GFT Blog: Our CineMasters Picks

The CineMasters strand at Glasgow Film Festival is devoted to the work of some of the most accomplished, admired and influential filmmakers in the world, and Glasgow Film Theatre has now introduced regular CineMasters seasons to the year-round programme. So far, the seasons have celebrated the work of Kelly Reichardt, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. CineMasters will continue in June with Aki Kaurismäki, but we need your help. Who do you want to celebrate on the big screen as a GFT CineMaster? 

Write to us and tell us your summer CineMasters pick and why - and we'll publish a second blog with audience choices! Suggestions must be received by Tuesday 6 June to be included. To get you thinking, the GFT team have written about our CineMasters picks...

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Wes Anderson is obviously no stranger to GFT’s screens – his Grand Budapest Hotel was the Opening Film at Glasgow Film Festival 2014, for one thing – but the new GFT CineMasters strand allows audiences the rare opportunity to appraise a collected body of works, on the big screen, and I think it would be particularly rewarding to watch Anderson’s films in this way. He is clearly a singular filmmaker; his precise vision, detached humour and particular style were virtually fully-formed from the first minutes of his debut film Bottle Rocket. But this overt style can be overwhelming; one viewing arguably isn’t enough to take in everything that is going on across the many layers of his intricately-constructed stories - that list also includes Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling LimitedFantastic Mr Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. Added to this, I think Anderson’s films have shown a subtle but significant growing emotional maturity over the years that he has been making films, and he has envisioned the makeshift communities who populate his films with an increasingly compassionate eye. I’d love the chance to track this progression - in GFT 1, naturally - so my season would include all 8 of his features so far.

Paul Gallagher Marketing Manager

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A recent quote from Ken Loach ahead of I, Daniel Blake rings in my ears as I type, “If you're not angry about it, what kind of person are you?” In a time where apathy should be as far away from us as Trump, Loach - through seminal imagery and dialogue - never fails to push our noses up to the window. How powerfully I mark my breath on the window pane matters the most to me, and so as I reflect on Loach's catalogue of film I realise just how much his work has influenced me. My awareness of the vitality of his moving images provokes and pushes me. The sickly structures in our society are a big chunk to chew on, but with a portion of Loach I feel like that fight is made way more palatable. Ken Loach: a large slice of honesty and a big smack of reality.

Jodie Wilkinson Public Engagement Coordinator

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Noah Baumbach on set of Greenberg photograph by Wilson Webb

“Recklessness”, “freedom”, “adventure” – nothing spells out “summer” better than these three words. Well, not necessarily. How about “indecisiveness”, “middle/quarter*-life crisis” and “awkwardness”? Sounds like a regular summer to me! If that kind of cinema is your cup of tea, then you might have just found the right director to indulge with this season. Noah Baumbach is a true master of awkward, brutally honest comedy-dramas featuring unexpected crossroads and big life decisions laid out on his characters’ way. In Squid and Whale, it is the parents’ divorce that brings along an avalanche of dysfunctionality to two boys’ lives; in While We’re Young, it is the arrival of a hipster couple that turns the main characters’ lives upside down. Still, the 2012 Frances Ha is my all-time favourite. It tells a story that most twenty-somethings will be familiar with: lack of possibilities and a complete insecurity regarding their future. Sounds like a hard topic for a summer movie, but in no way does it lack humour, charm or, even though sometimes hard to find, positivity. This black and white masterpiece is simply a must for all Baumbach’s fans!

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Alicja Tokarska GFT Box Office

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From the documentary-like films of Italian neorealism, Federico Fellini (1920—1993) emerged with his visionary and groundbreaking filmmaking, whose legacy resonates to this day. Spike Lee said Fellini’s films taught him there are ‘no boundaries’ and ‘no limits’ to what cinema can do. David Lynch was inspired by the episodic, hallucinatory dream-like structure of Fellini’s filmmaking, particularly 8 1/2 (1963) which explores the tensions between order and chaos of the creative process of the filmmaker. Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty (2013) is a direct paen to Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960). Fellini’s filmmaking celebrates the chaotic, comic-tragic manifestations of life, with his parade of idiosyncratic characters of clowns and circus folk, clergy, ‘grotesques’, frustrated filmmakers, and larger than life women. Underlying Fellini’s surrealism and satire, a sense of humanity prevails, enhanced by Nino Rota’s music. Fellini believed “in the dignity and even the nobility of the individual human being” a cry of liberation against the politics of conformity such as the previous epoch of Fascism.  In this respect, Fellini was carrying forward Italian neorealism which focussed on ‘ordinary’ people, but Fellini immortalises his people as larger than life spectacles on screen: the carnival of humanity amidst the order and chaos of existence, and, equally, a celebration of cinema itself as a pulsating life force.

