Something for the Weekend (28 - 30 August)

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

There are just a few sleeps to go until the GFT re-opens. It almost feels like counting the hours until Santa pays a visit. We know it can’t be business as usual but it is a huge milestone on the road to normality. To everything there is a season and that means that it is more than time for me to vanish back into the shadows. Over the past few months, I’ve tried to offer a range of suggestions to keep movies in your heart whether through digital releases, online festivals, Blu-Ray arrivals or those little gems twinkling invitingly from the television schedules. If only one person has decided to watch an Olivia De Havilland film then it has all been worthwhile. Work is progressing on the 2021 Glasgow Film Festival and I’ve already seen a few titles that I can’t wait to share with you. Until we meet again, here are a few final recommendations...

The Return Of GFT

Available: from Monday 31 August

The wait is over. As you must know, the Glasgow Film Theatre doors re-open this coming Monday (31 August). In the immortal words of Groucho Marx: 'Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlour.' Joy is unconfined. The opening week is full of films that you will want to catch and I would point you in the direction of Les Misérables which opens on 4 September. Ladj Ly’s blistering, pulse-racing debut was a Cannes prize-winner, an Oscar contender and played to packed houses at the 2020 Glasgow Film Festival. Inspired by the riots that ripped through France in 2005, it follows a trio of plain-clothes police officers working in the Paris suburbs, as racial tensions reach boiling point. A mix of social drama and nail-biting thriller that couldn’t be more timely. In complete contrast, GFT also has a preview of Max Richter’s Sleep on 8 September. Natalie Johns' documentary goes behind the scenes of the staging of composer Richter’s monumental eight-hour Sleep which he describes as 'My personal lullaby for a frenetic world. A manifesto for a slower pace of existence.' The screening is followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with Max Richter and his creative partner Yulia Mahr.

Isabelle Huppert Season

Available: MUBI from Saturday 29 August

You may be rushing headlong into the warm embrace of the GFT but you might still be watching the odd film at home. Let’s call it 'blended' viewing. September is certainly a cracking month to make the most of your MUBI membership. From now until November they pay tribute to Isabelle Huppert. Is there a bolder, more adventurous spirit in all of world cinema? Her 50 year career encompasses well over 100 films, a record-breaking 16 César nominations and notable collaborations with Michael Haneke, Claude Chabrol, Claire Denis, Maurice Pialat, Mia Hansen-Love and many others. The season begins with a little seen Joseph Losey adaptation of the Roger Vailland novel The Trout (1982) (available from 29 August) in which Huppert plays a vengeful country girl waging war against toxic masculinity from France to Japan. In the 1960s, Losey had intended the role for Brigitte Bardot. Forthcoming titles include Ursula Meier’s Home (2008) (available from 11 September), Haneke’s The Time Of The Wolf (2003) (available from 19 September) and the touching Lynchian Valley Of Love (2015) (available from 27 September) in which Huppert co-stars with Gerard Depardieu.

Marguerite Duras Season

Available: MUBI from Thursday 3 September

Marguerite Duras (1914-1986) is probably best remembered as the author of the autobiographical novel L’Amant and the screenwriter of Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959). A writer, playwright, social commentator and activist, she was also a filmmaker whose work is all too rarely screened. That is about to change thanks, once again, to MUBI. Their September focus on her screen work includes her most acclaimed film India Song (1975) (available from 16 September) starring Delphine Seyrig as the wife of the French ambassador to India in the 1930s. Bored by her life and the oppressive world that surrounds her, she retaliates by embarking on a spree of casual affairs. Other titles in the focus include Baxter, Vera Baxter (1977) (available from 3 September), an 'opaque' exploration of lost women, with Delphine Seyrig and Gerard Depardieu; and Le Navire Night (1979) (available from 9 September), an intriguing-sounding rarity in which hundreds of men and women use now unlisted telephone lines from the German Occupation to pursue anonymous romances. 

Socrates (Peccadillo Pictures)

Available: selected cinemas from Thursday 4 September

Alexandre Moratto’s impressive first feature Socrates was made under the auspices of the Quero Institute - a programme aimed at Brazilian teenagers that fosters social inclusion through filmmaking. That may sound a little on the worthy side but the film is a plaintive, beautifully told story of 15-year-old Socrates who is cast adrift after the sudden death of his mother. Christian Malheiros looks like a young Denzel Washington and makes Socrates an engaging character, hungry for work and any chance to prove his worth. Unable to pay the rent, fearful of being taken into care, he does everything to create a life for himself and even has a taste of romance with fellow worker Maicon (Tales Ordakji). Nothing is easy for him in a film that has an echo of Moonlight and the spirit of a Ken Loach film. 

Also Showing...

Television choices for the weekend kick off at the stroke of midnight on Friday when Talking Pictures TV screen Nicolas Roeg’s mind-boggling, one-of-a-kind The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) starring, of course, David Bowie. If you want to get in the mood for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet at GFT then you can catch Inception (2010) on ITV2, Saturday 29 August at 8pm). If you want to go a little more vintage then there are plenty of opportunities to catch Humphrey Bogart at his finest this weekend including The Maltese Falcon (1941) on TCM, Saturday 29 August at 10.50am; Action In The North Atlantic (1943) on TCM, Sunday 30 August at 12.20pm); and Casablanca (1942) on TCM, Sunday 30 August at 10.10am. Best tip for the weekend is probably Border (2018) on Channel 4, Sunday 30 August at 12.55am, a bracingly original fusion of twisted fairytale, folklore, police procedural, tragic romance and existential drama, with an extraordinary central performance from Eva Melander.

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