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  • Alistair Braidwood

You Have Been Watching…Come Closer

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This Saturday, the 10th of September, there is the Glasgow Première of Come Closer at the GFT. The film is the début feature from Berlin Golden Bear-winning director Peter Mackie Burns, and it is a documentary which follows several different characters in Glasgow as they go about their everyday lives. Filmed over a two-year period Come Closer allows the audience intimate access to individuals whose lives are linked by the city. It is about change, the constant flux that happens in those individuals’ lives as they interact with each other and the places they inhabit, and the relationships that are built up through family and friendship.

Accompanied by the music of Sigur Ros, the film is a series of snapshots, some inter-connected, some which stand-alone. It is often unbearably poignant and moving, but there are also scenes where humour is found, some of which is dark, and even inappropriate, and this adds to the uncomfortable viewing experience which the director is obviously aiming for. Because Mackie Burns eschews the normal narrative structure of film the audience is never guided as to what to think, and as a result they are never sure what their reaction should be. This results in a work which manages to depict the motives, emotions, triumphs and failures that accompany everyday people’s lives.

The city becomes integral part of the story. We are taken to times and places that are rarely represented on screen and there is a raw beauty that matches the stories told. Glasgow gives context to these tales, but is a significant part of the content as well. Rarely has an urban landscape been shot with such understanding. Admitted influences include the realist photography of Nan Goldin and William Eggleston, and the films of Abbas Kiarostami, leading to the striking style of the film. By experimenting with portraiture, narrative and the formal conventions of film, Peter Mackie Burns has created a work which gives the audience a visceral, at times awkward, but ultimately unforgettable experience. You won’t leave Come Closer at the cinema door. Here’s the trailer:

The film is being screened in tribute to the late Bert Eeles who as well as being the editor was a close friend to everyone involved. Having met Bert on several occasions I must say that you would have to travel far to meet as humble, entertaining and personable a man as Bert.

To book your tickets for Saturday go to Come Closer/GFT. The film begins at 3.30pm and there is a Q&A session that follows.

To learn all about Come Closer and those who made it go to comecloserfilm.


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