Running from February 14th to the 24th, the 2013 installment of the increasingly popular Glasgow Film Festival marks its ninth incarnation. Advertised as a festival “for the people”, GFF tends to stray from the red carpet approach and curation-heavy feel of its local(-ish) cousin, June’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, though it does have various themed strands and a few UK and European premieres. Mainly, it is a chance for Scottish audiences to get an advanced look at some incoming 2013 highlights, as well as acclaimed festival fare both with and without planned UK distribution.
Befitting of the Valentine’s Day launch, the festival’s opening gala screening is the UK premiere of French romantic comedy Populaire. Directed by Régis Roinsard, the late 1950s-set film stars Romain Duris, Déborah François and Bérénice Bejo. Closing the festival is the European premiere of Joss Whedon’s take on Much Ado About Nothing. Shot over twelve days around the same time as The Avengers, the low-budget, predominantly black and white film carries over Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg and Ashley Johnson from the superhero blockbuster, and also features Whedon work favourites like Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, Sean Maher and Fran Kranz. Joss Whedon is expected to attend the screening.
Film4’s FrightFest makes its eighth appearance at GFF this year, offering a two day assault of terror and the macabre. Though the UK premiere of The Raid was the Glasgow FrightFest’s main talking point last year, the big guns in 2013 are strictly horror fare, with the UK premieres of Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem, Neil Jordan’s Byzantium, Barry Levinson’s The Bay, anthology feature The ABCs of Death, and Nicolás López’s Aftershock. Guests include Aftershock producer, co-writer and star Eli Roth, as well as Neil Jordan with his Byzantium stars Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton.
Taking place directly before and during the main Glasgow Film Festival are the Short Film Festival, the Youth Film Festival, and the Music and Film Festival. Between them they include showings of Michel Gondry’s The We and the I, Jeff Buckley biopic Greetings from Tim Buckley, an open-air screening of Girl Walk // All Day, and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc screened in a cathedral with live music. Other showings of older films include a James Cagney retrospective, a restoration of Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath at FrightFest, Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, Jerry Schatzberg’s Scarecrow, and 1980s Glasgow music film Living Apart Together.
A focus on New Brazilian Cinema brings, among others, the hugely acclaimed Neighbouring Sounds to Scottish audiences, while a Fashion in Film strand includes Japanese manga adaptation Helter Skelter. Other gala screenings include the UK premieres of Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look of Love and Chan-wook Park’s Stoker, Cate Shortland’s Lore, François Ozon’s In the House, Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air, and Cloud Atlas ahead of its long-awaited UK release. As was the case last year, I will be providing some coverage of the Glasgow Film Festival for Sound on Sight, the official website of which can be found here.