Something for the Weekend (7 - 9 August)


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Papicha

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

When Sir Alan Parker died last week, he was widely celebrated as one of Britain’s most successful and versatile film directors. Music was one constant in a career that ran from Bugsy Malone (1976) and Evita (1996), to Fame (1980) and The Commitments (1991). For me, Shoot The Moon (1982) remains one of his finest achievements as it captures all the blistering heartache of a family hit by separation and the prospect of divorce. It is beautifully acted by Diane Keaton and Albert Finney. The striking thing about Parker is that he was only 58 when he directed his final film The Life Of David Gale which was released in 2003. He claimed that there were at least five films he had written and made in his head that never saw the light of day. These included 'a contemporary anarchic piece - a sort of Glaswegian Commitments' and a long-cherished screen adaptation of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. Even someone with Oscar nominations, BAFTA wins and box office hits to his name couldn’t secure the necessary finance. Parker’s frustrations provide a salutary reminder that every film that does get made is a kind of miracle. Here are some miracles to keep you watching over the coming weekend.

Papicha

Released by Peccadillo Pictures. Watch online and support GFT - follow this link to purchase a virtual ticket and a portion of ticket price will go to GFT. Plus, there's a 10% discount for the first 50 customers.
Also available to watch on: Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player, Barbican On Demand, Video On Demand (UK), Virtual Cinema. 

Fashion is an act of defiance in Papicha, the award-winning feature debut of director Mounia Meddour which had its UK premiere at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. Meddour sets her story in 1997 when Algiers is in the tightening grip of groups seeking to establish an Islamic state. 'Papicha' is Nedjma (Lyna Khoudri), a student of French language and culture. A party girl at heart, she has a passion for dress designing, creating the kind of 'decadent' fashion that could never be bought in local shops. As all the signs of oppression and control intensify, her response is to organise a fashion show that will challenge everything that is forbidden. Her transformation into a feminist warrior is the basis of a rousing, emotional tale with a terrific central performance from Lyna Khoudri.

Perfect 10

Released by 606 Distribution. Watch online and support GFT - follow this link to purchase a virtual ticket and a portion of income from tickets sold will go to GFT.
Available to watch on: Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player

Scottish writer/director Eva Riley’s first feature was a popular title at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. Impressive newcomer Frankie Box stars as teenage gymnast Leigh. Emotionally adrift after the death of her mother, Leigh is an angry, insecure young woman. Then, older half-brother Joe (Alfie Deegan) arrives at the family home and her lonely existence is transformed. Perfect 10 captures the depth of the bond between them with a soulful sensitivity and the result is a heartfelt coming of age story that marks Riley as a talent to watch. 

Young Ahmed

Released by Curzon
Available to watch on: Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 7 August

Recent films from the Dardenne brothers have felt uncharacteristically sentimental and contrived to me. Focused, tightly edited and involving, Young Ahmed (Le Jeune Ahmed) marks a return to form. Ahmed (Idir Ben Addi) is a studious, curly-haired 13-year-old in a small Belgian town. We watch as he hardens into an angry young man. An Imam encourages his desire to become a devout Muslim. His life becomes a constant battle with a family he despises and well-meaning teachers he regards as enemies. An urgent, thought-provoking drama unfolds in a way that aims to make us at least understand someone we come to regard with a mixture of caution and compassion.

The Lady Eve

Released by Criterion Collection
Available to watch on: Blu-Ray from Monday 10 August

Preston Sturges was at the peak of his powers when he wrote and directed this gem of a screwball comedy. Henry Fonda is Charles Pike, the heir to a vast fortune who has spent a year in the Amazon studying snakes. The long voyage home introduces him to Barbara Stanwyck’s chiselling cardsharp, Jean Harrington. Guileless innocence is ensnared by cynical calculation as Jean spots some very easy pickings. Packed with verbal wit and slapstick farce, Lady Eve is a constant delight, buoyed by the fizzy chemistry between Fonda and his favourite leading lady.

Also Showing...

You may have noticed a slight Olivia De Havilland obsession here in recent weeks. I make no apologies as she was one of the true Hollywood greats. I draw your attention to the screening of The Dark Mirror (1946) on BBC2, Saturday 8 August at 2.05pm. It contains a fine double performance from DeHavilland as twin sisters. One of them is a killer, and psychologist Lew Ayres tries to figure out whodunit. 

Come Back Little Sheba (1952) on Talking Pictures TV, Saturday 8 August at 8pm, gave Burt Lancaster an early chance to prove his dramatic mettle. He plays a recovering alcoholic consumed by the disappointments of his life and his marriage to the dowdy, unambitious Lola played by an Oscar-winning Shirley Booth. 

Other highlights of the weekend include Kitty Green’s The Assistant (2019) on Sky Cinema Premiere, Saturday 8 August at 10.10pm. It's a subtle, thought-provoking reflection on the #MeToo era, with an excellent Julia Garner as an assistant to a hot shot movie mogul. 

There is also a chance to catch Terry Gilliam’s 20-years-in-the-making epic The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) on Sky Cinema Premiere, Sunday 9 August at 10.15pm, with Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce. 

BBC Scotland continue their mini Lynne Ramsay focus with Morvern Callar (2001) on Saturday 8 August at 10.30pm, her mesmerising adaptation of the Alan Warner novel, starring Samantha Morton.


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