Handsome Devil

three stars

Dir: John Butler

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With: Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott

Runtime: 110 minutes

GLASGOW, the most audience-friendly of film festivals, had a fitting opening last night with the European premiere of John Butler’s toasty coming of age comedy drama. With a heavy heart, Ned (Fionn O’Shea) is starting a new term at his all-boys, rugger-mad boarding school in Ireland. Once again it looks like the red-haired, gawky kid with a love of indy pop will never fit in; but then a new pupil (Nicholas Galitzine) appears and inspirational English teacher Dan Sherry (Sherlock’s Andrew Scott) sees Ned’s talent with words and starts to encourage him to speak up for himself. Might school be not so terrible after all, or do bullies always win out in the end? There will be nothing in Handsome Devil you have not seen before in film, but Butler (The Stag) has a lovely, warm way with comedy, playing it with a lot of heart and intelligence. Here, besides Scott’s typically engaging performance, he is blessed with a young cast that give it their all in a style that calls to mind Gregory’s Girl no less. Bella, bella boys.

Lost in France

four stars

Dir: Niall McCann

With: Alex Kapranos, Stuart Braithwaite

Runtime: 105 minutes

HERE is a real daunder down memory lane for Weegies of a certain vintage. It is France, the late Nineties, and a coach load of young Scots bands including Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand, and The Delgados are about to play at a tiny music festival in Mauron. It was the time of their lives, as director Niall McCann finds out after he has the cute idea of getting many of the old gang back together and hiring another coach. As he tells that story, he also delivers a portrait of the cult label Chemikal Underground, the link between the bands. As we watch Alex Kapranos, Stuart Braithwaite and the rest of the travelling crew recall the era there are, admittedly, a lot of sentences which begin with “I remember”, which can prove rather tiresome after a time. And if you have never heard of any of the bands this will be a rather puzzling road trip. But it is a must see for fans, and anyone who cares about independent music. If you can’t get into the sold out gig next week in Glasgow, or the GFF film, Lost in France will be showing in selected cinemas from February 24.

02 ABC gig, February 21, SOLD OUT. Film showing at Glasgow Film Theatre, February 22, 15.30

Film festival tickets: Online (www. glasgowfilm.org/festival); in person at the Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow G3 6RB or the CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD; by phone, 0141 332 6535 during GFT opening hours.

IN Saturday Arts Nicola Meighan speaks with filmmaker Niall McCann and the musicians who were Lost in France