The red carpet is out, the rain is pelting down...Glasgow Film Festival 2016 is about to begin! Well, it is for those with a ticket...we saw this at a press screening a few days ago. So, we are pretending to be there...with our voracious film-festival appetite.
Let the festival commence...
Hail, Caesar! (2016, UK | USA) by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen. Love 'em or loathe 'em, the Coen brothers always deliver a quality product. Hail, Caesar! oozes quality, it would be hard not to...with this litany of Hollywood A-listers...
But...does it cut-the-mustard? The answer is an indefatigable yes...and, a deflating no. Some scenes work, some don't. It's all very episodic...and, as a whole, it doesn't come together. Definitely camp, there's a whiff of homosexuality (it's Hollywood, darlings!) and the gayest sailor-scene ever committed to film. Definitely entertaining - with some heady highs and frequent lows...usually involving Channing Tatum.
Today: Four films on the slate...and, outside, the weather is grim. There's no better place than to spend time inside a cinema.
First up...The Club (2015, Chile) by Pablo Larraín...no introduction, now that's a little disappointing. Every film in a festival should be introduced. Still, what followed, was jaw-dropping.
A film that seems to have been ignored by the LGBT film festivals...seriously, this is not only an injustice...but, a disservice to the LGBT community. Programmers/curators do your job, it's not about you...it's about bums on seats. And that, my darlings, is why (after much criticism) we cover mainstream film festivals...because [exclusive] LGBT festivals are (and becoming more so) blinkered - just because it's 'gay' doesn't mean it's any good.. The Club is raw, it's savage...it's as unpleasant as it is un-missable. All we can say is...well done Glasgow. And, thank you.
You can read the full review here.
Between films, I'm listening to Fleetwood Mac...Beautiful Child, tears are rolling down my face...hopefully, no-one has noticed.
Next up: Continuing the South American theme: Land & Shade (2015, Colombia) by César Augusto Acevedo.
Nothing LGBT here...but, it's a beautiful, slow-moving treatise on the inevitability of impending grief. Tears rolling...again.
Musical interlude: Fleetwood Mac's Sara...I used to listen to this over and over again - as a kid - playing backgammon with myself. Tough times...you are the poet in my heart.
I'm not a lesbian-themed movie lover (gay man yaddy-yah)...but, sorry - with a few execeptions, they are all the same...Summertime by Catherine Corsini (2015, France) is an exception. I could easily fall in love with Carole (Cécile De France)...what a woman. Even if the cinema is a little chilly...it's summertime, it's beautiful. Did a rueful tear just roll down my cheek?
You can read the full review here.
No musical interlude...reading Holding the Man by Tim Conigrave...I'm doing everything to control uncontrollable sobbing. This book reaches inside and touches your soul...for those of us, of a certain age...the most painful of memories.
Last film of the day...the big one...High-Rise (2015, UK) by Ben Wheatley...and, introduced by Ben Wheatley. What a very pleasant man...pity the same cannot be said about his film. A visually satisfying, high-octane, incohesive and incoherent rollercoaster ride - I am (obviously) not the intended audience. As for LGBT content...nothing really apart from a brief glimpse of a man in a bra!
All in all...a damn fine start...to a damn fine festival. Highs with emotional lows. Home time...in the rain.
It's still raining. Three films today...two of which are eagerly anticipated.
First...From Afar (2015, Venezuela) by Lorenzo Vigas - winner of the Golden Lion @ Venice. Now, context can affect the way you watch a film...it can be impaired...or, it can be heightened. I made a festival friend! My new friend will remain nameless for reasons that will become apparent. She was excited to be seeing a film from her native country in Scotland. We chatted in her broken English and my fractured Spanish.
Introduction over...the lights went down. My new festival friend was sound asleep, snoring quietly, within 10 minutes. She awoke, on cue, as the end credits started to roll...did I miss anything? She asked. Yes. Something very unpleasant indeed. Now, I am not a graduate from the Vito Russo [The Celluloid Closet] school of opinion...Russo was deeply concerned (and angry) about the negative depictions of gay men on the silver screen. In his world, he wanted positive portrayals of happy men in happy relationships in a world imbued with equality. Well, Vito will be spinning in his grave...there is nothing positive about From Afar - far from it. A pederast manipulates a gay-4-pay young man who manipulates the pederast, it's a quiet, unsettling film that will leave you...unsettled and provoked. The final scene - on which the film relies - will astound. Some will find it too slow, too quiet - like my new festival friend. But...you will leave From Afar thinking...bad thoughts.
