The 11th Glasgow Film Festival runs 18 February to 1 March 2015.
Now in its 11th year, the Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) returns this week with a host of premieres, special guests and unique pop-up events in venues across the city. Some of the most intriguing this year include a 70s roller-disco screening of Dazed and Confused (1993) and a mystery party presentation of Murder on the Orient Express (1974), part of a retrospective focus on the films of Ingrid Bergman.
Bookended by two buzz titles that arrive for the first time in the UK (more on those below), the GFF also introduces a new audience award, which festival-goers will vote for from a selection of films by first- or second-time filmmakers. Beyond those competition titles, here are 10 more films not to miss…
While We’re Young
Glasgow’s grand opener this year is Noah Baumbach’s first film since Frances Ha. Starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, it’s a bittersweet generation-gap comedy that went down very favourably in Toronto last year, with the Guardian in particular going gaga. But British audiences have had to wait until now for While We’re Young to hit these shores.
Wake in Fright
The GFF’s Strewth! strand comprises highlights old and new from Australian cinema, none more chilling than this rediscovered 1971 horror film about a big-city teacher’s harrowing experiences after accepting a new post in the outback. Not for the faint-hearted, Ted Kotcheff’s milestone shocker will receive an atmospheric screening at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s stunning Queen’s Cross church.
A retrospective sidebar dedicated to iconic Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman presents an opportunity to revisit classics such Casablanca (1942) and Notorious (1946). Less well known is this late-career collaboration with director Ingmar Bergman (no relation), an emotionally devastating chamber drama about a classical pianist’s fractious reunion with her neglected daughter.
Screenings, walking tours and an exhibition will pay tribute to Glasgow on screen. These include a 20th anniversary screening for Gillies Mackinnon’s autobiographical Small Faces, based on his memories of growing up in Glasgow in the 1960s. The director will join lead actor Iain Robertson for a Q&A after the film.
This Scottish premiere is a chance to catch one of the most electrifying films to come out of France last year. The latest from Céline Sciamma (Water Lillies, Tomboy) is a beautifully observed coming-of-age story about a group of black teenage girls growing up in the high-rise suburbs of Paris. The killer soundtrack includes Rihanna and Light Asylum.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Contemplating Existence
The new film from unclassifiable Swedish director Roy Andersson (You, the Living) won raves (and the Golden Lion) at Venice, but won’t be out in the UK till late April so this festival screening shouldn’t be passed up. Two travelling salesman are our guides through 39 inimitably eccentric tableaux in which Andersson lays the mysteries and absurdities of the human condition before our eyes.
Morgan Matthews’ big-screen adaptation of his own BBC documentary Beautiful Young Minds is the story of a young, autistic maths prodigy who is chosen to represent Britain at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Rafe Spall is on hand as the tutor, while Sally Hawkins is the boy’s loving mother. The BAFTA-winning director will attend this Scottish premiere.
Not out in the UK until July, Mia Hansen-Løve’s drama set against the rise and fall of French house music is a rare club-culture movie that really works. Loosely inspired by the DJing exploits of the director’s brother, Eden has a real feel both for the time and place (not to mention its records) but also a melancholic sense of the passing of the years that will eventually see the era fade. Daft Punk licensed some of their music for inclusion, and the pair feature as recurring characters.
Following her acclaimed documentary Dreams of a Life, Carol Morley returns to fiction with this evocative drama set in the late 1960s. Maisie Williams and Florence Pugh are best friends on the cusp of adolescence who are caught up in a wave of fainting fits and hysteria at their all-girls school. Shot by Agnès Godard, Morley’s film should appeal to anyone who enjoyed films like Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) or Heavenly Creatures (1994).
Bookending Glasgow at the close of play is Force majeure, a quite brilliant marital drama set at an Alpine ski resort. A Cannes jury prize-winner, Ruben Östlund’s film begins with an apparent avalanche, the after-tremors of which are traced in gripping detail as the relationship of a picture-perfect husband and wife slowly comes apart at the seams.