Lynne Ramsay Attends GFF18

The first Friday of GFF18 saw the arrival of Lynne Ramsay in the run up to her new highly-anticipated revenge thriller You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix.

The gala screening saw Ramsay hitting the red carpet and was followed by a Q&A with the Glaswegian director, providing exclusive production insight and allowing the audience in on the action by getting to ask their own questions. 

The event was bursting with energy, from beginning to end, but before the festivities kicked off, Ramsay took the time to sit down with us and reflect on the film and the festival. “I was brought up on [film] noir” she noted, a genre that one can easily draw comparisons to when submerged in the dark world of her new film. Reflecting on formative moments in her early years, before she “knew that much about film,” Ramsay recalled stand out screenings she attended at GFT, such as Richard Werner Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Of seeing David Lynch’s Blue Velvet here during this time, she remembered how ground-breaking it felt. “Half the cinema walked out thinking ‘What the hell is this?’ And I was like ‘Oh my god, I think this is just a revolution!’ You know?” Ramsay noted that screening the film at GFF evoked a sense of nostalgia for her. “This is special because it’s obviously my hometown.”

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On working with Phoenix, Ramsay said she began to consider him a fellow Glaswegian, explaining “he doesn’t suffer fools gladly.” Phoenix’s performance is the heart and soul of the film, and Ramsay made it clear that he was a driving force in its production. “He was also a writer on it in some ways,” she said “like the way he was bringing that physicality to the character. You know, every take was so different. Some would be really funny and some would be terrifying.”

This physicality had added benefits, in that in growing out his beard and his hair for the role, Phoenix became much less recognisable on the city streets on which they were filming. This allowed a much smaller crew to work with Phoenix in busy locations without passer-bys being aware of what was going on around them. “It’s unusual to be able to film that way in New York anymore, that it felt like harking back.” 

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Indeed, there are many elements of Ramsay’s film that are rooted in classic elements of revenge cinema, allowing the audience to immediately connect with a longstanding tradition of hard-hitting greats. However, between the power behind Phoenix’s central performance, and the innovations Ramsay deftly incorporates, the film never loses its momentum. A standout of these innovations is the film’s sound design and its soundtrack collaboration with Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.

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We at GFF wanted to delve into this further. And so, the following day saw Ramsay sit down with Edith Bowman, who’s unique Soundtracking podcast has been a staple of cinephiles since 2016, to discuss how Ramsay uses music in her films, both in You Were Never Really Here and her wider career. The event was a resounding success; filled with all the behind-the-scenes tidbits and creative quirks we could have hoped for, allowing the GFF18 audience to delve deep into the realm of Ramsay’s filmmaking. 

You Were Never Really Here

screens at GFT from 9-22 March. Soundtracking will be available to listen to on 9 March.

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You Were Never Really Here Red Carpet and Q&A - Eoin Carey 
Soundtracking with Edith Bowman: Lynne Ramsay Red Carpet and Event - Kat Gollock

At Glasgow Film Festival, we pride ourselves on being a festival that loves the movies and loves our audience. GFF18 is your festival - so talk to us and let us know what you're up to! Did you love You Were Never Really Here? Have any of the other soundtracks you've heard in the GFF18 programme stood out? Did you take a GIF with our Social Halo? Tag us in your photos, posts and tweets - we want to hear from you! #GFF18

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