No musical interlude, no Holding the Man...fresh air. I need fresh air. Clear my mind...from those bad thoughts. Such an affecting film.
And now for something completely different. From the maverick that is...Peter Greenaway. A forgotten prophet in his native land...as the introduction so appropriately stated. I grew up watching Peter Greenaway...usually in the Everyman Cinema in Hampstead (with Jean-Claude) or The Scala at King's Cross (with Philip)...happy, careless days.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015, Netherlands) stumbles at the very beginning...Peter, Peter, Peter less of the gimmicks. Fortunately, it picks itself up, dispenses with the nonsense...and, proceeds on its merry, mind-boggling way. It doesn't take too long until the Greenaway trademark appears...nudity. For those of you adverse to male genitalia...this film is not for you. Willies abound, rather graphically too - if you get my drift. A visual delight and a vortex of words...with an undeniable performance by Elmer Bäck - I loved it (less the gimmicks), not so sure about the rest of the audience.
You can read the full review here.
Music: Nick Drake...Five Leaves Left...sobering and intoxicating.
It's been nearly a decade since Michael Caton-Jones graced us with his presence on the silver screen, Urban Hymn (2015, UK) quashes that silence. It's a gritty, low-budget coming-of-age tale, casting off those shackles that bring you down. Competently done, it suffers a little due to the fincancial & time constraints...but, a worthy effort nonetheless. The Q&A, afterwards, revealed why members of the public should not be allowed to ask questions...a woman stated that both actors were well-suited to their parts, especially Isabella Laughland (who plays a drug-addled, murdering psychopath). Isabella was a tad shell-shocked and explained with her perfect Received Pronunciation...it was all acting. She certainly delivered the stand-out performance...a fine future beckons.
Home time - can I swerve the allure of the fish and chip shop?
No. It's the rain...it makes me hungry.
Day 4...still raining.
The first feature from Josh Mond, James White (2015, USA). The eponymous James is a bit of a lad. The only problem is...he's not a lad anymore. Irresponsible with the weight of the world on his shoulders...his mother (Cynthia Nixon) has terminal cancer.
There's a bromance at its core - and no, there's no subtext, y'know...sometimes men can just be really good friends. It's a fast-paced, truthfully written film...there are a few laughs to be had via the cheeky chappy routine...but, it's the relationship between mother and son that clinches the deal. A fine debut that elicited a tear or two.
Music...something cheery...something that will brighten my path ahead...Passenger: Let Her Go...because, the next film is by a filmmaker I do not understand nor do I ever want to understand - call me blinkered.
Any hopes I had of something worthwhile were dashed in the first mind-numbing, endless, well-attended minutes.
Some films should come with a Public Health Warning...No Home Movie (2015, Belgium) is one such film. Chantal Akerman's final, fatal film. At this juncture, it would be fair to say that I am not a fan of experimental cinema...why? I hear you ask. Because...in my not-so humble opinion and after an eternity of screenings...I have come to the devout, unshakeable conclusion that anyone - regardless of talent - can make an experimental film. Now, just before, I receive a torrent of abuse, I do not include the surrealists or the absurdists in my experimental condemnation. Alas, the avant-gardists are in there with the experimenters...tarred with the same brush.
How to make an experimental film: Lesson 1...point the camera at anything. Lesson 2...press the record button. Lesson 3...call it experimental. Akerman followed these 3 lessons to the letter.
My viewing was further diminished by the antics of the couple sitting in front of me...a high-maintenance woman who could not drink her coffee in silence demanded attention from her ever-obedient partner, stroke my hair, she whispered loudly...he did. Rub my neck...he did. Kiss me [often]...he obliged. Every cinema should have a sign declaring: NO HEAVY PETTING (just like in swimming pools, way back).
I'm leaving the cinema to bash my head against the nearest brick wall...in the rain.
Read the full review here.
Somewhat bruised and still rather angry at squandering 115 minutes...I stomped towards the Glasgow Film Theatre.
