Something for the Weekend (21 - 23 August)


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Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allan Hunter is back with his weekly look at the latest news from the film industry, and his pick of the best films to watch over the weekend and beyond.

Years ago, Steven Spielberg famously declared that 'there are only seven genuine movie stars in the world today and Sean Connery is one of them'. Who would disagree? Connery on screen is utterly compelling. There is a panther-like grace and physicality to his presence that is immensely appealing, not to mention the ready wit and lack of vanity in his performances. Connery commits to a character and is never afraid to look silly whether its that orange nappy creation he gamely sported in Zardoz (1973) or the lederhosen-clad dance he carries off with aplomb in Five Days One Summer (1982), partly filmed just along the road at Port Glasgow almost forty years ago.

Connery has a passion for cinema and a fund of stories. He once recalled working on Marnie (1964) with Alfred Hitchcock and asking the master of suspense for any advice he might offer. 'I’d recommend little dogs’ feet,' replied Hitch. A bewildered Sean asked for an explanation. 'Small pauses,' declared the maestro. Apparently Connery had a tendency to speak too quickly.

Sir Sean Connery turns 90 on Tuesday 25 August. He retired from the screen in 2003 after the many 'challenges'  and frustrations of filming The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In different circumstances that birthday would surely have prompted a feast of celebrations and tributes bringing his best work to a screen near you. What is the best of Connery? Well, virtually anything he made with Sidney Lumet, but especially The Offence (1972). His Oscar-winning display of true grit in The Untouchables (1987), his BAFTA-winning performance in The Name Of The Rose (1986), a tender Robin Hood opposite Audrey Hepburn in Robin And Marian (1976), a vainglorious adventurer in John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King (1975). And, of course mister kiss kiss bang bang James Bond. You will have your own favourites but why not mark Sean’s big birthday by watching one of his films. Here are some other recommendations for this weekend……

Perfumes (Curzon)

Available: Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 21 August

Perfumes (Les Parfums) is completely predictable and undeniably sentimental yet there is something hard to resist in its smooth French charm. Emmanuelle Devos stars as Anne, an imperious perfume maker who has the nose of a bloodhound. Smoking is an affront to her nostrils and the mere whiff of a chambermaid’s cheap fragrance is unbearable. Divorced, single dad Guillaume (Gregory Montel) is hired as her new chauffeur. She treats him like a servant but gradually a Driving Miss Daisy-style bond develops between this odd couple. Steering into slightly darker territory than initially expected, this is an undemanding ode to the power of unlikely friendships.

Glasgow Short Film Festival

Available: www.glasgowshort.org

The final weekend of the 2020 Glasgow Short Film Festival is packed with enticing programmes that reflect the unrivalled quality and scope of the curation. Highlights include Scared Shortless (Friday 21 August, 9.30pm), a collection of creepy little chillers from around the globe that includes Bryan M. Ferguson’s Satanic Panic ’87 in which a satanic aerobics tape is unleashed upon the world. Short Waves presents Tomasz Popakul (Saturday 22 August, 6pm) focuses on the award-winning Polish animator whose work includes the widely admired Acid Rain (2019), a coming-of-age story with a difference that reflects a melancholy view of the world and his love for dance music. Girl In The Picture: The Youth Films Of Nobuhiko Ôbayashi (Saturday 22 August, 8.30pm) promises a programme of discovery as it shines a light on the rarely seen 1960s seishun eiga (youth films) of a Japanese director fascinated by family, the ties that bind and the forces that rip those bonds apart. The Festival’s closing night award ceremony is on Sunday 23 August at 8pm.

Buster Keaton: 3 Films (Eureka Entertainment)

Available: Blu-Ray from Monday 24 August

A wonderful Christmas season of Buster Keaton classics was pretty much the start of my serious passion for cinema. The little gifts of joy from a long gone era, complete with piano accompaniments, were a revelation. I watched transfixed, sandwiched between two quietly dozing parents. Keaton remains one of the greats figures of American cinema. An inventive director, his deadpan features, tumbling windmill of a body, daredevil acrobatics and comic timing were and are impeccable. Eureka Entertainment’s dedication to presenting the best of Buster Keaton for modern audiences now includes a trio of features from the most creative years of his film career. All of them are brand new restorations available on Blu-Ray for the first time. The trio comprise feuding families comedy Our Hospitality (1923), Go West (1925) where city slicker Buster tests his skills on an Arizona ranch and College (1927) in which bookworm Buster strives to attain sporting prowess and impress his high school sweetheart. Happy viewing.

Also showing…..

BBC2 provides two excellent reasons for staying home this Friday evening (21 August). Firstly, Greta Gerwig’s gloriously comic, heartfelt coming of age tale Lady Bird (2017) (9pm) featuring Saoirse Ronan and a terrific Laurie Metcalf as her mother, followed by another chance to savour Hope Dickson Leach’s impressive, emotionally charged family drama The Levelling (2016) (12.20am) in which Elle Kendrick stars as a young vet returning home after the sudden death of her brother. 

If you are looking for Sean Connery salutes then you will struggle. BBC2 on Saturday August 22nd repeats the 2015 documentary Sean Connery: In His Own Words (8pm) and follows that with flabby thriller Entrapment (1999) at 9pm which nobody would consider his finest hour.  You will find the humdrum melodrama Another Time, Another Place (1958) (Talking Pictures TV,  Wednesday 26 August, 2.50pm) in which Sean co-stars with Lana Turner and the infinitely superior adventure yarn The Wind And The Lion (1975) (Sony Movies Classic, Thursday 27 August, 9pm)

Other titles worth catching include Richard Linklater’s Oscar-winning Boyhood (2014)(Film4, Sunday 24 August, 11.40am), sprawling documentary Bully, Coward, Victim: The Story Of Roy Cohn (2019) (Sky Documentaries, Saturday 22 August, 9pm), outer space nailbiter Gravity (2013) (BBC1, Saturday 22 August, 8.35pm) and Brian Cox as the original Hannibal Lecter ( “Lecktor” ) in Manhunt (1986) (ITV4, Monday 24 August, 9pm).


All Monday to Friday shows before 5pm have capacity capped at 50% (unless otherwise stated). All other screenings have full unlimited seating capacity (unless otherwise stated).

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