A city of cinema

GFF diary days 1&2: exhibitions, Monsters, art, Cliff Curtis and British Sea Power.

by Jennie Kermode

Glasgow Film Festival opening party
Glasgow Film Festival opening party Photo: Ingrid Mur

Technically speaking, it began way back on Wednesday the 4th, when Shaun The Sheep The Movie got a special Glasgow première. There were also two exhibitions, which continue to run. Jeely Jars and Seeing Stars: Glasgow’s Love Affair With The Movies, based in the magnificent copper-domed Mitchell Library, explores the story of a city that once had over 100 cinemas and also has a proud film-making history, whilst The Rise And Fall Of Ingrid Bergman. And Rise. looks at the complicated career of the Swedish star who features in this year’s retrospective. But the official opening of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival was last Wednesday night, when Noah Baumbach’s latest film While We’re Young was shown to a packed house. Stars at the red carpet event included Cliff Curtis, who is currently receiving commendations for his role as troubled chess champion Gen Potini in The Dark Horse, and who charmed the crowd before the action moved up the hill to the Art School for a late night party.

The Catch Me Daddy team
The Catch Me Daddy team Photo: Ingrid Mur

Glasgow’s Art School made headlines last year when an electrical fire wrecked its celebrated Charles Rennie Mackintosh library, leading to a high profile campaign spearheaded by Brad Pitt to raise funds for its restoration. Although work is still underway and will take a long time to complete, the discovery that some rare books had survived only partly burnt among the ashes, and the development of technology that could help us read them without doing further damage, mean the school had plenty to celebrate. Generous supplies of Makar Glasgow Gin and Rekorderlig cider from the festival’s sponsors also helped to get the party spirit going, Babu Bombay Street Kitchen provided snacks and there was live music by Tut Tut Vu Vu, followed by DJ sets by No Globe, Night of the Jaguar and David Barbarossa.

The next morning things kicked off at 10:30am – very early for the revellers – with a screening of early Ingrid Bergman weepie a Woman’s Face. Finnish comedy The Grump and witty New York drama Appropriate Behaviour were highlights of the afternoon whilst the evening saw thrillers Catch Me Daddy and Black Coal, Thin Ice play alongside Japan’s sly take on the financial crisis, Pale Moon. There was also the première of Monsters: Dark Continent, the long-awaited sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2010 indie hit Monsters.

eagleowl play A Night At The Regal
eagleowl play A Night At The Regal Photo: Jassy Earl

In between the films, local historians and architects presented a discussion on Glasgow’s cinema-going history, tied in with the Jeely Jars exhibition, and the images accompanying the talk helped audience members identify some of the well known buildings in the city with a secret celluloid past. This served as something of a supporting feature to evening event A Night At The Regal, which revived the old role of the O2 ABC music venue on Sauchiehall street, once one of the city’s best-loved cinemas (this writer remembers seeing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me for the first time in there, in its smallest screen, with red velvet seats and blue walls – a very Lynchian setting). Lost Map Records worked with the festival team to connect the building’s past and present, with Monoganon and eagleowl presenting music and video creations whilst Joe McAllinden worked with 20,000 Days On Earth directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard on a live screening and performance piece, and British Sea Power performed their score for From The Sea To The Land Beyond.

With another ten days to go, Glasgow is just warming up. There’s a lot to look forward to.

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