The poster alone made me want to love this film...did you ever buy an album (in the sadly departed vinyl years) on the basis of its cover alone? I did, many, many times. Treats and horrors in equal measures.
We were introduced to Lucile Hadzihalilovic - the director with the unpronounceable name, bets on how many times she's had to spell that out over the phone! She told us to expect a journey...rather than a story. I was on the edge of my aisle-side seat.
For those of you who didn't know and for those of you interested...I am also a PADI-qualified diving instructor...so, any film with underwater photography gets me rather excited. Évolution (2015, France) got me rather excited...a cinematic beauty unfolded in front of my eyes. The framing, the imagery...all exquisite...although I had no idea what was going on. Definitely an incomprehensible journey and a journey that should not be missed. Was that a lesbian orgy? Chilling beauty and one to discuss over a stiff drink.
At the Q&A afterwards, the director with the unpronounceable name explained that the film was autobiographical. It was about a young boy...bemused and flummoxed...
I need a stiff drink...alas, no-one to discuss Évolution with. I am a solitary-film-festival-attending-geek...still wondering whether that was a lesbian orgy in the mud!
Day 5...it's Sunday, it's raining...I'm driving to the festival.
Parking was easy, getting there not so...one-ways everywhere. As it turned out, it would have been quicker to walk.
Sing Street (2016, Ireland) by John Carney.
What a joy of a film. Definitely one for those of a certain age, who grew-up in the 1980s...I am one of those - definitely aged. Looking around, I am - comfortably - not alone. Together, we laughed at all the same places. Kindred spirits, each and all.
Ooooh but there's a sting in its tail...thumping priests get a thumping - there's a brief, chilling scene with a priest, it is as chilling as it is brief.
But...the stars of this show are Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (an outstanding acting debut) and John Carney - for directing such an outstanding debut and for the background detail. Sing Street is a joy.
Oooooh there's been a pickle with the tickets...I have no ticket for the next scheduled film...and the press office is closed - c'est la vie. Still, I leave the cinema with an 80s song in my heart.
Day 6 - have I awoken in a different country? The sunshine is screaming through the shutters. It feels like Spring. It smells like Spring. It's Spring in Glasgow...I walk across George's Square en route...Monday morning you sure look fine...Fleetwood Mac.
That pickle with the tickets...sorted diligently and trouble-free. I would just like to say...the GFF press-office-people are all rather lovely, doing a damn fine job.
It's a bit of a marathon today...4 films. First-up...
The "Greek Weird Wave" continues with Chevalier (2015, Greece) by Athina Rachel Tsangari. Not being a fan of Tsangari's Attenberg (2010, Greece)...I went into this film with a not-so-open mind.
I didn't get it. I didn't believe it. It was not funny...nor was it particularly disturbing (as it was said to be). A bunch of middle-aged men playing a game of one-upmanship (on a boat, gettit!?). And what was that scene with a man wandering around with an erection searching for any-man-will-do to sodomise?!? And, the lip-synching scene...total nonsense. In better hands, perhaps, a decent film could have been gleaned from what was - on the surface - a good idea. Tsangari's sense-of-humour is the polar opposite of mine.
If you want good GWW - Dogtooth and The Lobster are mighty fine films.
Find me a green square. Find me a Gregs...a few minutes later...sitting in a Square, eating a Steak-Bake, the sunshine on my face...won't you lay me down in the tall (green) grass and let me do my stuff! I think it sounds better with the green added.
Louder Than Bombs (2015, Norway | France | Denmark) by Joachim Trier - his first English-language film. Rather underwhelming and somewhat problematic...methinks, juggling too many ideas. The trying-to-be-too-clever is what brings this film to its knees, there are moments you think: yes, that's good, go with it...alas, Trier doesn't. Just like a juggler who drops a ball. Let's start again...Louder with Bombs starts over and over.
Perhaps, if either one of the brothers were even remotely likeable...we (as in royal) may have warmed to the story more than we did. The grand revelation of the secret (which we know in the first few minutes of the film) is anticlimactic to say the least. Gabriel Byrne does a decent job, Jesse Eisenberg is as irritating as always, David Strathairn is shamefully under-used and, Devin Druid is shakeably lacklustre...just like the film.
