Echoes of Rudyard Kipling adventure yarns and Hollywood’s more pessimistic classic Westerns permeate Theeb, the directorial debut of Jordan-based filmmaker Naji Abu Nowar, whose film was also shot in that region and features non-professional actors from one of Jordan’s last nomadic Bedouin tribes to settle down.
The Little Death is an Australian comedy concerning five hetero couples (or potential couple in one case), whose relationships become defined by their fetishes. Though the lives of some of these characters intertwine through the setup of them living in the same neighbourhood, the film is more anthology feature than network narrative in that the stories basically act as shorts that we jump in and out of for 95 minutes – and one of them runs uninterrupted for the final 20. Writer-director Josh Lawson even introduces each plot thread with a title card akin to what you might find in a more traditional anthology feature. This isn’t so much The ABCs of Sex, but the title of recent Argentinean anthology Wild Tales wouldn’t be out of place if re-applied to The Little Death.
Set in the once pristine West Yorkshire Moors, Catch Me Daddy is a nightmarish thriller about cultural tension, depravation and violence in modern day Britain. It takes as its starting point the Ted Hughes poem ‘Heptonstall Old Church’, in which creation myth gives way to apocalyptic vision. The great bird which brings life to the region dies and afterwards: ‘Its giant bones / Blackened and became a mystery / The crystal in men’s heads / Blackened and fell to pieces / The valleys went out / The moorland broke loose.’ Recited coarsely in a young man’s voice, over bleak, contemporary landscapes, the poem is a discomforting prelude for what is to come.
The full line-up has been announced for this year’s Glasgow Film Festival, which runs from Wednesday 18th February to Sunday 1st March, and it features over 100 UK, Scottish or European premieres, as well as multiple rep screenings and special events.
The festival opens with the UK premiere of While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach’s comedy follow-up to Frances Ha, starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried and Charles Grodin. The closing night gala on 1st March will be the UK premiere of Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s already much-vaunted darkly comic relationship drama Force Majeure.