Beginning in 2005, the Glasgow Film Festival is still relatively new in comparison to its Celtic cousin in Edinburgh, which runs in June. But this 19th edition shows just why it’s become an audience favourite in Scotland. The gala screenings are particularly juicy this year, beginning with Wes Anderson’s Japanese-set stop-motion animation Isle of Dogs. Fresh off its world premiere in Berlin, it’s a pleasurably-rendered tale of a boy searching for his mutt that will have everyone (apart from maybe cat-lovers) in raptures.
Also playing is In the Fade, the new film from Turkish-German director Fatih Akin (Head On) which just claimed Best Foreign Language Movie at the Golden Globes. Diane Kruger, who won Best Actress in Cannes for her work, plays a woman on a revenge-strewn path after her Kurdish husband and young son are killed in a nail bomb attack. It’s controversial, and drew some ire in Cannes when it played, but it can’t be ignored.
Amongst the hot tickets is the world premiere of actress Karen Gillan’s directorial debut The Party’s Just Beginning, in which she stars as Lucy, a woman spiralling out of control in Inverness after the suicide of her best friend. Gillan, who will next be seen in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, is set to attend with her cast, which includes Lee Pace and Kate Dickie.
In the Modern Families section, don’t miss Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the first animated film from nascent Japanese animation outfit Studio Ponoc. Based on Mary Stewart’s classic The Little Broomstick, it’s a highly imaginative and colourful ride by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the director of Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There.
For cult film fans, there’s a chance to see Steve Mitchell’s documentary King Cohen about filmmaker Larry Cohen, who made such endearing low-budget efforts as It’s Alive (1974) and Q: The Winged Serpent (1982). Even better: the screening will be followed by a Skype Q&A with Cohen and Mitchell that’s surely not to be missed.
With a growing reputation for programming retrospective works, this year includes a chance to see the director’s cut of King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain. Restored by the Taiwanese Film Institute, this epic three-hour supernatural fable from 1979 is rarely screened. The Rebel Heroes strand also pays tribute to some of cinema’s greatest screen mavericks: On The Waterfront, Rebel Without A Cause, Cool Hand Luke and Bullitt will all screen.
The Glasgow Film Festival runs from 21 February to 4 March. For more details, click here.
1. Still from The Party’s Just Beginning.