I need something to pick me up...a tonic. With Gin.
Or...The Brand New Testament (2015, Belgium) by Jaco Van Dormael - just what the doctor ordered.
God is abusive and alcoholic and living in Brussels...with his wife and daughter...the son scampered off years ago. God's daughter is pissed off and decides to undermine her father and follow in her big brother's foot-steps, scampering off through a washing-machine...she needs 6 randomly-chosen apostles...it's as wild as Alice Through the Looking-Glass.
The chosen 6 are a motley crew...but, it's little Willy who stands out...with only a few days left on planet Earth, his parents offer him the world...what does he want? Well, that would spoil it.
A film of breath-taking imagination, madness and emotion.
Ask yourself: How would you prepare...if you knew the exact moment of your death?
Outside, waiting for the next film...I'm still asking myself that very question...
Yes, films resonate.
There are some heavy-duty, tuxedoed security-types dotted around the cinema...are we in the presence of royalty? Alas, no - pesky potential pirates...this is a UK, big guns a-blazing, pre-premiere with the Hollywood A-lister that is...Jake Gyllenhaal, sadly not-in-person - what a coup that would have been! Anyone seen using a mobile phone will be ejected...you have been warned!
Demolition (2015, USA) by Jean-Marc Vallée resonates and - for some - shudders. A story about grief, its folly and its management. There is a significant gay storyline...Judah Lewis plays a 15 year-old boy, who looks 12 but acts 21...he and Gyllenhaal have a show-stealing 'coming-out' scene together...this film does nothing but resonate.
I read somewhere - by someone of no consequence - that Demolition's premise was a far-fetched ridiculousness...15 years ago, I awoke, showered and dressed and, after 20 years, left my apartment and possessions behind. I know not what happened to my apartment or my possessions...the sad, sad days of my mismanaged grief.
And on that note...home, reflectively. Grief, it mellows but never goes away. I walk slowly.
Day 7...the sun is still a-shinin'
A late addition to the festival...Truman (2015, Spain) by Cesc Gay - a man and his dog, a best friend and terminal cancer. It doesn't exactly present itself as one of the cheeriest films in the festival...but, it is - without doubt - the most heart-warming.
Periodically, throughout, a tear escaped. The final scene, I was sobbing...the woman behind me patted me on the shoulder, saying 'there, there' - I was inconsolable. Beautifully pitched, beautifully played. Just beautiful.
I have a rather sizeable gap before the next film - south of the river - back to the square, back to Holding the Man...howling by the end. I'm having a tearful day. Time to find the car...
I drove past the Tramway. I was expecting a beckon of light shooting upwards into the night sky...in praise of the Arts. It's a big, dull building on a rather badly-lit road.
Wildness (2012, USA) by Wu Tsang. First of all, I would like to say...that I read this film in a completely different way than to the rest of the audience...
Gender-fluid Tsang states - in a calm, soothing and therapeutic voice - that he/she is incomplete because his/her father did not teach him/her to speak Chinese as a child...he/she is unable to communicate with a part/half of him/herself. Poor darling. I, too, am unable to communicate with part of myself...because my parents did not teach me Gaelic! Growing up in London...some piece of my inner-puzzle was missing, my inner Gaelic voice! I blame my parents.
This is a film about the voraciously vocal 'queer' sub/counter-culture...those affected doyennes who want to obliterate the LGBT community with their self-branding form of abuse, anger and arrogance.
Tsang has, inadvertently, made a film about the damage that these 'queers' can do. Here, Tsang (& Co.), a trumped-up, trust-funded troupe of twats...who tresspass, kidnap and hold to ransom a small (and essential) latino/a community of trans*people.
Engorged with self-importance, Wildness is a badly-made film with more starts and stops than a traffic jam - just when you think its over...up pops another scene of abhorrent self-worth. Get me out of here.
Home...I hope the traffic is not too bad. I've just experienced film-rage...a dose of road-rage would do me in.
Day 8...does the sun never stop shining in Glasgow?
Green Room (2015, USA) by Jeremy Saulnier turned out to be an unexpected fright-fest. After a rather ropey start that belies the tension that Saulnier manages to build and maintain until the final [killer] line is delivered. If violence is your thing...then, this caustic little gem is for you...otherwise give it a very wide berth indeed. It's unrelenting and wholeheartedly gruesome.
