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GFF Diary days 3&4: Lynne Ramsay, Rebecca Daly, Nora Twomey, Karen Gillan and a visit to Nakatomi Plaza

by Jennie Kermode

The weather outside is frightful... it's time for Die Hard
The weather outside is frightful... it's time for Die Hard Photo: Ingrid Mur

Day three at the Glasgow Film Festival began with a screening of John Ford’s The Grapes Of Wrath which went down a treat with audiences, including people seeing it for the first time. All of the films in the Rebel Heroes series are free, so as long as you’re in the area and not too hungover from the previous night’s festival fun to scrape yourself out of bed, they’re a great place to start the day. Much of the morning and afternoon is dedicated to second screenings of films shown in the evenings, which many people use to work around clashes (you might be surprised by how many people take holidays from work for the festival), and on Friday there was also a chance to see a local film, Which Way Up, which focuses on the work of artist John McLean and his struggle to keep creating after developing Parkinson’s disease.

Lynne Ramsay discusses You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsay discusses You Were Never Really Here Photo: Eoin Carey

The early evening saw a screening of The Breadwinner, the animated story of an Afghan girl who dresses as a boy to support her family under Taliban rule. Produced by Angelina Jolie, it has already made a splash on the festival circuit and has been nominated for an Oscar. It received a big positive response from the audience, and director Nora Twomey was there to talk about it and take questions afterwards.

It was a busy day for guest appearances, with Rebecca Daly also on hand to discuss her film Good Favour and Lynne Ramsay popping in later in the evening to talk about You Were Never Really Here, which emerged as one of the most popular films of the festival so far. Also receiving positive responses were haunting Polish film Wild Roses and French comedy drama Stand Up, Girl, whilst nobody knew quite what to make of late night treat Anyab (or Fangs), an Egyptian take on The Rocky Horror Picture Show set to local synth, funk and disco tunes which swam the warm waters of copyright infringement and took its own unique approach to sins of the flesh. Those who attended all seemed sure that they’d had a great time, but many weren’t quite sure what had just happened to them.

Nora Twomey discusses The Breadwinner
Nora Twomey discusses The Breadwinner Photo: Max Crawford

Back in 2015, the festival had a big hit with a dress-up screening of Working Girl, all shoulderpads and big hair, and this year they brought it back to entertain a new audience. But by far the most popular event of the night – and the following night, when it was repeated – was the special screening of Die Hard at Glasgow’s College of Building and Printing, which had been transformed into a replica Nakatomi Plaza specially for the occasion, albeit one with wire mesh across the windows to prevent anyone adventurous from jumping out and trusting to a fire hose to save them. Themed cocktails were provided by Liquid Academy, there were Christmas trees, Bruce Willis chart hit Respect Yourself was on the stereo, and a great time was had by all.

Of course, for some determined festival fans, every day is starting out the same way. On Friday and Saturday both they could be found in the same venue, getting their photos taken with a small furry groundhog and watching Groundhog Day. Those who wanted something a little different had a great choice of family films, including Monster Family and Studio Ghibli animation Mary And The Witch’s Flower, with voice actress Ruby Barnhill attending to chat about the latter.

The Party's Just Beginning discussion
The Party's Just Beginning discussion Photo: Glasgow Film Festival

The early evening saw a screening of Margaret Salmon’s experimental film Mm, a meditation on language, masculinity and speedway racing featuring the Berwick Bandits. Festival sensation Let The Sunshine In, which we recently discussed with Juliette Binoche, made a big impression on audiences, as did Lisa Brühlmann’s blistering debut Blue My Mind and downbeat tale of human trafficking More. There was a lot of love for Karen Gillan’s directorial debut The Party’s Just Beginning, perhaps because free whisky was offered at the start, and Gillan, who is strikingly tall and looked very glamorous in a long silver dress, stuck around for a lively audience discussion along with star Rachel Jackson and producer Mali Elfman. Meanwhile, for the late night crowd, there was a rare chance to see cult favourite The Stuff – but those who’d seen it before might have thought twice about that free ice cream. You can’t get enough of the stuff.

There’s lots more festival still to come, so we’ll be bringing you further updates and, of course, a delicious helping of reviews. Have fun!

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