GFT Staff Picks - Best of GFF19


It's been one week since we launched the full programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2019, and with more than three hundred exclusive screenings taking place from Wednesday 20 February - Sunday 3 March, there's something for everyone! If you're finding the choice overwhelming, here are some recommendations from the team behind the festival to help guide you... 

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Mother's Instinct

Mother’s Instinct
GFT / Thu 21 (18.30) & Fri 22 Feb (10.45) / Book tickets

Mother’s Instinct (Duelles) is one of the key titles in this year’s focus on Belgian Cinema. It is a tricky, twisted little tale that blends the worlds of Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk. Suburban neighbours Alice and Celine are so close they could be family. Their sons are the very best of friends. They seem to exist in a stylised world of bright sunny days, affluence and security. Then tragedy strikes and the fallout breeds paranoia and insecurity where once there was only harmony. Beautifully shot, nicely sustained and shockingly unsentimental this is a film for anyone who likes their thrillers to have style and substance.

Allan Hunter
GFF Co-director

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I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians

I Do Not Care If We Go Down As Barbarians
GFT / Tue 26 (20.00) & Wed 27 Feb (15.15) / Book tickets

Brimming with attitude, philosophy and viscous humour, Radu Jude's I Do Not Care If We Go Down As Barbarians marks another vital entry into the auteur's catalogue. A politically charged meta-comedy which isn't afraid to go for the jugular, which highlights the errors of past generations that are still permeating through Romanian society today. Taking focus upon a headstrong female theatre director employed to direct a re-enactment of a massacre perpetrated by the Romanian Army on the Eastern Front in 1941, the film isn’t afraid to express the cultural amnesia surrounding such atrocities and the struggles a young activist faces in being true to history. Charging forward throughout all the mania is a blistering debut performance by Ioana Iacob, who demonstrates an incredibly strong, assured and feminist performance. One of Radu Jude’s finest, and an unmissable entry to GFF19.

Iain Canning
GFF Programme Manager

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The Science of Ghosts

The Science of Ghosts
CCA / Mon 25 (20.30) & Tue 26 Feb (15.00) / Book tickets

A highlight of GFF17, the premiere of Lost In France at Glasgow’s ABC was a joyous, communal celebration of the city's music scene and its leading luminaries. This year, its director Niall McCann returns to the festival with the more personal and reflective The Science of Ghosts, in which he delves deep into the artist psyche with a non-linear discussion of musician Adrian Crowley’s life and struggles to define his creativity. With Adrian Crowley joining us to play a few songs following the screening on Monday 25 February, I’m expecting this event to be very, very special indeed.

Clare Gunn
GFF Marketing Coordinator

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Our Maryhill

Our Maryhill
The Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema / Sun 3 Mar (Doors 12.00) / Free event

Looking at old photos and seeing how places and people have changed is one of my most favourite things to do. My grandma would weave her stories around me; first job, first date, the beehive hairstyles and family trips to the beach. I imagined myself in her pictures and wondered what I would have seen looking back at the camera. Now for the first time I’ll get to experience a view of Maryhill curated by its local people. Through the lens of generations, I’ll see Maryhill’s past and present and hear new stories. Experiencing this in the Seamore Cinema on Maryhill Road will be a real treat too, a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

Jodie Wilkinson
Public Engagement Coordinator

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Border

Border
Cineworld / Fri 22 (17.45) & Sat 23 Feb (15.15) / Book tickets

Ali Abbasi’s Oscar-nominated Swedish film Border, part of the Pioneer strand, is the film I’m most looking forward to at GFF19 - and the film I’m most desperate to avoid spoilers for. Tina is a border control officer with a difference: she can literally smell fear. When she stops traveller Vore, they have more in common than Tina could ever have imagined. Based on a short story from the writer of Let the Right One In and described as “a blend of social realism and Scandi fantasy”, this film has been hailed as ground-breakingly original, with elements of folklore, fairytale, police procedural and tragic romance. I can't wait to see what it has in store.  

Margaret Smith
Press & Marketing Coordinator

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Benjamin

Benjamin
GFT / Mon 25 (20.30) & Tue 26 Feb (11.00) / Book tickets

I am really looking forward to seeing Simon Amstell's new film Benjamin on the big screen. It might be a bit cheesy but it's honest and open. Lots of films are created with exaggerated drama or actions trying to inspire or scare the viewers, and it is such a relief to watch a film that depicts common problems we all are facing in life. These wobbling periods of enlightenment, self-doubt and questioning of your talent and work – is it a right thing to do, am I worth it? You get that “I feel you bro” touch from many scenes, situations, and truly empathise with the main character. It is a great film to watch, reflect and get a fulfilling sense of hope to start a new chapter in your life by being bold enough to trust yourself.

Natalia Grigoreva
GFF Guest Services Assistant

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Midnight Cowboy

1969: The End of Innocence
GFT / Thu 21 Feb - Fri 1 Mar & Sun 3 Mar (10.30) / Free Events

I love the retrospectives at GFF. Not only do they give me the chance to fill in some of those inexcusable gaps in my viewing history, but they let me do so in the company of people who are already unashamedly in love with the film we’re watching together. This creates such a lovely atmosphere and allows me to experience some genuine classics in the best setting imaginable.

This year I’m excited to watch Midnight Cowboy for the first time as a grown-up. (I don’t think 12 year-old me was ready for it the first time!) More importantly though, I can finally cross off a few of those essential films I’ve never got round to seeing, such as The Wild Bunch and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I can’t wait for Feb 23 either, so I will never again be forced to admit…. I’ve never seen Easy Rider.

