One of the UK’s best film festivals returns for its 16th edition today, bringing some of the best in UK and world cinema to the vibrant Scottish city. The festival will host more than 380 film screenings, screen talks and special events, including nine world premieres, 10 European premieres, 102 UK premieres and 39 Scottish premieres and for the first time in the festival’s history both the opening and closing night films are directed by women.
The festival opens with Alice Winocour’s Proxima, with Eva Green playing an astronaut who prepares for a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station. Eleven days later, the festival draws to a close with Coky Giedroyc’s adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s bestseller with Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) playing teenager Johanna Morrigan, who reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde: a fast-talking, lady sex-adventurer and moves to London, and gets a job as music critic in the hope of saving her poverty stricken family in Wolverhampton.
So far, very exciting, and there’s more. A lot more. The programme is split into separate strands, each filled with cinematic delights. Are We There Yet: A Retrospective of The Future features some of the most famous science fiction films of all-time, including Planet Of The Apes, Soylent Green and Children Of Men. Stranger Than Fiction features some of the most exciting new documentaries, while Iceland: Shining Northern Lights puts a spotlight on the country’s cinematic highlights, old and new, including Bjork’s acting debut in The Juniper Tree.
The Local Heroes strand includes some of the best new films from closer to home, including The Inbetweeners’ Simon Bird’s directorial debut, Days Of The Bagnold Summer, and Sarah Gavron’s drama Rocks, about a group of girls in East London that has been making a splash wherever it has played. The Pioneer strand promises to give you the chance to witness the birth of a new cinematic talent, while Cinemasters is about more established names, including the Palme d’Or winning Hirokazo Kore-ada’s first film outside of Japan, The Truth, starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.
Window On The World features the pick of world cinema, including Rosamund Pike as Marie Curie in Marjane Satrapi’s Radioactive and Kleber Mendonca Filho’s bizarre and gripping satire Bacurau, while Sound And Vision is all about the marriage of music and film. There’s an experimental strand called Crossing The Line, while Women Make Film entirely features Mark Cousin’s new 14-hour documentary charting cinema history only through the work of women filmmakers.
Finally, there’s two strands for cinema fans looking for something with a harder edge. Future Cult features the best genre films, including Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin, which stars Oscar-winning Jean Dujardin as a man who develops a dangerous obsession with his new designer jacket, and Frightfest is back for its 15th year at GFF, terrifying and delighting those with the stomach for the scariest films.
If that’s not enough, there’s events that take film out of the confines of the cinema, including a screening of The Breakfast Club at Strathclyde Union, and the best zombie film of the 21st century, Train To Busan at Argyle Street Arches – a venue that also plays host to Total Recall (the good one), Tank Girl and Wall-E. The festival also plays host to expert screen talks, including Paul Inglis, an Art Director who is at the very top of Art Direction, on films such as Blade Runner 2049 and Skyfall.
That’s just a fraction of what’s on offer but I’ve got myself into a sweat just thinking about all the cinematic delights in a wonderful city, so I’m heading outside for a walk and counting down the days until my train pulls into Glasgow Central station. With an exciting, curated programme, the Glasgow Film Festival once again celebrates the unifying power of cinema and as the quote on the front of the programme guide says ‘sharing laughter or tears is proof that we have so much more in common than any of the forces that try to tear us apart’. Head to one of the 380 film screenings over the next 12 days and prepare to be moved.
Click here for more information on the festival.