The Reviews Hub’s Maryam Philpott takes a look to what the Glasgow Film Festival has to offer this year.
The Glasgow Film Festival has fast become one of the most exciting international events in the film calendar, which this year runs from 26 February to 8 March where more than 380 films will be screened including 9 world premieres. Given the recent all-male Best Director controversy at the leading award ceremonies, the 2020 Festival concludes on International Women’s Day where, notably, every film shown will have a female writer, director or star, a valuable and timely initiative that will celebrate the work of artists still overlooked by the presentation bodies.
The Gala selection is crucial to establishing the tone of any Festival and should demonstrate the range of movies on offer. While London opted for the comedic History of David Copperfield and the Netflix-funded The Irishman, Glasgow also has two UK premieres lined-up opening with space story Proxima by Alice Winocour and starring Eva Green – and how interesting and unusual to see a sci-fi movie in such a prestigious slot – while the event will close with the much anticipated adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl.
There is a biographical slant to many of this year’s film with world firsts for Robbie Fraser’s Pictures from Afghanistan focusing on photojournalist David Pratt’s 30-year experience of the country, while star Willem Defoe (whose London Film Festival hit The Lighthouse is now on general release), contributes to Barry Gifford’s Chicago, a multimedia exploration of the poet and screenwriter. Meanwhile the UK premiere of Women Make Film looks set to be one of the most talked about aspects of the Festival, a 14-hour tribute to female filmmakers screened across the final three days, and surely a must for BAFTA and Oscar voters!
The Film Festival also offers plenty of recognisable faces on screen with another interesting project from Daniel Radcliffe playing an activist attempting a prison break in Escape from Pretoria (although theatre commitments at The Old Vic will prevent his attendance), Rosamund Pike continues her own selection of challenging roles, trading in Marie Colvin for Marie Curie in Radioactive while Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve and Ethan Hawke star in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s English-language debut The Truth. But all eyes will be on 1917-star George Mackay who is cast alongside Russell Crowe in Justin Kurzel’s follow-up to Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed, The True History of the Kelly Gang based on Peter Carey’s novel.
With all Festivals of course you have to hunt for the hidden gems and among the 15 individual categories there are plenty of wonderful finds, many of which The Reviews Hub can recommend from the London Film Festival last October. Ahead of a deserved general release in March, Nick Rowland’s incredible debut Calm with Horses is the story of an Irish crime family with rising stars Barry Keoghan and Cosmo Jarvis, while fellow Irishman Tom Vaughan-Lawlor explores sexual confusion in Rialto. Another London highlight Rocks makes it to Glasgow with a prestigious five-star rating while Eva Riley’s film Perfect 10 adds the tale of a young dancer navigating adolescence in a complex working class family. And local attendees will relish the delightful Our Ladies which should certainly enjoy some added resonance in its homeland.
With hundreds of documentaries, movies and shorts across the 12-days of the Festival, there is plenty of new and classic work to discover. With stars including Eva Green, George Mackay, Caitlin Moran, Celia Imrie and Bill Paterson slated to attend, the Glasgow Film Festival looks set to be a fantastic celebration of moviemaking with a comprehensive line-up of commercial and independent choices that boldly places female film-making and storytelling at the heart if its programme.
The Glasgow Film Festival runs from 26 February to 8 March 2020