Liana Marletta Development Executive

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I believe Chan-wook Park should be selected as one of the 2017 CineMasters as he has helped bring the voice of Korean cinema to a global stage and has created an iconic brand of suspenseful thriller. His works each have a unique element of disturbing yet beautiful artistry to them, whether through the dark and unnerving storytelling or the incredible imagery used. His most recent film, The Handmaiden, has an excellent use of both, and has received grand reviews from both critics and audiences. Some of his more famous works are those included in the vengeance trilogy, three modern tragedies with strong themes of violence, revenge and lost redemption. The three films are Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Old Boy and Lady Vengeance. Each of these films received massive cultural acclaim and are considered to be amongst his finest. I believe it would be great to run all three over the course of a week or so as an event for both the director and a celebration of Korean culture.

Matthew Cairns GFF Industry Intern

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Over a thirty-year career, Kathryn Bigelow has crafted nine features including Point Break, Strange Days, Zero Dark Thirty and Blue Steel and I'd love to see them in a season on the big screen.  She is the first (and to date, only) woman to win the Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures. Bigelow is not one to shy away from controversy - the majority of her films depict violence, exploring the moral and ethical implications of what it means to be a ‘hero’, you'll still be thinking about the film long after you've left the cinema screen. I find she is a profound storyteller; her carefully orchestrated visual style and ability to subvert genre expectation mark her as a singular filmmaker. Having watched The Hurt Locker countless times while writing my undergraduate dissertation, I’m ready to be immersed in that tension-filled world again – and on the big screen Bigelow's films become even more powerful.

Margaret Smith Marketing & Press Coordinator

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In a career spanning six decades, William Wyler directed an abundance of films that represent any number of things. On the one hand, his films - incredibly varied in subject matter - show the changing interests of the American public, with quieter, female-driven pictures of the late 1930s and early 1940s - Jezebel and Mrs. Miniver - slowly replaced by big-budget epics like The Big Country and Ben-Hur. As television supplanted cinema, Wyler witnessed the decline of the studio system, which is also reflected in his work. A career in Hollywood is difficult to maintain, yet Wyler worked with a number of stars, from old Hollywood greats such as Bette Davis, Gary Cooper and Olivia de Havilland (The Letter, The Cowboy and the Lady and The Heiress) to the more modern Audrey Hepburn, Peter O’Toole and Barbra Streisand (Roman Holiday, How to Steal a Million and Funny Girl). Despite these changes, Wyler’s films consistently offer rich portrayals of human emotion. Their worth is increased because of his fearlessness to explore, particularly in his early films, the darker side of the human psyche. Deception, jealousy, love, hate, revenge, can be traced throughout his oeuvre, and he is worthy of close attention.

David Rush GFT Volunteer

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Although not someone that perhaps immediately springs to mind as a ‘CineMaster’ I think that Gillian Armstrong deserves recognition as a female director that has portrayed strong women on screen over her decades-long career. She was the only female student in the first intake of 12 students at the Australian Film Television and Radio School in 1979 – a class that also included Phillip Noyce and Christopher Noonan - and from the shorts that she made there her voice and style developed and she became known for lush period dramas with remarkable female leads characters, such as My Brilliant Career, Mrs Soffel and latterly Oscar and Lucinda, and Charlotte Gray. Perhaps her best-known and most successful adaptation was the 1994 version of Little Women – although this is one of her least interesting films for me.  If programming a CineMasters season of her work, it would be great to acknowledge her rare ability to swing between period drama and documentary, and to screen some of her lesser known documentary work, such as Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst – a real favourite of mine - that uses interviews, dramatisation and fabulous animation to bring the fascinating and bohemian life of this Australian designer to the screen, and her most recent work, Women He’s Undressed, about the little-known but multi-oscar winning costume designer, Orry-Kelly – who was instrumental in creating the images of some of the most iconic women in film history. 

Rachel Fiddes Festival Manager

Write to us and tell us your summer CineMasters pick and why - and we'll publish a second blog with audience choices! Suggestions must be received by Tuesday 6 June to be included. 

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