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Movie festival has something for everyone

IT was the year the new Scottish Parliament building opened, Franz Ferdinand were in the charts with Take Me Out, George W Bush was about to be re-elected US president, and some kid called Mark Zuckerberg was founding Facebook.

In 2004, film festivals meant Cannes and Sundance and Edinburgh, not Glesga. But then someone started building the Glasgow Film Festival, and how the crowds came.

Ten years old this year, the GFF is now one of the UK's must-visit events and a gathering where you are as likely to see Joss Whedon making a personal appearance as major spring releases, provocative documentaries, the best of global cinema, and spruced up classics.

Between February 20-March 2 there are close to 200 films and events to enjoy. Below are some of The Herald's picks to bear in mind when booking opens tomorrow.

Galas

This year's opening gala on February 20 is a real coup: The Grand Budapest Hotel. A comedy drama directed by Wes Anderson and starring Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Bill Murray, Grand Budapest is a celebration of old world eccentricity under siege.

The closing gala on March 2 is Under The Skin, Jonathan Glazer's acclaimed, and filmed in Scotland, adaptation of Michel Faber's weird and wonderful science fiction novel. If you have ever wanted to see what Scarlett Johansson would look like shopping in the Buchanan Galleries, now is your chance.

The Oscar-nominated 20 Feet From Stardom is a documentary about backing singers that includes Mick Jagger and Stevie Wonder among the contributors.

There is a chance to see The Book Thief, an adaptation of Marcus Zusak's moving novel, ahead of its UK-wide release. Cas & Dylan finds Richard Dreyfuss back on the road in the directorial debut of Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills, 90210).

The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade, a festival hit with Submarine in 2011, returns with Dostoevsky's The Double. The prison drama Starred Up has Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn on blistering form, with David Mackenzie directing.

Terry Gilliam fans have a chance to get a first peek at his latest, The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz as a worker drone of the future.

Cinechile

Following the success of No and Gloria, the festival celebrates the best of Chilean cinema with titles including The Quispe Girls, a drama set in the Pinochet era, and Violeta Went to Heaven, a biopic of the singer Violeta Para. Paulina Garcia, star of Gloria, appears in the drama Illiterate.

Olden goldies

The nine Best Picture Oscar nominees from 1939, the year the Cosmo cinema opened, including Goodbye, Mr Chips, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, Stagecoach, and The Wizard Of Oz, return to the big screen.

In a free but ticketed event, Andy Dougan, former Evening Times film critic turned film lecturer, presents a talk, 1939: Hooray For Hollywood.

Frightfest

From Almost Human and Afflicted to Wolf Creek 2 and Savaged, if it is horrifying - in a good way - new, and nicely bonkers, it is likely to be in this strand.

Best of British

Possibly Britain's answer to Inside Llewyn Davis, Benny & Jolene stars Craig Roberts (Submarine) and Charlotte Ritchie as nouveau folkies. Exhibition, about a couple in with the bricks of their fabulous designer home, is Joanne Hogg's latest study in screen elegance.

Actor of the moment Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) stars in the adaptation of Half Of A Yellow Sun. Tom Hardy puts on a one man show as a man driving from Birmingham to London with a lot on his mind in Locke, while Pierce Brosnan and Toni Collette star in A Long Way Down, adapted from Nick Hornby's novel.

Scots wha hae

Documenting John Grierson, a portrait of the Scots filmmaker, is a must-see for any aspiring documentary maker. To see what can be done for £1000 and a lot of determination, give Robert Florence's The House Of Him a try.

To mark a certain referendum happening around these parts, artist Rachel Mclean presents the symposium Tae Think Again: Rethinking Identity In Contemporary Scotland.

Eurovisions

If you liked Jonas Jonasson's novel, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window And Disappeared, the film version will be just the ticket to have. French box office smash The Gilded Cage opens its doors. A Prophet star Tahar Rahim plays a nuclear industry worker in Grand Central.

Sofie Grabol (The Killing) and Signe Egholm Olsen (Borgen) star in the asylum-set drama The Hour Of The Lynx. Fashion designer Agnes B makes her directorial debut in My Name Is Hmmm…, and talks about her life in film in A Masterclass With Agnes B. Still in the fashion sphere, Yves Saint Laurent gives the French designer a lavish biopic treatment. After Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind, the latest flight of fantasy from Michel Gondry is Mood Indigo.

Stranger than Fiction

Documentaries to inform, educate and, above all, entertain include biographical films Deception Practice: The Mysteries And Mentors Of Ricky Jay, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me; Gore Vidal: The United States Of Amnesia; and Looking For Light: Jane Bown.

From the director of the classic documentary Shoah, Claude Lanzmann, comes a new work, The Last Of The Unjust. The homeless citizens of Paris are in the limelight in On The Edge Of The World. Gael Garcia Bernal, actor and director, turns investigator to identify an unknown migrant in Who Is Dayani Cristal?

Global notes

The Iranian director Asghar Farhadi found international fame and an Oscar with A Separation. His latest, The Past, finds another family going through the divorce mill. Tetsuichiro Tsuta (Island Dreams) returns in epic style with the Japanese drama The Tale Of Iya.

For a dramatic look at modern China experience Jia Zhangke's A Touch Of Sin. Mia Wasikowska is an intrepid traveller journeying from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean in the true tale, Tracks. Hillary and Norgay's ascent of Everest is recalled in the 3D docu-drama Beyond The Edge.

The human cost of Mexico's drug wars is mercilessly laid bare in the Cannes-winning Heli, and another Cannes hit, the Singapore-set family drama Ilo Ilo, receives an airing.

Indie cool

Jeremy Saulnier is an American filmmaker being tipped for great things; see why with the revenge thriller Blue Ruin. Go For Sisters, directed by John Sayles, finds one time friends on opposite sides of the law. Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek's Cutoff) returns with environmental activism thriller Night Moves.

Events

Casting director Kahleen Crawford (Sunshine On Leith, Filth, Under the Skin) reveals some of the skills required in picking the right faces in Close Up On Casting. The Surprise Film is always worth a gamble. John Sessions is this year's "in conversation" guest.

Another event not to be missed is a screening of Young Frankenstein at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

Find out what lurks beneath Central Station, and catch a special screening to boot, in the Potholing Expedition Seeks Recruits event. The city gets ready for its close-up in Film/TV Locations: Scotland On Your Screen.

Booking

Opens January 24. Online: www.glasgowfilm.org/festival. In person: Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB. Over the phone: 0141 332 6535.

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