I have a dilemma (or two) - which book to read next...! Something cheery, methinks. In the meantime...off to the CCA for...
The Daughter (2015, Australia) by Simon Stone - adapted from Ibsen's The Wild Duck (1884). A modern take on a rather old 'classic' - for those of you who know nothing about Ibsen, expect misery and you shall be rewarded (in abundance).
The discomfort in the make-shift 'cinema' is matched wholly by the on-screen story. Seriously, cinema-seats without armrests, portable cushions...not a pleasant place to watch a film. The Daughter goes through every shade in the grim-spectrum, the stellar cast do a fine job with the emotionally draining script. It is cheerlessness - in abundance.
Home...to a cheerier life and more comfortable room.
Day 9...only 1 film today...but, the pickle-with-the-ticket film has now been seen...and, a couple of other films (seen previously) are given a thorough vetting...
Experimenter (2015, USA) by Michael Almereyda - a pseudo-psycho-babbling quack conducts a series of unethical experiments. The result is a rather inventive (possibly because of budget constraints), definitely arid companion piece to The Stanford Prison Experiment.
Seemingly, the is an accurate depiction of the actual experiments...but, Peter Sarsgaard's droning voice is more tortuous than an electric shock. As for Ms. Ryder...she looks worryingly skeletal.
Dr Stanley Milgram was stopped in his tracks by those with a conscience...before he could go any further, before he turned into the living incarnation of Josef Mengele...which brings us neatly onto our next film...
Labyrinth of Lies (2014, Germany) by Giulio Ricciarelli - a fictitious, fact-based account of the search for Josef Mengele, Otto Eichmann and every other perpetrator of Holocaust atrocities.
It's a decent film that drifts too far from its chosen path...the love-story is an unnecessary and unwelcome abstraction from the - sadly weakened - main story. Joachim Kügler (1926-2012) and Georg Friedrich Vogel (1926-2007) were the real-life investigators - why invent a new character? Why not give due credit to these deserving men?
That said...it's still a decent film that sheds light on a dark subject...brushing war crimes under the carpet, justifying horrific actions by simply saying, "I was only following orders."
The time is rapidly approaching when these man-hunts will be over...but, there are still some old men determined to get the justice they deserve. Christopher Plummer & Martin Lanau play two such men...
Remember (2015, Canada) by Atom Egoyan - this is the pickle-with-the-ticket film...and what a film it is...breathtaking. The best way to see this film is without any prior knowledge whatsoever...read no reviews! They will do nothing but spoil it.
There is a brief and unbearably touching scene with an old gay man...it resonates, especially after the end. And that is all we're going to say about Remember - apart from...why was this film ignored by the Oscars? Seriously, do anything you can to see this it...it is an experience you will never forget. The very last shot should make you gasp!
From terrible people to terrible places...
In 2015, Japan's suicide forest became the subject of two films. First, there was Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees which received a well-deserved (and severe) critical lambasting at Cannes. And now, in Glasgow, the second foray into...The Forest (2015, USA) by Jason Zada - a concocted horror that will appeal to...erm, I don't really know who this will appeal to.
After the ludicrous set-up...a missing twin...I know she's alive, I can feel her sort-of-crap...when they eventually get into the forest, there is atmosphere, creepiness and the potential for some psychological mayhem...alas, the director prefers to go off-piste with the psychology...which is a shame because that created atmosphere could have been exploited to the point of disturbia.
Ambling home-ward through the night-lit streets, I wondered when I last saw a truly disturbing film. Aaaah Remember.
Good morning...there's a spring in my step as I walk towards the CCA to watch one of my most anticipated films of the festival...who cares if it's in an uncomfortable, makeshift cinema devoid of armrests...nothing can dampen my spirits on this fine day.
Ever early, I sit and start my next tome - World Without End (Ken Follet, 2007) - a book I've been meaning to read for many a year - now's my chance. But no...I have made - inextricably and unintentionally - a new film-festival-friend! She sits enthusiastically and contagiously beside me...I am no longer a solitary film-festival-going-geek.
