Falling Into Place, March 2 & March 3

What can you expect from this year’s Glasgow Film Festival? Lots of love, horror and hilarity, by the looks of it. Let’s start with the first of those. Falling Into Place is a thirtysomething indie love story soundtracked by more than a few Idlewild tunes.

Aylin Tezel’s directorial debut, receiving its UK premiere, might sound on paper like a Gen Z wish fulfilment fantasy – two arty types find each other – but while most romance movies have an obvious arc to them, this one also has some of the messy energy of real life to both power it and complicate the picture.

Tezel herself plays Kira, a German stage designer and artist who runs away to Skye where she meets Ian (Chris Fulton, from Bridgerton). This half of the film is all about small details and big landscapes as an initial attraction gets increasingly bogged down in the emotional mire of the pair’s back story. The second half switches the action to London and charts the everyday untidiness of their individual lives before drawing the threads tight again.

All in all, it’s rather affecting and both Fulton and Tezel continually draw the eye. In short, it’s a grown-up love story that at heart still wants to believe in romance.

The Herald:

Tummy Monster, March 2, March 3 & March 7

Bear with me. I know the title doesn’t do it any favours and the set-up might sound a bit bare bones, but think of Tummy Monster as Stephen Knight’s Locke but instead of Tom Hardy in a car talking concrete you have Lorn Macdonald in a tattoo parlour talking breakdown.

In fact Tummy Monster – getting its world premiere at GFF – is largely a two-hander with Orlando Norman offering a sly turn as a pop star who seeks a tattoo in the middle of the night and then decides to indulge in some psychodrama in return for a requested selfie.

Yes, yes, it all sounds a bit closed in. And 20 minutes in you might think, “This is all fine and well but how are they going to sustain it for another hour?” Well, the answer is director Ciaran Lyons does. And by the climax when everything pulls together (or rather, falls apart) you might find yourself shouting “No!” at the screen. In short, remarkably effective.

Bleeding Love, March 2 & March 3

Let’s face it, the main reason we’re all interested in Bleeding Love is to see Ewan McGregor playing opposite his daughter Clara. But if you come for the novelty you’ll stay for the emotional push and pull of this road movie. McGregor pere plays an errant father trying to make up for his past. McGregor fille looks like she might be going off the rails in the same way he once did. For 100 minutes they bicker and fall out and tentatively bond.

Clara is the film’s revelation. She’s all sharp features and sharp elbows in her portrayal of a damaged daughter. Her father, meanwhile, gives a quieter but still affecting performance. At 52, he’s as handsome as ever but beginning to show the marks of time. And when Jake Weary shows up, head shaved to the nap, you can’t help but flashback to McGregor’s buzzcut look as Renton in Trainspotting some 30 years ago. A reminder that cinema is always a form of time travel.

The Vourdalak March 3 & March 4

There’s maybe an echo or two of the dreamy erotic horror you’d find in a Jean Rollin film in Adrien Beau’s The Vourdalak. But it is its own thing; a strange, stylish Gothic vampire movie that is beautifully dressed (as you would expect of a director who has in the past been a designer for John Galliano and Agnes B) and effectively scary. Shot in 16mm, this adaptation of Aleksey Tolstoy’s 19th-century novella takes the risk of having its blood-craving title character played by a marionette. It pays off spectacularly here. Beau’s horror story is both beautiful and baleful. And its vampire is Max Schreck-level disturbing.

The Herald:

Love Lies Bleeding, February 29

This year’s Glasgow Film Festival opens with this amped-up noir thriller fresh from Sundance. Another bold post-Twilight choice from Kristen Stewart, this is the much anticipated follow-up to director Rose Glass’s impressive British seaside horror film Saint Maud. And look out for Ed Harris’s astonishing hairstyle.

The Home Game, March 6 & March 7

Oh, this is glorious. A scrappy little documentary about an amateur football team made up of middle-aged men and young kids in the west of Iceland who want to play in the Icelandic Cup that will pull you in and have you cheering them on by the end. It’s a joyous, funny slice-of-life film that has a built-in Hollywood ending of sorts. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Hollywood saw a bigger movie in it. But it’s perfect as it is. And if nothing else, it proves that there is nothing more beautiful than a football pitch in the middle of a lava field.

The Herald: Lea Sedouyx and George MacKay in The BeastLea Sedouyx and George MacKay in The Beast (Image: free)

The Beast, March 7 & March 8

Admittedly, Lea Sedouyx comes close. In The Beast she plays opposite George MacKay in Bertrand Bonello’s time-hopping drama which jumps back and forth between a flooded Belle Epoque Paris, a very David Lynchy contemporary Los Angeles and an AI-shaped 2044. It’s a leisurely (some would say long) movie full of dolls and pigeons and water and fear that works best if you allow yourself to sink into it. And even if it doesn’t all hang together, it has sequences that thrill the eye.

Bill Douglas – My Best Friend, March 8 & March 9

Jack Archer’s film about the director Bill Douglas is an overdue tribute to a great Scottish artist and an elegy for a man who was never given the chances his talent deserved. Douglas only made four films in his life but all qualify as masterpieces. His best friend Peter Jewell is our guide through the work and the life, while directors Lynne Ramsay and Lenny Abrahamson add their own insights.

Female Trouble, March 8

There’s no shortage of retrospective pleasures in this year’s programme, but this 1974 John Waters film is the one that stands out; a wild, sleazy, hilarious, gross-out comedy starring the one-and-only Divine. A special event at Barras Art and Design, there’s a drag show before the screening. Bring your best laugh, a broad mind and cha-cha heels.

The Herald:

La Chimera, March 1 & March 2

Alice Rohrwacher’s new film has been described as an “arthouse Indiana Jones,” which is frankly a bit of a stretch. But it does involve tomb-robbing and the odd chase. Filmed in Tuscany and set in the 1980s, it follows a gang of “tombaroli” who break into old graves and steal what they find. At the film’s heart is Josh O’Connor, speaking impeccable Italian and looking proper film-starry here in a grubby linen suit, who is grieving a lost love. It’s an antic movie that fizzes and stalls and circles and has no interest in straight lines. But if you give into it, it exerts a real pull.