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GFF Diary days 1&2: Mid90s, Matt Bomer, Mark Millar and a date with Priscilla

by Jennie Kermode

Getting read to party at 29Glasgow
Getting read to party at 29Glasgow Photo: Pete Copeland

The 15th edition of the Glasgow Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night with a hotly anticipated screening of Jonah Hill’s teen skateboarding drama Mid90s. Although the weather was on the damp side, crowds lined up excitedly outside the GFT for a glimpse of the stars on the red carpet, who included crime writer Denise Mina, comics legends Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, and actress Rachel Jackson (getting a bit ahead of herself as her film, Beats, will be closing the festival).

Matt Bomer outside the GFT
Matt Bomer outside the GFT Photo: Eoin Carey

Once inside those with tickets to the gala screening tucked into their goodie bags (which included some unusually healthy snacks) and settled down to watch a film that was almost universally loved, though notably more so by those who grew up during the Nineties. Several audience members commented that the film was much more complex than they’d expected. The occasion was also marked by a special announcement – that the festival had just secured the Scottish première of new Jessie Buckley film Wild Rose, which will screen next Thursday. Afterwards there was a party at local venue 29Glasgow, with drinks courtesy of Staropramen, Rekorderlig and the Blue Moon Brew Company, plus, of course, a Nineties playlist.

The following day kicked off with a free screening of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? It was introduced by festival co-director Allan Hunter, who provided historical context that was welcomed by the audience, and it marked the first in the festival’s series of 1969: The End Of Innocence screenings – a look at a very good year in US cinema that had an enduring effect on what we expect from cinema. Also screening early was Maria By Callas, a documentary telling the story of the famous singer largely in her own words – director Tom Volf told us that he wanted to give viewers the chance to draw their own conclusions about her – and Kia And Cosmos, a loose Indian adaptation of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime which viewers were quick to take to their hearts.

Lumière winner and multiple award nominee The Sisters Brothers found an eager audience in the afternoon, some drawn by its impressive star cast (John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhall and Riz Ahmed) and others fans of the book from which it was adapted. There were also screenings of Cypriot psychological drama Pause, about a woman whose experience of menopause changes her perception of the world, and Russian drama The Man Who Surprised Everyone, about a man who receives a terminal diagnosis and tries to cheat death by reinventing himself as a woman.

Bingo madness
Bingo madness Photo: Ingrid Mur

Evening events were complicated by the sighting of a drone at Dublin Airport, delaying the arrival of The Hole In The Ground director Lee Cronin, who had thought he could get away wit setting off late after staying out late the previous night at a gig by David Duchovny’s band. Fortunately he made it just in time. There was also a lot of excitement around the arrival o the full cast and crew of The Vanishing and, especially, the presence of Matt Bomer and Alejandro Patiño, accompanied by director John Butler, to promote their film Papi Chulo. Elsewhere there were screenings of The Truk, the story of two friends who try to make a living selling Ketamine at festivals, and Louis Garrel romcom A Faithful Man.

The evening’s most spectacular event was held at the Grand Ole Opry – a special screening of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert accompanied by ‘bingo debauchery’, hosted by glamorous Bingo Babes and attended by a crowd who really dressed up to the nines and weren’t shy about singing along. It was an enthusiastic start to what looks set to be a fantastic festival – and we’ll be bringing you news and views throughout.

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