Tony Harris
GFF Volunteer Coordinator

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Mikey and Nicky

Mikey and Nicky
GFT / Wed 27 Feb (13.15) / Book tickets

Showing as part of the focus on the films of Elaine May – there’s a single screening of Mikey and Nicky at 13.15 on Wednesday 27 February and I’m not going to miss it for anything. It was part of a season of John Cassavetes films I was involved in programming many years ago – and I didn’t get to see it then! Apart from the extraordinary chemistry of Peter Falk and John Cassavetes on screen together, the GFF brochure says it’s an “unsung masterpiece of American Cinema”, and Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian gave it 5 stars when he reviewed it last summer. I’ll let you know what I think.

Jaki McDougall
CEO, Glasgow Film

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This Magnificent Cake!

This Magnificent Cake!
GFT / Tue 26 (18.30) & Wed 27 Feb (13.30) / Book tickets

At 44 minutes, Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels’ breaktaking animation This Magnificent Cake! sits in the uneasy hinterland between shorts and features, which led to a gentlemanly dust-up between me and GFF co-director Allan Hunter over which festival would get to screen it. Employing the frizzy, fabric puppetry of their previous film Oh Willy… (Special Mention, GSFF 2013) which also screens here, de Swaef and Roels tread a delicate line between horror and farce in their fever-dream portrayal of 19th century Belgian expansion into Africa. Shades of Joseph Conrad combine with the historical revisionism of recent films such as Zama and The Favourite to expose the insatiable, dehumanising greed of western imperialism.  An uncomfortable, essential watch.

Matt Lloyd
Glasgow Short Film Festival Director

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Her Smell

Her Smell
GFT / Sun 24 Feb (20.00) / Book tickets

The film that I am probably most looking forward to at GFF19 is Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell, starring Elisabeth Moss. By all accounts it’s an uncomfortable and experimental two hours, dominated by a bravura performance from Moss, in which she assaults the audience and those around her with pure toxicity. That is to say, it is absolutely my idea of a good time. The film follows Becky Something, a declining punk provocateur with addiction issues that are dwarfed by her attitude problem, as she fails to come to terms with her fading stardom and destroys her remaining relationships. Moss is always worth watching, and so I am particularly excited to watch her dive into the depths of narcissism and emotional terrorism.

Alice Smith
GFF Marketing Assistant

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The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters Brothers
GFT / Thu 21 Feb (15.15) | Cineworld / Sat 23 Feb (17.45) / Book tickets

It was a no-brainer that Patrick DeWitt’s 2011 novel would be adapted for the big screen; its Wild West setting, larger-than-life characters and sly comic dialogue are the stuff of classic cinema. And it doesn’t hurt that there is a distinctly Coen Brothers-ey flavour to the book’s brand of black comedy. Eli and Charlie Sisters are notorious killers, but Eli is beginning to have second thoughts about the rightness of their cause. With the perfect casting of Joaquin Phoenix as Charlie and John C. Reilly as softer-hearted Eli, along with A Prophet director Jacques Audiard behind the camera, this promises to be an early highlight of GFF19.

Paul Gallagher
Programme Manager

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Yuli

Yuli
GFT / Sat 23 (17.15) & Tue 26 Feb (15.45) / Book tickets

As someone that has gone to see many dance/ballet productions over the years, I was really excited to see GFF19 has three films with a strong dance connection. 

Two of them, Lukas Dhont’s Girl, and Ralph Fiennes’ The White Crow, are definitely ones I will be trying to catch. However the UK Premiere of Iciar Bollain’s Yuli is one not be missed. Not only because the brilliant Carlos Acosta will be at the screening itself, along with Iciar Bollain and local Scottish writer Paul Laverty, but also because the film is based on Carlos’ own life and promises to be a moving tale of Cuban life, from poverty to the global stage.

Sarah Emery
GFF Guest Services Manager

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Dead Ant

Dead Ant
GFT / Fri 1 Mar (23.00) / Book tickets

Dead Ant is top of my list of films to catch at Glasgow Film Festival this year. It follows the glam-rock band Sonic Grave as they embark on their journey to perform (what they hope will be) their comeback show at the ‘No-chella’ music festival. On the way there they end up getting high on some mystical-yet-cursed drug (as you do) and inevitably end up in a fight for survival against giant, bloodthirsty ants. I love the comedy/horror genre for not taking itself too seriously and Dead Ant looks like it takes this to the max. Literally. With massive ants! The Legend of the Stardust Brothers is also on my radar – I mean, what’s not to love about a Japanese synth-pop musical with a bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure?

Dave Williamson
GFF Digital Content Assistant

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Elaine May in A New Leaf

May Days: The Films of Elaine May
GFT / Mon 25 - Thu 28 Feb / More info

After getting to see some of the films from the Ida Lupino retrospective at last year's festival, I have decided to put my faith - again - in this year's GFF/The Skinny collaboration. May Days: The Films of Elaine May is a great chance to see four of Elaine May's films on the big screen at GFT. I'm particularly looking forward to Mickey and Nicky - a little known '70s American gangster picture starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk.

Danny Hoffmann 
GFF Press Assistant

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Arctic
Cineworld / Wed 27 (18.15) & Thu 28 Feb (15.30) / Book tickets

Whilst there is a plethora of delights at this year's festival, Arctic is the one that pokes its nose out at me. Joe Penna looks to have crafted a perfect survival tale and with Mads Mikkelsen donning the cold weather clothing and the rugged face of someone getting frostbitten to death, I'm all in. There's something about those polar regions that just make for epic stories. For scientific discovery, give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel, give me Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when you are seeing no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton, ahem, I mean Mikkelsen.

Gavin Crosby
Design and Digital Coordinator


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