Glasgow Film Festival 2016 – festival choices. What a difficult task.
17 – 28 February, 2016
After hours spent perusing the brochure, selecting in excess of forty possibilities, reading the reviews and checking my diary, I’ve got the list down to around twenty films. At least ten are ‘must sees’.
We’ve all got our own criteria – I tend to go for uplifting, heartwarming family/relationship type films rather than dark, depressing tales or heart-stopping, violent thrillers. Hilarity is another big pull and I’m equally enticed by well crafted drama.
Definite attractions are the strands:
Sadly I can’t go to them all but it’s going to be great. 🙂
Here’s my list
The Grief of Others
Patrick Wang’s sensitively handled adaptation of the Leah Hager Cohen novel.
GFT / Thu 18 (18.15) & Fri 19 Feb (15.30)
Voice of an Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho, ft. Bards of Caledon & Other Lands
The Glad Cafe
Sat 20 February, 7.30 p.m.
Glasgow Film Festival & The Glad Cafe present: Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho ft. Bards of Caledon & Other Lands with live performance by Bards of Caledon & Other Lands (Wounded Knee & Fudge Fingas)
A feature-length quest by documentary filmmaker Liam Barker, Voice of an Eagle delves deep into the life of the unsung master of American primitivism, outcast folk music and spiritual mysticism; Robbie Basho. An underground visionary, Basho influenced countless musicians such as John Fahey, Glenn Jones and Country Joe McDonald, decades before they themselves went on to become influential.
Artists Drew Wright (aka Wounded Knee) and Gavin Sutherland (aka Fudge Fingas) new project ‘Bards of Caledon & Other Lands’ is heavily inspired by the works of Basho, and the duo will compliment the screening with with spoken word and performance.
Director Liam Barker
UK 2015, 1h20m, N/C 15+
1006A Pollokshaws Rd, Glasgow G41 2HG
Set in Dublin during the 1980s, a joyous teen musical from the director of Once.
GFT / Sat 20 (18.15) & Sun 21 Feb (15.00)
running time: 1h48m
After the crowd-pleasing success of Once, writer/director John Carney finds more movie magic in his passion for music. Sing Street is set in Dublin during the 1980s, where 14 year-old Cosmo (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) faces a sea of troubles – unhappy home life, a ne’er-do-well older brother and a new school where the pupils are rough and the teachers are tougher. He does what any teenager would do – forms a band and aims to win the heart of the beautiful and mysterious Raphina (Lucy Boynton) by inviting her to star in his music videos. An electrifying coming of age story with a dream of a soundtrack.
Sound & Vision
Director John Carney
Cast Aiden Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Jack Reynor
Ireland 2015, 1h48m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Lionsgate
Louder Than Bombs
GFT / Sun 21 (17.35) & Mon 22 Feb (15.30)Running time: 1h49m.
How well can we really know those closest to us?
Two brothers and their father struggle to communicate while coping with new details about their mother and wife on the three year anniversary of her death.
The Violin Teacher
Glasgow Film Festival Window on the World
The Violin Teacher (N/C 12+)
22 and 23 February, 2016
Inspired by a true story, The Violin Teacher celebrates the healing power of music. Former child prodigy Laerte (Lázaro Ramos) has never fulfilled his early promise. After failing an important audition with a leading São Paulo symphony orchestra, he struggles to rebuild his confidence and pay the bills. He reluctantly accepts an offer to teach children in Heliopolis, one of the biggest slums in Latin America. Confronting a classroom of unruly, ill-disciplined teenagers could be the best thing that has ever happened to him. A real heart-warmer with arresting cinematography of São Paulo and a rich soundtrack that ranges from rap to Paganini.
A Month of Sundays
A tale of redemption told with dry wit and a light touch.
CCA / Tue 23 (18.00) & Wed 24 Feb (13.15)
A captivating Anthony La Paglia has one of his best film roles in this gentle, ambling account of one man’s mid-life crisis. Adelaide real estate agent Frank Mollard (La Paglia) is despondently drifting through his lonely existence. Newly divorced and struggling to maintain a connection with his teenage son, Frank is shocked to receive a phone call from a woman who sounds like his late mother. The call is actually a wrong number from retired librarian Sarah (Julia Blake), but it begins a beautiful friendship with profound consequences for both of them. A tale of redemption told with dry wit and a light touch.
