Something for the Weekend (19 - 21 June)

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Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allan Hunter is back with his weekly look at the best films to watch over the weekend and beyond.

Is 11 July the big day? What should we call it. C-Day? Will we all be landing in the foyers of multiplexes across the land? Maybe. This week Cineworld confirmed their intention to reopen cinemas in the UK on 11 July. Assuming goverment advice allows and all the necessary measures for customer safety are in place. That could just be in England depending on which phase the lockdown has reached in Scotland. It is an announcement that provokes equal amounts of keen anticipation and quiet dread. If the chaotic scramble to go shopping in England is anything to go by who would really want to be the first in line? 

When cinemas do return what kind of films will you want to see? The comfort of old favourites? The joy of Singin' In The Rain would be a tonic right now. The lure of something shiny and new? The latest Francois Ozon Summer of  85 in GFT1? Yes please. It will be fascinating to find out. Until then, here are some recommendations for everyone continuing to stay home and stay safe.

On A Magical Night (Curzon)

Availabe: Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 19 June

I should start by confessing that I love snow on screen. Put me in a frame with tumbling flakes and a blanket of white and I am a happy man. That may be one of the reasons I took Christophe Honoré’s On A Magical Night to my heart. That, and a terrific performance from Chiara Mastroianni in one of her best recent roles. An impish bedroom farce, On A Magical Night is part The Awful Truth (1937) and part Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Law lecturer Maria (Mastroianni) and Richard (Benjamin Biolay) have been married for 20 years. They are a happy, loving couple until the night he discovers her string of casual affairs with handsome younger men. She leaves and checks into a hotel directly opposite their Montparnasse apartment. As the snow falls, she receives a host of visitors determined to share exactly what they think of her and the decisions she has made. Inventive, playful, filled with affectionate movie references and a delightful soundtrack, this is as charming as it is touching. Definitely a film to snuggle up beside.

The Ground Beneath My Feet (15)

Available:  BFI Player, Sky Store, Virgin Media, Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play available now

Valerie Pachner dominates every frame of The Ground Beneath My Feet, an intriguing tale of sibling bonds and the pressures to succeed. Business consultant Lola (Pachner) is a woman in a hurry. Ambitious and hard-driven, she works into the night and can be found pounding the treadmill at the first light of dawn. Her ruthless determination earns her the epithet of being 'an encyclopeadia on legs'. Her one vulenrability is her older sister Conny, a paranoid schizophrenic who has attempted suicide. As a weary, stressed-put Lola tries to shoehorn some compassion for Conny into her busy schedule, she starts to wonder if she is losing her grip on reality. 


All Available now

If you are looking to make the most of your MUBI membership then there are some very fine titles currently available incuding a double-bill from director Ida Lupino. Glasgow Film Festival celebrated the centenary of her birth in 2018. MUBI pays tribute by screening the well-acted melodrama The Bigamist (1953) (in which she also co-stars) and the taut film noir The Hitchhiker (1953). Rarity value alone draws me to pioneering African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates (1920) a silent melodrama in which a Black woman sets out to raise the funds for a struggling school. Finally the short, daft animation Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor (1936)  is a lot of fun.

GFT CineCard members receive a 3 month free subscription to MUBI. Click here to find out more.

Criss Cross (PG) / A Foreign Affair (U) (Eureka Entertainment)

Available: Blu Ray from Monday

Eureka Entertainment treats old movies with all the tender loving care they deserve. Their latest releases include a 4k restoration of noir thriller Criss Cross (1949) in which security guard Burt Lancaster plans the perfect payroll robbery. Can he trust hoodlum partner Dan Duryea and his wife Yvonne De Carlo, a slinky femme fatale who just happens to be Lancaster’s ex wife? Remade by Steven Sodebergh as The Underneath (1995), this is a moody, stylishly executed piece. The eagle-eyed will spot a young Anthony Curtis in his film debut. Eureka have shown an admirable commitment to present the films of Billy Wilder. His satire A Foreign Affair (1948) now makes its Blu-ray debut. Jean Arthur is an Iowa congresswoman on a fact-finding mission to post-War Berlin. Among those she encounters is singer Marlene Dietrich. A bittersweet treat.

Also showing………

Television highlight of the week is I Am Not Your Negro (2016), Raoul Peck’s documentary exploring race prejudice in America through an unfinished work by James Baldwin that focused on the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.  A wise, thought-provoking film that couldn’t be more relevant. If you want escape rather than engagement then Alastair Sim is at his most droll in the dark comedy The Green Man (1956) (Talking Pictures TV, Sunday 21 June, 10.30am) and the original The Magnificent Seven (1960) (BBC2, Sunday 21 June, 2pm) provides the perfect excuse to head west in the company of Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and the gang.

GFT temporary closure

GFT will remain closed until at least 14 December, due to restrictions on cinemas in areas under tiers 3 and 4.

We hope to re-open soon and will keep you updated.

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