10 to see at Glasgow Film Festival 2024

As Glasgow gets ready for its annual feast of film, we highlight 10 hot tickets.

27 February 2024

By Josh Slater-Williams

Love Lies Bleeding (2024)

This year’s 2024 Glasgow Film Festival is the 20th edition, and no effort has been spared for the celebrations. Taking place from 28 February to 10 March, the festival will host an impressive 69 UK premieres, 11 world and international premieres, and 15 Scottish premieres at venues across the city – including Glasgow Film Theatre, which will be celebrating its own 50th anniversary later this year.

It all opens with the UK premiere of queer crime thriller Love Lies Bleeding, director Rose Glass’s hot-from-Sundance follow-up to Saint Maud (2019), starring Kristen Stewart, Katy O’Brian and Ed Harris. The closing gala will be the world premiere of Janey, an intimate documentary about Glaswegian comedian Janey Godley, filmed in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. And there’s another Scottish comic titan featuring elsewhere in the programme: the world premiere of the BFI’s 2K restoration of Billy Connolly: Big Banana Feet (1976). Made on 16mm film, this rarely seen documentary follows him on his 1975 stand-up tour of Ireland, and will be released as a BFI dual format edition (Blu-ray and DVD) on 20 May.

Here are 10 further festival highlights worth keeping on your radar, even if you’re not in town. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive selection and there are plenty of films still to discover in the festival’s full programme.

The Dead Don’t Hurt

Director: Viggo Mortensen 

The Dead Don't Hurt (2023)

Among the starriest events at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival is an in-conversation session with three-time Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen. Unsurprisingly, it sold out immediately. But you can still get tickets for at least one showing of his latest film as director. Starring Mortensen, Vicky Krieps, Danny Huston and British rising star Solly McLeod, this romantic western follows an immigrant couple moving to Nevada just as the American civil war looms large over any chance of a peaceful life.

The Vourdalak

Director: Adrien Beau

Vourdalak (2023)

Two simple words to sell you on this French film: vampire puppet. Starring Ariane Labed, Kacey Mottet Klein and Grégoire Colin, director Adrien Beau’s debut feature has earned considerable plaudits on the festival circuit. But it’s the design and execution of its bloodsucker that have been the most talked about elements of this fantasy-horror, a highlight of an especially strong edition of GFF for unusual genre offerings. See also: The Invisible Fight, an Orthodox Christian riff on a Shaw brothers martial-arts film, made in Estonia.


Director: Jason Yu

Sleep (2023)

In December 2023, the untimely death of South Korean star Lee Sun-kyun sent shockwaves throughout the film world. Best known internationally as the rich patriarch in Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite (2019), Lee had been one of his generation’s most acclaimed acting talents, working in Korean films both mainstream and arthouse. Ahead of a nationwide release from Curzon later in the year, GFF offers an early chance to see Lee in his final film to have premiered before his passing: director Jason Yu’s spooky thriller about sleepwalking and paranoia.

The Teacher

Director: Farah Nabulsi

The Teacher (2023)

British-Palestinian director Farah Nabulsi won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar for her short film The Present (2020). She returns to a West Bank setting for her powerful debut feature, a heartbreaking drama of resistance and injustice, made in an effort to highlight the issues faced by residents of modern Palestine.

Edge of Summer 

Director: Lucy Cohen

Edge of Summer (2024)

Following her BAFTA-nominated documentary Kingdom of Us (2017), director Lucy Cohen returns with her narrative debut, supported by the BFI Filmmaking Fund and receiving its world premiere at Glasgow. Set in Cornwall, this coming-of-age tale tracks the burgeoning friendship between two 11-year-olds, who explore a dark mystery after an encounter down an old mine. Two other BFI-backed titles screen at the festival: Muayad Alayan’s A House in Jerusalem and Luna Carmoon’s Hoard.

Bill Douglas — My Best Friend

Director: Jack Archer

Bill Douglas My Best Friend (2023)

Narrated by Martin Scorsese, David Hinton’s Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger is among the notable documentaries receiving their UK premiere at Glasgow this year. But that much-anticipated project should not overshadow another key filmmaker portrait in the programme. Bill Douglas ultimately didn’t direct many films during this short life, but he remains one of Scotland’s most vital cinematic artists – thanks to such works as My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973), My Way Home (1978) and Comrades (1986). In Jack Archer’s documentary, Douglas’s lifelong companion and collaborator Peter Jewell reflects on Douglas’s films and their friendship, which was born from unusual circumstances. Lenny Abrahamson and Lynne Ramsay are among the directors popping up to discuss Douglas’s influence on their own work.

Tummy Monster

Director: Ciaran Lyons

Tummy Monster (2023)

Closing gala title Janey has the most high-profile slot, but it’s far from the only Scottish film receiving its world premiere at this year’s GFF. This psychological thriller from Glasgow-based director Ciaran Lyons stars Lorn Macdonald (Beats, Bridgerton) as a tattoo artist getting in way over his head as he enters a mysterious, dangerous game after crossing paths with a volatile pop star and his minder.

María Candelaria

Director: Emilio Fernández

María Candelaria (1943)

Among the retrospective highlights at GFF this year is the strand Wild Flower, Flaming Star: The Films of Dolores del Río, curated by the film collective Invisible Women. The Mexican actor was one of the first Latin American stars to break into Hollywood, becoming an icon on both sides of the border – despite the exoticised and somewhat stereotyped roles that Hollywood often sent her way. This retrospective showcases some definitive del Río titles rarely screened in the UK, including melodrama María Candelaria (1944), the first Latin American film to win the top prize at Cannes.


Director: Adam O’Brien

Mom (2024)

FrightFest returns for its annual takeover of the Glasgow Film Theatre during the last few days of the festival, with 11 freaky features playing. One of the two world premieres on offer is Mom, from director Adam O’Brien and starring Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek). Taking the maternity horror subgenre to particularly dark and unexpected places, this chiller compellingly delves into the ways that motherhood can be a total nightmare.


Director: Ilango Ramanathan

Tentigo (2023)

Psychological thrillers. Civil war westerns. The FrightFest strand. Let’s end this roundup on a lighter note. Or as light as you can get when rigor mortis is involved. This irreverent Sri Lankan comedy from director Ilango Ram certainly has an eye-catching setup: when their father dies, two brothers make the mortifying discovery that a certain intimate part of the old man’s anatomy didn’t die when the rest of him did. Time is of the essence to lay the offending article to rest, lest the funeral fuel local gossip. Be sure to bring a stiff drink to the screening.