Window on the World
Director Matthew Saville
Cast Anthony La Paglia, Julia Blake, John Clarke
Australia 2015, 1h49m, N/C 12+ Thanks to Visit Films
Running time: 1h49
Simon Stone’s lushly crafted reworking of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘The Wild Duck’
CCA / Wed 24 (18.15) & Thu 25 Feb (15.45)
Theatre director Simon Stone makes an acclaimed transition to the cinema with a lushly crafted, psychologically acute reworking of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck that captures pitch perfect performances from a powerhouse cast including Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto, Sam Neill and Paul Schneider. In a small Australian logging town, the closure of the mill spells disaster for the local economy. However, it seems unlikely to cause sleepless nights for arrogant mill owner Henry (Rush) as he prepares for his wedding and the return of his estranged son Christian (Schneider) to serve as best man. The ghosts of the past collide with the concerns of the present as they all head towards a day of reckoning.
Director Simon Stone
Cast Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto, Paul Schneider
Australia 2015, 1h36m, N/C 15+
Thanks to Metrodome
Weepah Way for Now
A touching and warm film with two outstanding lead performances.
CCA / Wed 24 (18.30) & Thu 25 Feb (13.30)
Running time: 1h29m
Stephen Ringer’s debut feature is a dreamy and hilarious journey following two sisters, Elle and Joy (played by real-life sisters Aly and AJ Michalka) through the sun-bleached hills of Laurel Canyon as they plan their latest music tour. Narrated by their third sister who died at birth (Saoirse Ronan), Ringer’s film discusses how important companionship is at times of total tragedy, and is propelled forward by the undeniable chemistry you can only find between two sisters. A touching and warm film with two outstanding lead performances and a script Noah Baumbach would be proud of.
Director Stephen Ringer
Cast Aly Michalka, AJ Michalka, Mimi Rogers
USA 2015, 1h29m, N/C 15+ Thanks to Violet House Production
Czech Republic’s warm-hearted Oscar candidate.
GFT / Wed 24 (21.00) & Thu 25 Feb (16.00)
Running time: 1h32m
Inspired by stories of his mother’s life, Slávek Horák’s debut feature marks him as a filmmaker with the humour and humanity of a Milo š Forman or Jirí Menzel. Vlasta (Alena Mihulová) is the life and soul of her community in Southern Moravia, a dedicated nurse and tireless domestic goddess who puts everyone else first. One rainy night, events change her life and suddenly Vlasta is the one in search of comfort and support. Will family, friends and patients rally for her? Czech Republic’s Oscar candidate is a warm-hearted, funny, life-affirming drama with an award-winning performance to cherish from Mihulová.
Director Slávek Horák
Cast Alena Mihulová, Boleslav Polívka, Tatiana Vilhelmová
Czech Republic/Slovakia 2015, 1h32m, Czech and Slovak with English subtitles, N/C 15+ Thanks to m-appeal world sales
A sensitively-handled coming-of-age tale.
CCA / Thu 25 (18.00) & Fri 26 Feb (13.00)
running time: 1h49m
Andrew Steggall’s assured first feature is a sensitively-handled coming-of-age tale set in the Languedoc region of France. English teenager Elliot (Alex Lawther, The Imitation Game) and his mother Beatrice (Juliet Stevenson) arrive to clear their summerhouse in preparation for its sale. An aspiring writer, Elliot is attracted to local lad Clément (Phénix Brossard) and initiates a friendship marked by a painful sense of longing and desire. As Elliot struggles to define his future, an embittered Beatrice cannot let go of the past. Their emotional journeys are at the heart of a confidently composed, beautifully photographed family drama.
Director Andrew Steggall
Cast Juliet Stevenson, Alex Lawther, Phénix Brossard
UK/France 2015, 1h49m, English and French with English subtitles, N/C 15+
Thanks to Peccadillo Pictures
A tense political drama with bittersweet echoes of Redford’s All the President’s Men.
