The Glasgow Film Festival returns to celebrate its 20th anniversary from February 28 to March 10.

But with 95 premieres and a myriad of screenings celebrating and exploring every nook and cranny of the film world, it can be hard to make sense of the amount of choice.

Read on for a closer look into the expansive line-up, where we pick some of our highlights.


The Herald:
Opening the proceedings is director Rose Glass’s new romantic crime spree thriller Love Lies Bleeding, following her well-acclaimed devout horror debut Saint Maud. Love Lies Bleeding stars A-lister Kristen Stewart and makes its UK premiere as part of the opening gala. Glass is a rising British filmmaker with mounds of potential, so this A24-Film4 co-production is bound to be fascinating.

Hollywood star Viggo Mortensen directs and stars in epic western The Dead Don’t Hurt, which makes its UK premiere. Mortensen will also be in attendance at the festival on March 3 as part of a special in-conversation event.

Making its world premiere as part of the closing gala is the documentary Janey, which follows comedian Janey Godley performing her final live tour as she tackles her terminal cancer diagnosis.

Other homegrown talent being showcased include the world premiere of Tummy Monster, by Glasgow director Ciaran Lyons. Glasgow-born The Last King of Scotland director Kevin Macdonald shows his documentary High and Low: John Galliano for the first time in his home country.

Read more:

Margaret Tait and a reckoning with Scottish film culture

And definitely don’t miss the UK premiere of Bill Douglas: My Best Friend, a documentary chronicling the friendship of director Bill Douglas and his lifelong muse Peter Jewell. Douglas is an unsung hero of Scottish film, directing potent dramas in the 1970s about his childhood in the mining village of Newcraighall. The documentary will be sure to intriguingly reveal more about the processes and inspirations behind this underrated auteur.

Czech, Please!

The Herald:
Every year the festival puts the focus on a different country’s cinema, with this year’s spotlight on film from the Czech Republic.

It would be foolish to miss the screening of Věra Chytilová’s Daisies, a surreal arthouse farce that has gained cult status as a cornerstone of the Czechoslovak New Wave movement. The film saw great resistance when released, owing to its mockery of bourgeois values and its inversion of the roles of women in a patriarchal society.

Is There Any Place for Me, Please?, a documentary from debut filmmaker Jarmila Štuková makes its UK premiere, intimately following the tribulations of a woman attacked with acid and left to struggle with the consequences.

The dystopian Restore Point and serial killer couple film Mr and Mrs Stodola make premieres, while period drama We Have Never Been Modern dives into the topics of gender and identity, and the dynamics of women in male-dominated spaces.

Also making a showing is Czechia’s official submission for Best International Film to the 2024 Academy Awards, Brothers directed by Tomáš Mašín. This historical drama follows the sons of underground Nazi resistance officer Josef Mašín, who find themselves a decade later in armed resistance against Czechoslovakia’s authoritarian regime.


The Herald:
One of the great things about film festivals is that not only does it allow dipping your toes into the fresh and new, but it also gives an opportunity to look back at film history, explore and re-evaluate the past, uplift the unsung and give classics another life on the big screen.

As the festival celebrates 20 years, in addition to anniversaries for Scotland’s first arthouse cinema that opened in 1939 and the Glasgow Film Theatre itself, the retrospective this year looks back at a film for each decade Glasgow has had an arthouse theatre.

These morning screenings are free and a great, cheap way to jump into classic and cult cinema during the festival period. We begin in 1939 with Frank Capra’s James Stewart political vehicle Mr Smith Goes to Washington ending in 2005 with body horror legend David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. Cronenberg’s mobster turn stars Viggo Mortensen, who seems to be quite the presence in this year’s schedule.

Also showing is a fun yin and yang of camp, with The Wizard of Oz making a return alongside the schlocky John Waters classic Female Trouble.

For a more cerebral tilt to the proceedings, there’s Gestures of Memory: After the Archive, a series of screenings interrogating film archival practice. It will include The Cemetery of Cinema, a documentary that attempts to understand and seek the backstory and original archival materials of Mouramani, considered the first film made in Guinea and the French-speaking parts of Africa.

A selection of screenings entitled What Will The Men Wear? explore the feminine screen rebels of the 1930s. Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn challenged gender norms through their screen presence and daring style, showcased through the films Morocco (the Josef von Sternberg pre-code masterpiece), Queen Christina, and The Philadelphia Story (courtesy of Old Hollywood heavyweight director George Cukor).

Glasgow Film Festival runs from February 28 to March 10. Tickets and full screening schedules can be found on the festival's website.