Screenings with style

GFF Diary days 5&6: power dressing, pipers, Persian food, David Lynch’s photographs and the Margaret Tait Award.

by Jennie Kermode

All set for Raving Iran
All set for Raving Iran Photo: Stuart Crawford

The queue outside the GFT was looking decidedly stylish on day five of the Glasgow Film Festival, and it emerged that some people have started dressing up for the Dangerous Dames strand, in this case inspired by Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice. It was an impressive effort for a Sunday morning, when many people who had been enjoying late night films on Saturday were only just crawling out of bed, but there were people there who had been to those films too. One of the striking things about this year’s festival is the number of ordinary punters who report that they have already seen ten or 20 or even 30 films, planning their days so they can take in as much as possible.

Rachel Lambert
Rachel Lambert Photo: Glasgow Film Fetsival

Sunday was a great day for small indie films. Director Rachel Lambert turned up to present In The Radiant City, her story of a family divided in unexpected ways after one of their number goes to prison, and Ashley McKenzie discussed her debut film Werewolf, which follows two methadone users trapped in a small town. Matters of life and death were explored in Heal The Living, teenage girls talked about their lives in All This Panic and Jo Lewis presented her documentary #sugarwater, about the Graeae Theatre Company’s moment in the limelight.

In the evening, the film everybody was talking about was Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. It has been the subject of a lot of controversy because of the unusual way in which the protagonist responds to being raped, and while some viewers strongly connected with it, others were not convinced. What they all admired, however, was Isabelle Huppert’s performance, which she recently discussed with us, and several people left saying that they were determined it should win her this year’s Best Actress Oscar. Meanwhile, in the screen next door, Original Bliss was dividing viewers in a similar way – for similar reasons, with one woman describing it as “just horrible. Sick,” while others admired it. Director Sven Taddicken and author AL Kennedy, who wrote the novella it was adapted from, were there to discuss it in what turned out to be a very interesting Q&A.

Wee pipers strut their stuff
Wee pipers strut their stuff

Elsewhere that evening, film fans enjoyed an presentation of David Lynch’s factory photographs with a scouring industrial soundtrack provided by HEXA. There was also a screening of classic time travel short La Jetée, with a new live soundtrack and live narration by David McKenchie. A different auditory option was available at the Pearce Institute, where some of Glasgow’s youngest traditional musicians performed live before screening of new documentary about their activities The Wee Govan Pipers. And as if that weren’t enough, there was also the option of heading to Barras Art and Design for Raving Iran, a film about musicians fighting censorship in their homeland, which was supported by a veritable banquet: moussaka, olives, dolmades and what our reporter described as “some mad salmon thing,” all prepared by some of the best Persian chefs in the city.

Fans were out early on Monday for screenings of Japanese classic Rashomon and Warren Beatty’s long-awaited Howard Hughes biopic, Rules Don’t Apply. There was another chance to see [film id=30641Headshot, which stars Iko Uwais from The Raid and made a similar impression on audiences, with people talking about its thrilling action scenes throughout the rest of the day.

Celebrating after the Margaret Tait Award ceremony
Celebrating after the Margaret Tait Award ceremony Photo: Ingrid Mur

Quite a few people took a break around midday to support a demonstration in support of refugees in nearby George Square – part of the One Day Without Us campaign to emphasise the important work done by immigrants. Later the annual Margaret Tait Award ceremony was held, with this year’s £10,000 commission being given to Glasgow’s Sarah Forrest, who described the experience as humbling. “The work that I have proposed will begin with a period of research on the Isle of Lewis, where I will be looking initially at the island’s rich history of prophetic ‘second sight’, drawing from stories that I heard from my mother who grew up there,” she said. “This work will build on recurring themes in my practice that look at appearance, perception, doubt and belief, with the commission being an exciting and significant opportunity for me to explore these in a longer form work.”

The other big event of the day was the festival quiz, which, with an increase in budget, was offering some impressive prizes and really put film fans’ brains to the test. There were also screenings of rambling road movie Folk Hero & Funny Guy, coruscating Romanian family drama Illegitimate and experimental holocaust drama Paradise, among others. If that sounds like hard going, there was also nostalgic detective comedy Mindhorn which, according to our sources, “really got its Bergerac on” and had the audience laughing out loud.

With that, we’re halfway through the festival – but there’s still plenty of excitement to come.

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