IT’S the end of February. It’s cold out. Surely the best thing to do as we wait for spring is to snuggle up in the dark and watch a movie or 10. The Glasgow Film Festival might be able to help you with that. Kicking off on Wednesday with Alice Winocour’s space saga Proxima (GFT, 7pm) starring Eva Green, it runs until March 8 and closing film How to Build a Girl, based on Caitlin Moran’s semi-autobiographical novel. In between, it offers its usual mixture of new British and international cinema, documentaries, retrospectives, late-night movies and fresh new voices. In all, you can look forward to nine world premieres, 10 European premieres, 102 UK premieres and 39 Scottish premieres. Plenty of opportunities in short to have a properly immersive cinematic experience. The trick is to just dive in and taste some fresh new flavours. Here are a few suggestions to coax you into the water in the first place.


Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles’s impassioned, violent genre mash-up takes psychotropic drugs, political paranoia, and sci-fi drones and throws them all together into a Brazilian riff on the Spaghetti Western. The cast includes Sonia Braga (who worked with Mendonca Filho on his last film Aquarius), Barbara Colen and that cultiest of cult actors Udo Keir. It sounds like a wild, angry ride. We don’t think right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will be much of a fan, to be honest.

Bacurau is on at the GFT on Tuesday, March 3 at 8.15pm and Thursday, March 5, at 3.15pm.

Days of the Bagnold Summer

The crossover between graphic novels and movies is a bit of a buried theme at this year’s GFF. Cartoonist Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) returns to the director’s chair with Radioactive, starring Rosamund Pike as Marie Curie in an adaptation of Lauren MacArthur’s graphic novel about the life of the pioneering scientist, while Italian artist and illustrator Igort has adapted his own graphic novel 5 is the Perfect Number into an all-guns blazing neonoir thriller.

But the one we’re most looking forward to is the big-screen adaptation of Joff Winterhart’s quietly gorgeous Days of the Bagnold Summer. Starring Earl Cave (Nick’s son) as a thrash metal fan and Monica Dolan as his mum, director Simon Bird (best known playing Will McKenzie in The Inbetweeners) will hopefully channel Winterhart’s glorious “if Alan Bennett drew comics” vibe. A soundtrack from none other than Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch might help in that regard.

Days of the Bagnold Summer is on at the GFT on Wednesday, March 4 at 6pm and Thursday, March 5 at 3.45pm


Monica Dolan also turns up in Glaswegian director Peter Mackie Burns’s Dublin-set follow up to his small-but-perfectly-formed debut movie Daphne. With a script from playwright Mark O’Halloran, it’s a story about grief and about feeling lost and about desire, and by all accounts it has a knock-out performance by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor at its heart. If you’re in the mood for quiet desperation this might be the one for you.

Rialto is at the GFT on Thursday at 8.30pm and Friday at 3.45pm.


And if you’re in the mood for downbeat social realism done well, Scott Graham’s follow-up to his 2015 film Iona is an Aberdonian take on the old Bruce Springsteen number Racing in the Street. Watching it, you can smell the petrol and despair. It’s a film about substituting speed for escape and has Yorkshire’s Mark Stanley (White House Farm, Game of Thrones) rocking a more-than-acceptable Aberdonian accent. He’s a bit too old to be a boy racer but he still gives it a proper go. Marli Siu and Amy Manson provide sterling support.

Run is on at the GFT on Sunday, March 1 at 8.45pm and Monday, March 2 at 3.30pm


We may be leaving Europe, but thankfully European cinema has yet to leave the GFF. This year’s festival has a focus on Icelandic cinema and there are also films from Ireland (including Calm with Horses, GFT, Saturday, March 7), France (Deerskin, Cineworld, Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7) and Poland (Supernova, CCA, Thursday and Friday). But we’ve been hearing particularly good things about Lithuanian director Jurgis Matulevicius’s debut feature Isaac which takes us from the horrific murder of Jewish citizens in Kaunas in 1941 to the Soviet paranoia of the 1960s and ties the two eras together. The result is a noirish take on William Faulkner’s dictum that “the past is never dead. It's not even past.”

Isaac screens at Cineworld on Friday at 6.15pm and next Saturday at 1.15pm.

The True History of the Kelly Gang

Fresh from his success in 1917, George MacKay is all muscle and menace, even when he’s wearing a woman’s dress, in Justin Kurzel's hypermasculine new take on the Ned Kelly story. Based on Peter Carey's novel The True History of Ned Kelly, Kurzel’s follow up to his brutal version of Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, at times suffers from a narrative that lurches forward rather than glides and, for all the potency of the image-making, feels at times too tied to Carey's words. That said, MacKay has real presence, Russell Crowe brings humour and horror to the first act (the film misses him when he goes) and Nicholas Hoult relishes a chance to play at being a proper villain. But what you take away most is the Australian landscape; blasted, burnt and drier than bone here. A suitably mythic backdrop for a man who was to become legend.

The True History of the Kelly Gang is on at the GFT on Thursday at 8.15pm and Friday at 1pm

Dirt Music

Staying in Australia, this adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel has prestigious names both in front of the camera (Garrett Hedlund and our very own Kelly Macdonald lead the cast) and behind. The director Gregor Jordan helmed Buffalo Soldiers and the Heath Ledger version of Ned Kelly’s story back at the start of the century, while writer Jack Thorne, best known for writing National Treasure and This is England, is one of British television’s prime movers. Early reviews have been a little unconvinced with the resulting movie, but we’ve yet to see Macdonald give a bad performance.

Dirt Music is on at the GFT next Saturday at 3.15pm.

The Truth

The question is whether Hirokazu Kore-eda, director of such gems as I Wish and the magnificent Shoplifters, can translate his deeply humanist brand of Japanese cinema to a European context. The Truth sees him travel to France and team up with a dream cast, which includes Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke. Deneuve plays a movie star who has just published her memoirs in which she depicts herself as a doting mother. Her estranged daughter, played by Binoche, has a rather different take on their shared past.

The Truth is on at the GFT on Tuesday, March 3 at 6.15pm and Wednesday, March 4 at 3.45pm

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema

In some ways this could be read as a complement and possibly even in part a corrective to Mark Cousin’s previous magnum opus, The Story of Film. This five-part documentary (coming in somewhere in the region of 14 hours, so don’t drink too much cola) is an attempt to reframe the history of cinema as herstory. It tracks movies from the silent era to the 21st century through the work of female filmmakers. Jane Fonda, Thandie Newton and Kerry Fox are among the contributors and executive producer Tilda Swinton narrates a story that takes in the work of everyone from Dorothy Arzner to Agnes Varda, via Jane Campion, Lynne Ramsay, Chantal Akerman and Aparna Sen while exploring topics as varied as sex, religion, politics, melodrama, love and death. That’s a fair bit to be getting on with.

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema shows at Cineworld, Glasgow at various times, from Friday, March 6 to Sunday, March 8

The Translators

A French locked room whodunnit, you say? Count us in. Olga Kurylenko, Alex Lawther and Sidse Babett Knudsen (be still our beating Herald Magazine heart) are just three of the film’s international cast. All three play translators – there are nine in total – who are brought together to translate the latest volume of an international bestseller. To ensure complete security all nine are sent to a remote location with no contact with the outside world. At which point the publisher receives a blackmail demand with the threat that the book is going to be released online. And that’s when things properly kick off. Director Regis Roinsard, best known for his romantic comedy Populaire here aims to nail the crowd-pleasing thriller genre.

The Translators screens at Cineworld on Friday at 6pm and Saturday at 3.15pm.

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