GFT / Thu 25 Feb (18.15)
Running time: 2h5m
Cate Blanchett is on terrific form in this gripping account of the scandal that caused the downfall of veteran broadcaster Dan Rather (beautifully played by Robert Redford). 60 Minutes had an enviable reputation for the integrity of its journalism and became the last bastion of serious investigative journalism on American television. In 2004, producer Mary Mapes (played by Blanchett) fiercely pursued a story that George W Bush received preferential treatment to avoid the Vietnam draft. Bush supporters retaliated with accusations of political bias and the stage was set for a battle in which truth was the first casualty. A tense political drama with bittersweet echoes of Redford’s All the President’s Men.
Director James Vanderbilt
Cast Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid
USA/Australia 2015, 2h5m, 15 Thanks to Warner Brothers
A joyous, heartwarming story from Gaza.
CCA / Fri 26 (20.30) & Sat 27 Feb (13.15)
Running time: 1h40m
The Idol is that rare creature – a joyous, heartwarming story from Gaza. Oscar-nominated director Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now, Omar) was among the millions enthralled by the 2013 season of Arab Idol in which underdog wedding singer Mohammad Assaf from Gaza emerged triumphant. The Idol is a dramatised account of his life as ten year-old Mohammad (Qais Atallah) and his tomboy sister Nour (Hiba Atallah) share a passion for music that fills them with an impossible dream of forming their own band. Nour pushes her brother to fight against the misery, hardship and oppression of daily life in Gaza and share his talent with the world.
Sound & Vision
Director Hany Abu-Assad
Cast Qais Atallah, Hiba Atallah, Ahmad Qassim
UK/Palestine/Qatar/Netherlands/UAE 2015, 1h40m, Arabic with English subtitles, N/C 12+ Thanks to StudioCanal
The highs and inevitable lows of a life lived in continuous excess.
CCA / Fri 26 (21.00) & Sat 27 Feb (16.00)
Running time: 1h20m
Winner of the New Talent Grand PIX award at CPH PIX 2015, Thomas Daneskov’s first feature is an invigorating exploration of spoiled youth in contemporary Denmark. Following a young writer who invites his friends to his parents’ lakeside mansion for a seemingly endless party, the film documents the highs and inevitable lows of a life lived in continuous excess. Evoking the energy and vibrancy of Denmark’s ‘Dogme’ movement, the film has been heralded as an impeccable example of the local DIY filmmaking movement, and marks Daneskov as one of the country’s finest young directors.
Director Thomas Daneskov Cast Nikolaj Bæk, Ali Sivandi, Thomas Persson
Denmark 2015, 1h20m, Danish with English subtitles, N/C 18+
Thanks to Camp Nordisk Film
Finland’s Oscar contender and Golden Globe nominee The Fencer is a true story crowd-pleaser.
CCA / Fri 26 (15.45) & Sat 27 Feb (18.15)
Running time: 1h33m
Finland’s Oscar contender and Golden Globe nominee The Fencer transforms a true story into a heart-in-the-throat crowd-pleaser. There are echoes of Dead Poets Society and Brassed Off in a film that unfolds in early 1950s Estonia. Under Soviet occupation, the country is a place where everyone fears a knock on the door. Endel Nelis, a teacher, flees Leningrad for a quiet life in the Estonian backwater of Haapsalu, where his decision to start a fencing club ruffles official feathers but inspires the pupils. However, if Endel is to truly lead the pupils, he must risk revealing his mysterious past.
Director Klaus Härö
Cast Märt Avandi, Ursula Ratasepp, Hendrik Toompere Sr.
Finland 2015, 1h33m, Estonian and Russian with English subtitles, N/C 12+
Thanks to The Little Film Company/Matterhorn International
A frank and hilarious look at a hugely influential music exec.
GFT / Sat 27 (17.45) & Sun 28 Feb (13.15)
- The Haunted Concert Hall
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- ‘Everything Passes Everything Remains’ Chris Dolan, Book Launch
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- Remembering Alasdair Gray / Paradise
- Creative Conversations: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
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- The Zoom Session with Dave Arcari
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- Africa in Motion Film Festival 2020
- Canada Now – New Canadian Cinema at GFT