The agony and the ecstasy

GFF Diary days 2 & 3: Hammer Horror, Irvine Welsh, great Scots and classic cabaret.

by Jennie Kermode

The Glasgow Film Festival got into full swing on Friday with the gala premières of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Trishna, two films that take very different perspectives on the conflict between tradition and Western values in modern India. Almanya - Welcome To Germany launched the festival's German strand and there was a chance to see beautifully shot art documentaries The Mexican Suitcase and Gerhard Richter Painting. Fans of late night horror also got a treat to make them look forward to next weekend's Frightfest, with Hammer Horror classic The Reptile.

Two of the best psychological dramas at the festival, Babycall and Beauty, screened in the evening. Unfortunately they clashed, and clashed again the next day, so people making day trips to the festival were forced to choose. Babycall is the latest film to feature original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace and has some similarities with its plot, whilst Beauty tells the story of a South African man with traditional values who is troubled by his attraction to a younger man. Both contain scenes of genuinely shocking violence, not an easy thing to pull off in this day and age, but succeed because of the intense emotional atmosphere they create.

Also on that evening was the first of the festival's big fashion events. Alongside the documentaries Girl Model and A Man's Story, it celebrated the strong relationship the festival has had with fashion over recent years. Industry movers and shakers including Stirling-born Iona Crawford gathered to enjoy drinks and canapés and exchange ideas.

Meanwhile, a similarly glamorous event was getting underway at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), with a screening of Marlene Dietrich classic The Blue Angel followed by an evening of live cabaret. The event marked the launch of the Weimarvellous strand, a celebration of the glamour of the Weimar republic, and included a burlesque performance, singing and poetry readings. The night was rounded off with a round of cabaret-style karaoke in which one participant gave an impressive rendering of I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General.

Saturday opened with a chance to see heart-warming Australian tale Red Dog or Jafar Panahi's This Is Not A Film, made iresponsese to the Iranian government's ruling that he is forbidden to make films because of the perceived political message of his work. Other highlights included The Day I Was Not Born, which uses the remarkable story of a young German woman to explore the legacy of Argentina's disappeared, and Otto Preminger's classic noir Laura, in which a detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

The evening saw the première of long-awaited Trainspotting follow-up Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy, which played to an enthusiastic sell-out crowd. Director Rob Heydon, star Adam Sinclair and Welsh himself were in attendance and spoke to the audience afterwards, though the latter was very much the worse for wear after time spent in the bar. You can see our interview with Adam Sinclair here.

Meanwhile, other Scottish filmmakers were gathering for a Great Scots party. This was slightly under-attended and comic guru Mark Millar, curator of the Kapow!@GFF strand, had to leave early to attend a dinner party, meaning that those who remained had a lot of free drink to get through and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Nacho Vigalondo was warming up for the première of his alien invasion romcom Extraterrestrial just before midnight. Zam Salim, who talked exclusively to Eye For Film about his afterlife comedy Up There, was also among the revellers.

Eye For Film's Donald Munro had a quieter night, watching

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