We talk Truly Madly Deeply and the sad passing of Alan Rickman - who was in attendance at this very festival a year ago. We compare our likes, dislikes and surprises.
The 'cinema' is - surprisingly - well-attended, no doubt, because of Juliet Stevenson. The lights lower, silence...
Now, if I hear the word 'nuanced' in an introduction again...I'm going to scream. To me, the word: Nuance...is the epitome of...one man's meat is another man's poison.
Departure (2015, UK | France) by Andrew Steggall - his feature debut, after a few decent shorts. The (homo)sexual awakening of an adolescent boy and a mother's meltdown. When a reviewer (or anyone) says...it starts off well...you just know that it is not going to end as well as it started. Departure starts off well...
Juliet Stevenson does Juliet Stevenson...in other words, she is unstretched...even as a rather dissolute mother. On the other hand, the remarkably young-looking, Alex Lawther is amply awkward with his burgeoning sexuality. The scene with the carrot made my new film-festival-friend wince...and provided Ms Stevenson with one of her two killer lines. Mothers know everything that goes on under the family roof.
Now, you would be forgiven in thinking...this was a story about a teenage boy who has a crush on an older teenage boy...and, it is...with the will it happen, won't it happen underpinning the entire structure...that is, until the script takes it to a different place entirely...into the middle-aged, middle-classed Mother's misery. It then falls apart and limps - lamely - to its flaccid conclusion.
My new festival-friend hated the film. I saw the unrealised potential...but, middle-class misery in the South of France is a far cry from financial desolation in Deptford. With neither empathy nor sympathy being earned, Steggall's debut feature flounders, somewhat fatally...it should have been all about him...not her!
Still, after much discussion, with my f-f-f...the next offering, woefully in the same 'cinema'...
The Fencer (2015, Finland | Estonia | Germany) by Klaus Härö - the Finnish candidate for the best foreign language film in 2016 Academy Awards.
I was drawn to this film simply because I was a fencer in a year that is slowly fading from memory. Fencing, the elegant violence. My f-f-f loved it, I was a little underwhelmed. For me, there was just a little too much time spent on the plucking of heartstrings rather than on the perspiring flash of fatal foils. That said, a decent film...fine for a lazy afternoon.
And, sadly, this is where my f-f-f and I parted company...she went off to watch Arabian Nights: Volume 3. For me, back to the GFT and armrests, hallelujah...
Traders (2015, Ireland) by Rachael Moriarty & Peter Murphy - the biggest surprise of the festival, thus far.
Expect little and ye shall be rewarded. Traders could have - quite easily - gone down the wrong road. Thankfully, due to some damn fine writing that is duly saturated with natural humour, this little Indie hits it out of the park. But...it's the surprising off-kilter, well-heeled double-act of...Killian Scott and John Bradley (Game of Thrones, still not killed-off) who elevate this far and beyond those modest indie expectations...their on-screen relationship is the spark that lights the flame.
Bradley is adorable, chunky and utterly vile...played against his polar opposite, Scott's toned straightman-with-a-heart...they duck & dive, swerve & squirm, fight and kill. Both want money, need money and both will do whatever it takes to get money. They trade...in other words, they fight other 'traders' to the death...
It doesn't sound like a comedy, it's not played like a comedy...but, the humour is as dark as the darkest and sweetest treacle...and just as delicious.
Home...on a high, after disappointment and mediocrity.
Day 11...the penultimate day...
If ever an introduction killed a film - then, this was it.
The Elite (2015, Denmark) by Thomas Daneskov was one of the few submitted films chosen to screen at the festival. Seemingly, over 300 films were submitted and less than 5 were accepted...according to the gushing introduction. Now I'm not going to dwell upon this film...because, it seems that 'Dogme 95' has been given a resurrection - albeit it in spirit rather than in name...for those that are not familiar with Dogme...it was filmmaking 'movement' that imposed ridiculous rules, e.g. no artificial lighting, hand-held camera, no soundtrack, must be in colour, ad nauseum...and, here's the rub, the director had not to be credited.
Well, Mr Daneskov is credited with his film about affluent drug addiction...so it's not Dogme...but, it does have all the trademarks of one...that's - euphemistically - saying it's crap.
I hate when a film puts you in a bad mood...time squandered. I'm going to walk it off before my next film.
