the 20th century and his final book, Remember This House was intended as a look at his own recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Director Raoul Peck has taken the unfinished manuscript and created a film that makes use of Baldwin's own writing (narrated by Samuel L Jackson) over archive footage, news clippings and vintage photographs to show life through Baldwin's eyes. The film allows us to hear his thoughts on the Civil Rights movement, the murders of JFK, Evers, Malcolm X and Dr King and personal anecdotes, all carefully put together to detail the contrast between the past and present and what being black in America really means today. Peck succeeds in balancing Jackson's narration with relevant imagery, adding to the power and weight of Baldwin's words.
GFT, Wed 22 Feb
Also on: The Levelling, The Demons
THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY
A Silent Voice (Koe No Katachi)
Japanese director Naoko Yamada's anime drama, which has been adapted from a popular manga, details the relationship between the deaf Shoko and her bully Shoya. Shoko is teased relentlessly by Shoya for her hearing impairment but the rest of their classmates eventually turn on Shoya for his cruelty. Years after they graduate, Shoya is racked with guilt and ready to atone for his sins, seeking Shoko out once more. The themes of bullying and disability, uncommon in Japanese anime, are dealt with exceptionally well, providing a sensitive and often gentle take on something otherwise heavy. As well as being beautifully animated, A Silent Voice gives audiences a story that is moving and unusual with characters that are fully formed and interesting.
GFT, Thu 23 Feb
Also on: Phantasm, The Thing
FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY
Shin Godzilla (Shin Gojira)
Originally introduced in the 1954 Ishirō Honda classic, Godzilla is the ultimate kaiju monster, having terrorised cities through a film franchise consisting of 29 movies. The latest Toho reboot, Shin Godzilla, brings the monster back to present-day Japan, where a seismic event has resulted in catastrophic effects. Of course, we know that the true culprit is the fire-breathing sea monster, but cabinet secretary Rando Yaguchi is the only character to suspect the truth. It's been 12-years since the last Japanese-produced Godzilla film so it seems about time for the king of monsters to be roused from his sleeping state to once again wreak havoc on the city of Tokyo. Expect carnage, destruction and the usual hysteria that comes with Godzilla but also a deeper political message about how governments deal with events like nuclear disasters.
GFT, Fri 24 Feb
Also on: Secretary, Bafta Scotland presents: Visual Effects with Steven Begg
SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY
Lipstick Under My Burkha
Audience Award nominee Lipstick Under My Burkha follows the story of four Indian women from the ages of 18 to 55 who attempt to seek their freedom from societal constraints by asserting their sexuality in a largely patriarchal system. The four characters all long for a life away from the domesticity; Shirin hides her success from her husband knowing he won't approve, Leela is in a sexual relationship in which she leads, all while being engaged to a well-to-do boy her parents chose for her, Rehana dreams of partying but her strict Muslim parents keep her sewing burkhas into the wee hours and finally the oldest character, Auntie Usha develops a crush on a hunky swimming instructor. Alankrita Shrivastava's dramedy was the winner of Tokyo's Spirit of Asia award, an understandable and well-deserved win. The cinematography is effective, and the characters are daring, feminist heroes who are placed in opposition to their surroundings.
GFT, Fri 24 Feb; Sat 25 Feb
Also on: Princess Bride, Jawbone
SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY
Mad to be Normal
The closing gala of the Glasgow Film Festival will see the world premiere of John Butler's R D Laing biopic, Mad to be Normal. A controversial figure, Laing made his mark in the '60s as the 'high priest of anti-psychiatry', writing about and experimenting with alternative mental health treatments. The film offers an account of Laing's 1965 Kingsley Hall experiment, which attempted to provide a community for schizophrenia patients free of medication. The experiment was met with much dispute from the medical community, who saw Laing's experimentations with LSD and self-healing as dangerous. David Tennant stars as Laing, giving a performance that underlines the psychiatrist's appeal while simultaneously highlighting his pretention, showing the reasoning behind the many mixed opinions of him and his work. Elizabeth Moss plays his lover Angie, with Michael Gambon and Gabriel Byrne also featuring in the cast. Mad to be Normal is an interesting and poignant look at a fascinating figure and an ideal way to end the festival.
GFT, Sun 26 Feb
Also on: The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, The Last Seduction