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  • Alistair Braidwood

How could I forget…

The Glasgow Film Festival. Yet more decisions to be made, and more money to be found down the back of the sofa. The festival has various ‘themes’, including modern Japanese cinema, fashion on film, restored classics, British Independent cinema and a Cary Grant selection. It also contains many smaller festivals including the Youth Film Festival, Short Film Festival, Music & Film Festival and Frightfest (which has the greatest film title on show, the Icelandic horror Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre.)

All the details can be found at

The festival opens with Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s latest film MicMacs. If Jeunet’s previous work is anything to go by (Delicatessen, Amelie, A Very Long Engagement) this should be a bit special. Here’s the trailer to whet the appetite:

Another magical film maker whose latest work will be shown is Hayao Miyazaki, whose film Ponyo has been eagerly awaited. Miyazaki is a modern master, whose previous films include Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and, my favourite, My Friend Totoro. If you think these films are only for kids then you are missing some of the most beautiful cinema around today. I take Studio Ghibli over Pixar all day long.

There’s really too much to talk about here. I always think that the film festival is the one where it is worth taking a chance by going to see films, and shorts, which you know nothing about. Maybe this is just me, but I believe that even bad cinema is worth viewing. There’s always something to take from seeing someones vision on screen, perhaps because there are so many obstacles to getting it there. Usually you find at least one gem that you fall in love with.

There are two films I would urge you not to miss. The first would be Gregory’s Girl (of course) which is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary, and will be re-uniting some of the cast to help celebrate. You may have watched it many times, but you should see it on the big screen if you haven’t done so.

The other film would be North by North West, which is probably the perfect Hitchcock thriller. I love Cary Grant, without whom George Clooney would have a very different career, and this is one of his best performances. But this is not simply a Cary Grant film, which some of the films he made were. He’s a great screen actor, but did sometimes phone in his performance when allowed. He could never do that in North by North West. Hitchcock directs, Grant stars, James Mason and Eve Maire Saint co-star. That is just about as good as cinema every gets. Below is the trailer:

There are lots of events on at the festival as well as the films. Talks by Coatbridge’s own Mark Millar (comic book writer, WANTED, The Authority, The Ultimates) director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play) and James Earl Jones (Darth Vader…and other things, obviously) are amongst the highlights, but there are many others. For music lovers there are films and events that will appeal. Bands featured include Mogwai, Pere Ubu, The White Stripes and The Doors. Lots and lots for me and you …


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