Glasgow Film Festival 2014

Glasgow FIlm Festival 2014

For the last 5 or so years I have been attending the Glasgow Film Festival. This year saw it reach it’s tenth year. There was so much happening at it, it was hard to go to everything, especially with having to work during the day, however I did manage to get to a few events. The first film I went to see was The Grand Budapest Hotel. I really like Wes Anderson’s films, but Moonrise Kingdom had left me feeling let down. I wasn’t holding out much for The Grand Budapest Hotel, but it reinstated my faith in Wes Anderson as a film maker, though the soundtrack was not as good as usual. It follows the story of the lobby boy, Zero Moustafa, and the legendary concierge, Gustave H. The story is good and there are some great scenes, I really enjoyed the prison break scene. As well with all Wes Anderson films, there is a sadness to it. I’ll give it 4/5.

The next film I went to see was Richard Ayoade’s second film, The Double. This is based on the Dostoevsky story about a man who meets his double, only for no one to notice. It is a bizarre kind of love story and is very strange. There are times when it feels like Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, but this was not intentional. It is a hard film to watch, though it is good. It is also very strange. The Q&A with Richard Ayoade after the film was good. He is as funny iin real life as he is on the screen. I’m going to give the double 4/5. The sound was really interesting throughout the film and is used in a good way.

While I love going to the cinema, sometimes it is hard going during the film festival. Mood Indigo was the third film I saw in three days. Michel Gondry always entertains me with his imaginative inventions and animations. In this film the lead character creates a painocktail which makes cocktails as you play the piano. It is a great love story but as with all his films, it has a deep sadness within it as the leading lady, Audrey Tatou, grows water lillies in her lungs. This was one of my favourite movies during the film festival. I’m giving it 5/5.

One of my favourite parts of the Glasgow Film Festival is the surprise movie. The first time I went to this was last year when the surprise film was Spring Breakers. While I didn’t enjoy this film, I still stayed until the end. This year’s surprise film was Calvary starring Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd (who also makes a cameo appearance in The Double). Brendan Gleeson is a great actor, so this was a joy to watch. This is a vary dark comedy dealing with some contemporary Irish issues. The film starts with Gleeson in the confession booth where one of his confessors tells him how he was abused by a priest as a child and he then gives Gleeson a week to live before he kills him. The film follows the week as Gleeson tries to deal with what is happening in his local community as well as dealing with his suicidal daughter. I left the cinema feeling quite sad, but there are some very funny moments in this film. Not one to watch if you are looking for a feel good movie, but well worth seeing. I give this 4.5/5. It was a great surprise and probably a film I wouldn’t have gone to see had it been my own choice.

One of the films in the festival that excited me the most was Black Angel. It was a short film shot in Scotland and was shown before The Empire Strikes back in the UK and further afield. It follows the story of a knight who has returned home only to find it ravaged by an illness. Soon he is saved by a fair maiden who is held captive by the Black Angel. The film feels like a vivid dream and is beautiful to watch. They really don’t make films like this and the director, Roger Christian, was there to answer questions about the film. Guy Veale introduced it and his own personal story about the film is a fascinating read. If you get the chance to see this film I highly recommend it. 5/5 from me.

I managed to squeeze in a couple of films on the final day of the festival. I went to see The Tale of Iya, which tells the story of a Japanese girl, whose parents die in a car crash when she is a baby, who lives in the small town of Iya up in the mountains in Japan. This film was beautiful to watch and it reminded of the Alps and Pyrenees in France. The film deals with conservation and ecology in Japan. At times this film felt like two different films put together, but it was interesting. I give it 3.5/5.

The final film that I saw was the film I was the most excited about. The closing gala was Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin. I remember hearing about this when they were filming it in Glasgow back in 2011. Scarlet Johansson plays an alien who preys on muscular men, seducing them and then killing them. This is not your average science fiction film. It doesn’t play out like a normal film. The story is interesting and you are watching an alien coming to terms with what it is to be human, experiencing the highs and the lows of humanity. I loved everything about this film, the music and sound are excellent, the story is interesting and different and the cinematography is great too. A lot of the film was filmed without people knowing it was being filmed, so the performances are natural, rather than scripted. You are either going to love this film or hate it, I loved it.

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