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  • Alistair Braidwood

Gordon’s Alive!: It’s The Glasgow Film Festival…

One of the best festivals of the year is Glasgow’s annual Film Festival and this year’s line up is a brammer and a belter. There is far too much stuff to recommend for me to deal with here so for the full line-up go to Glasgow Film Festival and spend hours trying to decide what you simply must see, and then what your back ups are. To help you in that search here are six of the best on offer.

As usual the festival is split into different strands, 19 to be exact, including Frightfest, Kapow@GFT, the Short Film Festival, the Youth Film Festival, the Music & Film Festival, and a Gene Kelly retrospective. They also cover Scottish, British, European and World cinema so there really is lots and lots to see, and do.

The first pick couldn’t be more up Scots Whay Hae’s street. It is Murray Grigor and legendary photographer, director and cinematographer David Peat’s documentary following Billy Connolly; Big Banana Feet. The footage is from his 1975 tour of Ireland and it is an incredibly intimate portrait of the comedian just before he went stratospheric. It’s on at 18.15 in the GFT on Sunday the 26th February. Here’s a short clip:

Staying with Scottish legends there is a showing of Bill Douglas’s student film Come Dancing followed by a discussion panel which includes Alex Norton, director Ian Seller and Peter Jewell. Those of you who know his work, which includes the Bill Douglas Trilogy and Comrades, will need no telling from me how exciting this is, but if you don’t I urge you to attend to discover why he is considered by many to be Scotland’s greatest film-maker. It’s on at the CCA on the 12th February at 3pm. Here’s a short clip from My Childhood, part of his autobiographical trilogy, as a tempter:

Next up is something a wee bit special. It’s Bernard Tavernier’s La Mort en Direct, otherwise known as Death Watch, and it is legend. It was filmed in the late 1970s in Glasgow and stars Harvey Keitel as Roddy, a reporter who agrees to have a camera implanted in his head so he can catch the final days of Katherine (played by Romy Schneider) who is dying from a terminal disease, a rarity in this dystopian future. There are echoes of 1984, but it clearly foresees the more recent obsession with a Big Brother society. All this and Max Von Sydow and Harry Dean Stanton to boot. The following clip shows clearly why they chose to set the film in Glasgow:

Death Watch is on at the GFT on Sunday the 26th Feb at 3pm.

They are showing a selection of films by ex-The Jesus and Mary Chain guitarist Douglas Hart at the CCA on Saturday the 11th of February at 9pm. As well as his football documentary about Brazil 1970, which has music by Primal Scream, they are including some of his music videos, of which there are plenty to choose from. He has worked with My Bloody Valentine, Paul Weller, The Pet Shop Boys, The Libertines, The Horrors and many more. He also did this for the aforementioned Screamers. This is Burning Wheel:

So far, so serious, but I do love a good screwball comedy, and I have high hopes for Sheree Folkson’s The Decoy Bride which stars two of Scotland’s most pleasing screen actors David Tennant and Kelly Macdonald. It seems to be doffing its cap to Powell and Pressburger’s legendary I Know Where I’m Going, set as it is on the tiny fictional Scottish island of Hegg. If they pull this off this could be the hit of the festival. Then again… Here’s the trailer:

The Decoy Bride is on at the Renfrew St Cineworld on Tuesday the 21st and Wednesday the 22nd of February, 8.30pm & 12.30pm respectively.

These are just a few suggestions. There’s also Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude, Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy, Richard Jobson’s latest The Somnambulists, a showing of The Maggie at The Tall Ship, a documentary about The Silver Apples, All Divided Selves which is a film about the controversial Glaswegian psychiatrist R.D Laing, and Flash Gordon for all you Queen/Brian Blessed/Peter Duncan fans. That really is just scratching the surface. I’m going to leave you with the great Gene Kelly, one of cinema’s true greats. You can also see Brigadoon, Hello Dolly, Anchors Aweigh and An American in Paris but on Saturday the 18th of February Singing in the Rain is on at 1.30pm in the GFT and I for one will see you there. To paraphrase a certain Mr Wallace, cinema doesn’t get much better than this:

Doo,dedoodo, dooda, doo, dedoo, doo, dedoode…


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