Danny Says (2015, USA) by Brendan Toller - I hear you ask: Who is Danny Fields? I'm asking myself the very same question. All I can say is...I'm glad I made his acquaintance. What a thoroughly interesting and - refreshingly - politically incorrect gay man.
A man who rubbed shoulders (and a few other things) with the notable faces of the day: Warhol, Morrison, Joplin, Reed, Nico - name 'em, he knew them. A thoroughly entertaining documentary that could have gone on longer and delved deeper. Mr Fields - obviously - has a few stories to tell...and, on the basis of this film, there are many who would like to hear more. Good, insightful stuff!
So...the next film...and, I have to say that I'm not exactly looking forward to this one...having seen the gruesome original!
Martyrs (2015, USA) by Kevin Goetz & Michael Goetz - is an unnecessary (and badly interfered with) re-make. A film for those delightful little cuties, the torture-porn brigade...especially those who can't read subtitles - either due to illiteracy, myopia or laziness.
Surely, a re-make should bring something new to the table...this one brings nothing, nada, diddly-squat - if anything, it detracts and (kind of) sanitises a perfectly odious film.
Day 12...last day of the festival...
The sun is shining (this is getting to be quite a habit, Glasgow), I turn the corner and there's a significant gathering of people outside the cinema. Quite forgot...Richard Gere is in town and he's going to grace us with his presence. I sense a soupçon of celebrity panic by the organisers...get in line, you've got to be in the cinema before such-an-such a time or you will forfeit your ticket...get a grip, babies, it's only Richard Gere!
Inside, a capacity crowd...alas, Hollywood this is not. It all looks a little dingy when Hollywood comes a-knockin'. Still, the buzz is palpable. I'm feeling rather excited myself.
Time Out of Mind (2014, USA) by Oren Moverman - a film very close to Mr Gere's heart. The first difficulty with the film is...Mr Gere's dashing good-looks, they could have roughed him up a bit...he has got to be the most handsome down & out ever to wander the streets of New York City. Get over that and you are in with a chance if you can cope with the sound...which, in my humble opinion, Moverman overdoes it...yes, we can appreciate that life on the streets is a noisy existence...but, there's noise and there's noise, rather than it being immersive, this soundscape makes you feel as if you are suffering from tinnitus. It's hard work being homeless, this film is hard-work.
And...that hard-work continued into the Q&A with the man himself...the interviewer was completely out of his depth and out of fashion. The questions he asked, good grief...IT'S A FILM FESTIVAL! We don't want to hear about Mr Gere's politics, his opinions on China! He's an actor, a wealthy one. Yes, he's a philathropist, he can afford to be...but, the audience wanted to hear about Pretty Woman, Gigolo, Chicago...thank GAWD for the woman who declared him to be the hottest man on the planet...and swooped down from the back of the cinema and enveloped the awaiting and rather enthusiastic Mr Gere...as for the finger-pointing little tousled man shouting: Whit ur yae gonna dae aboot homelisnis? Unfortunately, there is always one...
No more time for more audience questions...the finale is rapidly approaching. Mr Gere has left the building.
The final film of the festival: Anomalisa (2015, USA) by Duke Johnson & Charlie Kaufman...
The word 'masterpiece' has been bandied about...more like misery-piece!
The animation, the detail...the production, all [almost] flawless.
But...GAWD...it goes on and on...in a downward spiral...into the pit of loneliness. Ooops, the couple beside me just walked out.
For the most part...it's mundane/monotonous...there is a brief flurry into the existential, the surreal, the absurd...where gender is fluid, neutral...and it gets you thinking - which is a good thing...then it goes all mundane/monotonous again. There's a man behind me...snoring contentedly.
It could all have been done in half the time...making it a far more effective short than a rather limp feature.
Charlie Kaufmann does depression well...however, boring the audience is not the way to go. Even the rather explicit, animated sex scene was...boring...and, to be truthful, an indulgence the film could have done without.
90 minutes of misery. Not the greatest way to end a festival - in my humble opinion.
Still...Glasgow threw many a great film at the screen...it's a festival that has grown exponentially in stature and substance...long may it continue.
Thank you to the Press Office and all the volunteers...you did good.