Highlights include Ali Asgari's feature debut Disapperance and Pat Mills' empowering comedy Don't Talk to Irene
The Glasgow Film Festival is an unmissable event on the UK film calendar, annually bringing some of the best in filmmaking and international talent to the city for screenings, workshops, talks and more. This year's programme once again promises a big mix of cult gems, new releases and critically acclaimed films, along with the festival's ever-popular special events and themed strands.
Of the various strands on offer, one that's definitely worth exploring this year is Window on the World, which offers audiences the opportunity to catch films from across the globe that are making a significant impression for their focus on differing perspectives and viewpoints. We've rounded up some of the films from the strand that we're most looking forward to seeing to give you a small taste of what to expect.
Award-winning director Ali Asgari's feature debut is set in Tehran, where teenage architecture student Sara arrives at a hospital claiming to have been raped. But when her boyfriend, Hamed, posing as her brother, shows up, suspicions arise among the hospital staff, who begin to doubt the validity of Sara's story. As the couple rushes from hospital to hospital, the lies pile up and their relationship is put to the test as the truth gradually reveals itself. Asgari's film places a simple youthful mistake against the backdrop of a society that is unwavering in its pressures and strict cultural practices, creating a tension that is unshakable.
CCA, Thu 22 & Fri 23 Feb.
The World to Hear: Queens of Syria
First staged in Amman in 2013, Queens of Syria is an adaptation of Euripides's The Trojan Women featuring 13 Syrian refugee women giving their own personal testimonies which are woven together with Euripides's story. Backed by Young Vic Theatre, the women toured the UK in summer 2016 and were also the subject of a documentary, which gives a moving insight into exile and loss. Audiences at Glasgow Film Festival will get to see behind-the-scenes footage and will also hear why the play is such an effective representation of Syrian life today. This will be followed by a screening of Queens of Syria and a post-film discussion.
CCA, Fri 23 Feb.
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts
Mouly Surya's new revenge drama takes on the spaghetti western genre, adding a distinctive feminist touch coupled with Indonesian cultural elements that make it cinematically stunning as well as bold and subversive. Young widow Marlina lives alone when she's raided by robbers who plan to steal her livestock, seize her possessions and rape her. But being the strong and independent woman that she is, things don't go exactly as planned for the robbers, with Marlina making fine use of some laced chicken soup and a machete. Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts is a terrific take on a male-centred genre, with a protagonist that is both daring and tenacious.
CCA, Sat 24 & Sun 25 Feb.
Don't Talk to Irene
15-year-old Irene is dubbed 'the fattest girl in high school' but dreams of becoming a cheerleader, despite being told by her mother and peers that it could never happen. Turning to Geena Davis, who provides encouragement from a poster on her bedroom wall, she musters up the courage to face her critics and follow her dreams. So when she gets suspended from high school and is forced to do some community service at a retirement home, she takes advantage of the opportunity and forms a dance team with her newfound elderly friends. Director Pat Mills' comedy is empowering and heartwarming in equal measure, as we root for unlikely hero Irene throughout.
CCA, Sat 24 Feb; Glasgow Film Theatre, Tue 27 Feb.
A Fantastic Woman
Chilean director Sebastián Lelio's 2017 drama explores the complexities of identity and love when prejudice rears its ugly head. The film follows Marina (Daniela Vega), a young transgender singer who is in a relationship with an older man. When Orlando dies suddenly, suspicion turns to Marina, who is accused of being involved with his death and in turn, treated with contempt for the relationship itself. Not only does she face discrimination from the hospital staff, Orlando's ex-wife and his son refuse to accept her due to her transgender identity and a detective is ultimately hired to investigate. A Fantastic Woman is a heartbreaking story that treats the subject of identity with great care and sensitivity, with Vega dominating as the fierce and defiant Marina.
Glasgow Film Theatre, Sun 25 & Mon 26 Feb.