Special Screenings to Mark Anniversary Year at Glasgow Film Theatre

May 2024

Scotland’s leading independent cinema will celebrate a bumper year of anniversaries with a programme of special screenings taking place throughout May. The programme will showcase films that have been hugely popular with audiences and have played a unique role in the history of Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) over the past five decades.

Glasgow’s original independent cinema first opened its doors as the Cosmo 85 years ago, on 18 May 1939, and became Glasgow Film Theatre as we know it today, 50 years ago, on 2 May 1974. This year also marks the 20th edition of Glasgow Film Festival, which took place earlier this month.

Highlights of the May anniversary programme include: 

  • A showcase of GFT’s celebrated foreign-language programming with hits such as Cinema Paradiso, Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources, The Lives of Others and City of God
  • Crowd-pleasing screening events with a Calamity Jane sing-along and The Room + Q&A with actor Greg Sestero
  • A display of GFT’s film projection expertise with a special screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey on ‘unrestored’ 70mm.
  • A Late Night screening of John Carpenter’s cult classic Escape from New York
  • A special edition of Scorsese of the Month including an In Conversation event with Scorsese on Scorsese editor Ian Christie

£50 For 50 Campaign

May will also see the launch of Glasgow Film’s ‘£50 for 50’ campaign, where supporters can take part in celebrating 50 years of GFT by donating £50. People making donations will become part of GFT’s cinematic history and help shape the next 50 years of independent film. In return, donors will be invited to a special screening and have their support recognised on screen. Full details coming soon.

The Anniversary Programme

jean de florette

Jean de Florette

The anniversary programme will begin with Roma – Federico Fellini’s ode to the Italian capital – which was the first film to screen at GFT on the day it opened in 1974. Since its inception, the cinema has been the destination to watch foreign language films in Glasgow, and the anniversary programme will give audiences a chance to revisit some of its greatest international hits. Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources are two of the most popular French films of all time and have been regular audience favourites at GFT since their initial release in 1986. The cinema will invite fans to appreciate them anew in crisp 4K at a special Double Bill screening.

A highlight of 20th Century European cinema, the Oscar and BAFTA award-winning Cinema Paradiso captures the spirit and communal power of film and has unsurprisingly been embraced by GFT audiences time and time again. It will make a welcome return for a special screening on the Monday 6 May Bank Holiday.

cinema paradiso

Cinema Paradiso

Wong Kar-Wai’s romantic, political and heartbreaking film In the Mood for Love will return for two 4K screenings, providing a prime example of the kind of world-class cinema that will always have a home – and a devoted audience – at GFT. Another such example is Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s Brazilian crime story City of God. One of the world’s 25 Best Films as rated on the IMDb To 250, it has recently been remastered for its 21st anniversary and will return to GFT for a special screening in May.

Other highlights of the celebratory programme showcase iconic elements of GFT’s programming, and no celebration would be complete without a screening of one of the cinema’s most beloved crowd pleasers: the always raucous Calamity Jane Sing-along. Another smash-hit, The Room, will return for a special 20th anniversary screening on Thursday 30 May, featuring a post-film Q&A and signing event with actor Greg Sestero, who plays Mark. Always a riotous, spoon-throwing event, GFT’s screenings of The Room are a cinema experience like no other.

mothers day calamity jane sing a lo

Calamity Jane

Late Night screenings have been a key element of GFT’s programme since the week it first opened, kicking off in 1974 with François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Newly relaunched as a regular monthly event, in recent years the programming for the Late Night slot has leaned into cult classics. One of the most enduringly popular, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, will return for a Late Night screening on Friday 3 May. Hitchcock will feature in the cinema’s anniversary year celebrations, with two special screenings of Rear Window on 4K to mark the film’s own 70th anniversary.

Escape For New York Film

GFT is one of the few Scottish cinemas still equipped to project 35mm and 70mm film, and projecting films on film is a central element of the cinema’s programming. As the perfect showcase for this expertise, audiences can enjoy Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Oscar-winning thriller The Lives of Others on 35mm to mark Europe Day on Thursday 9 May. Its powerful themes reflect GFT’s core belief that film is a vehicle for creating empathy.

Fans of GFT’s authentic cinema experience will also have the opportunity to see the ‘unrestored’ 70mm print of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was created by Christopher Nolan for the film’s 50th anniversary in 2018 with the goal of giving modern audiences the chance to experience the film as it would have been seen in 1968.

The cinema’s loyal audience has a healthy appetite for science fiction, and GFT will celebrate this passion with back-to-back screenings of Solaris and Blade Runner: The Final Cut on Sunday 26 May. One of the first director-focused seasons at GFT in May 1974 was devoted to Andrei Tarkovsky and his filmmaking continues to hold a special place in GFT audiences’ affections. The same can be said of Blade Runner, which has screened regularly at GFT, in the many versions of it that Ridley Scott has given the world.

A long-running director-focused season in GFT’s regular programming is Scorsese of the Month, which spotlights a different film by master director Martin Scorsese each month. To mark GFT’s anniversary year, a special edition for May will feature a Scorsese on Scorsese – In Conversation event with Ian Christie. As editor of the seminal book, Scorsese on Scorsese, Professor Ian Christie will discuss his many interviews and on-set experiences with Martin Scorsese and offer his insights on the director’s unique place in American cinema. The event will be followed by a 35mm screening of one of Scorsese’s lesser-known films, Kundun, introduced by Ian Christie.



As well as being the home of world cinema in Glasgow, GFT is also a champion and springboard for homegrown talent. Box office hits at GFT in recent years include an impressive number of Scottish films, amongst them Charlotte Wells’s Oscar-nominated Aftersun, which was an international success and points to an exciting way forward for Scottish cinema. Film fans who missed or are eager to revisit it following its roaringly successful release in 2022 will delight in a one-off chance to see it back on the big screen as part of GFT’s anniversary programme.

GFT is operated by Glasgow Film, an educational charity which also runs the award-winning Glasgow Film Festival and Glasgow Youth Film Festival, and is the lead organisation for Film Hub Scotland. GFT is the city’s original independent arthouse cinema and the home of film in Glasgow. Glasgow Film is funded by Creative Scotland, Screen Scotland and Glasgow City Council.

Paul Gallagher, GFT Programme Manager, said: “Looking back over 50 years of GFT programmes, it became really clear to me that we had to major on brilliant European and non-English language films for this anniversary season, as this is what GFT has uniquely excelled at showcasing and bringing to Glasgow audiences over the years. Along with this, we’ve hosted many crowd-pleasing communal moments, so it was essential to me that we revisit a few of those! My hope is that this celebratory programme goes some way to capturing the essence of what makes watching a film at GFT so special, and we invite everyone to come and be a part of the anniversary celebrations and help us ensure GFT continues for many years to come.”

Tickets for the anniversary programme of films go on sale at 12pm (noon) on Wednesday 3 April from glasgowfilm.org and the GFT Box Office 0141 332 6535







Billy Connolly's Big Banana Feet at GFT
Bad Education at GFT

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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