10 films to watch out for at Glasgow Film Festival 2022

New Claire Denis, new Terence Davies and a spotlight on the first woman to direct a film noir. This year’s Glasgow Film Festival offers plenty to get your teeth into.

17 February 2022

By Josh Slater-Williams

Happening (2021)

Back in early March 2020, Glasgow Film Festival was one of the final film festivals in the world to complete a full, entirely in-person edition as planned, prior to the Covid-19 outbreak being given official pandemic status. Two years later, having proceeded with a wholly virtual edition in 2021, due to lockdown measures, GFF finally returns to Glasgow Film Theatre and the city’s massive Cineworld on Renfrew Street for something resembling a return to normality. (Touch wood.)

GFF 2022 – taking place from 2 to 13 March – hasn’t entirely abandoned the virtual components of the 2021 festival. While the majority of films in the programme will only play in cinemas in Glasgow, a number of them will also be available to rent online during a limited window, accessible anywhere in the UK. And a few select films will also be screening in partnering cinemas around the wider UK.

Among the gala titles playing simultaneously in other cities will be the opening night film, The Outfit. Fresh from a world premiere at the Berlinale, the period Chicago-set thriller is the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Graham Moore (The Imitation Game). It stars Mark Rylance as a humble tailor caught up in a local gangster matter one fateful night; Zoey Deutch, Dylan O’Brien, Johnny Flynn, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Simon Russell Beale co-star. Closing the festival is Murina from director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, a tense drama set by the Adriatic Sea, which won the Caméra d’Or prize for best first feature at Cannes.

Excluding those bookending films, here are 10 further feature highlights on our radar at this year’s festival. As always, this is far from an exhaustive selection and there’s myriad films to discover in the festival’s full programme.

Fire (Both Sides of the Blade)

Fire (2022)

When there’s a new Claire Denis film, we pay attention. Coming to Glasgow directly from its world premiere at Berlin, the great French director’s latest drama reunites her with several previous collaborators – Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon, Grégoire Colin and Mati Diop – for a love triangle in which a former flame threatens to wreak havoc on current happiness. As of the time of writing, it’s unclear which of the film’s two titles will be used for its later UK release.

Where Is Anne Frank

Where Is Anne Frank (2021)

Eight years after the release of his fascinating live-action/animation hybrid The Congress (2013), director Ari Folman returns to the fully animated mode of his breakthrough Waltz with Bashir (2008). The film follows Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne Frank dedicated her diary. A lively teenager, Kitty wakes up in the near future in Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and ventures on a journey to find Anne, who she believes to still be alive. In the process of settling into contemporary Europe, she also learns about Anne’s legacy.


Happening (2021)

Screening as an International Women’s Day gala, Happening will also screen at partnering venues across the UK. The Golden Lion winner at the most recent Venice Film Festival, director Audrey Diwan’s film adapts Annie Ernaux’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, which explores the author’s own experience of pursuing an abortion in 1960s France where the procedure was still illegal.

My Old School

My Old School (2022)

GFF hosts the European premiere of this documentary hybrid exploring a real-life tale of some notoriety that happened in Scotland. The story follows 16-year-old Brandon Lee who enrols in 1993 to a Bearsden secondary school, where director Jono McLeod was a former pupil. Lee was a bright and popular student, but everything about his identity was not as it appeared, as would gradually come to light over the following two years. Alan Cumming is on hand to re-enact this fascinating tale of deception.

Once upon a Time in Uganda

Once upon a Time in Uganda (2021)

The African Stories strand at this year’s festival is centred on contemporary films celebrating the rich diversity of life in multiple countries across the continent. Documentary Once upon a Time in Uganda is among them. It focuses on the cinematic output of Isaac Nabwana, who creates energetic ultra-low-budget action films from his home in Wakaliga. As ‘Wakaliwood’ goes viral, he forms a friendship and collaboration with New York film programmer Alan Hofmanis.


Inu-Oh (2021)

One of modern anime’s most exciting and prolific directors is Masaaki Yuasa (Mind Game, Lu over the Wall, Devilman: Crybaby). His latest feature, Inu-Oh, presents a fictionalised version of the life of the titular character (whose name translates to ‘King Dog’), a performer of musical drama in 14th-century Japan.


Benediction (2021)

Terence Davies’ latest poet biopic – following his Emily Dickinson drama A Quiet Passion (2016) – centres on Siegfried Sassoon, the gay English writer whose anti-war poetry brought him acclaim, though not peace of mind. Anchored by a terrific Jack Lowden, this rhythmically peculiar drama – also starring Peter Capaldi as an older Sassoon – is by turns hysterical and overwhelmingly sad.

You Are Not My Mother

You Are Not My Mother (2021)

FrightFest returns for its annual takeover of the GFT during the last few days of the festival, and particularly on our radar from this year’s batch is You Are Not My Mother, writer-director Kate Dolan’s debut feature set in a north Dublin housing estate. Following a mysterious absence, a mother exhibits strange behaviours that her daughter initially welcomes with interest. But things start getting very scary indeed.

Death Is a Caress (1949)

Death is a Caress (1949)

Among the repertory highlights at GFF this year is a mini-retrospective of four works by pioneering Norwegian filmmaker Edith Carlmar. Sometimes described as ‘Norway’s Ida Lupino’, she formed a production company with her husband in 1949 and directed 10 features over the following decade, tackling a range of social taboo topics and challenging censorship restrictions. One of two of her films screening on 35mm, Death Is a Caress is widely considered the first film noir directed by a woman.


Hommage (2021)

South Korean film Hommage, by director Shin Su-won, is something of a love letter to female filmmakers of decades past. Veteran actor Lee Jeong-eun (who you may recognise as the housekeeper from 2019 film Parasite) plays a struggling filmmaker who is approached by an archivist seeking to restore a film made by one Korea’s first female directors. What begins as mere work-for-hire transforms into a passion project, the result shining a light on the many barriers faced by Korea’s women filmmakers, who to this day continue to fight to have their voices heard.

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