The Social Isolation Film Festival


Like so many of you, we currently find ourselves hunkering down at home, wrestling with conference call technology, exchanging pictures of our new feline colleagues on the work Whatsapp and trying not to drive our partners, children and flatmates round the bend.

It’s easy, staying at home, when the alternative is putting people around you at risk, but we can’t pretend we aren’t missing our beloved GFT and the irreplaceable experience of watching a film on the big screen.

For now, we’re making do with the small screen and there has never been a better time to catch up with everything on our to-watch lists. To keep ourselves entertained during the days and weeks ahead, we’ve curated our very own Social Isolation Film Festival – a line up of phenomenal films you can watch from the comfort of your own home, right now.

Work your way through the programme and then head on over to Twitter to tell us what’s on your social isolation watch list, using the hashtag #athomewithGFT

Read to the end for a very special offer for our new and existing CineCard holders.

KOREAN CINEMA FOCUS

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If Parasite has got you hooked on the mastery of Korean cinema, now is the time to delve into the 125 Korean feature films freely available from the Korean Film Archive.

Highlights include Im Kwon-tack’s Sopyonje, which broke box office records in South Korea despite only playing on three screens and rekindled interest in the traditional music of pansori (a type of Korean folk-blues music). This award-winning musical drama follows a family of pansori singers as they try to make a living in the modern world.

The Day the Pig Fell Into a Well is another excellent pick. It’s the very first feature from the acclaimed director Hong Sangsoo, who is frequently dubbed the ‘Korean Woody Allen’.

You can explore all 125 titles via Open Culture – one of our favourite online resources for free film, which also provides access to lots of great classic films and has whole sections dedicated to Hitchcock and Chaplin.

And what’s a Korean strand without the iconic Oldboy? Catch it on MUBI now.

STRANGER THAN FICTION

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The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is keeping the world open to us while our doors our closed. Almost 200 documentaries screened at the festival over the years are available to watch for free via their website.

We’ll also be revisiting some of the fascinating documentaries that have graced our big screens during recent months from the comfort of our sofas. On Amazon Prime, we highly recommend The Kingmaker, which explores the controversial career of Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines. And for all the ‘80s kids out there, enjoy a bit of escapism with Cleanin’ Up the Town, the definitive Ghostbusters documentary. Over on Netflix, look out for Hail Satan?, which chronicles the extraordinary rise of the Satanic Temple, one of the most colourful and controversial religious movements in American history.

CINEMASTERS: FEDERICO FELLINI

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You might think Covid-19 put an end to our Fellini season, but think again! I vitelloni, Juliet of the Spirits, 8 ½ and La Dolce Vita are all available on BFI Player along with a feast of other treats from the great Italian master.

Delve into our La Dolce Vita programme notes here.

WOMEN MAKE FILM

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This year’s Glasgow Film Festival was a celebration of female-led film, and we’re also spoiled for choice on the small screen. Here are just a few of our top picks of recent films from female directors available to watch at home:

Portrait of a Lady on Fire
After two sell-out previews and a phenomenal run at GFT earlier this month, Céline Sciamma’s latest film is bound to be one of the standout new releases of 2020. This simmering, star-crossed romance is a triumph of feminist filmmaking that demands to be seen. Watch it on Curzon Home Cinema now.

Enjoy our Portrait of a Lady on Fire programme notes here. 

Pro tip: if you can’t get enough of Sciamma, you can also catch her earlier film Tomboy on BFI Player.

Harriet
Kasi Lemmon’s extraordinary tale based on the life of American freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and went on to rescue hundreds of other people. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

The Farewell
Lulu Wang’s funny and uplifting tale of a Chinese family’s decision not to tell their grandmother that she has terminal cancer saw Awkwafina become the first Asian woman to win Best Actress at the Golden Globes. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

Atlantics 
Set in Dakar, Mati Diop’s supernatural romance sees a construction worker who drowned at sea in search of a better life abroad return to his young lover in ghostly form and won the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Watch it on Netflix.

A Bump Along the Way
Initially programmed for this year’s Glasgow Film Festival prior to its online release, we can’t recommend Shelly Love’s raucously entertaining comedy enough. A fresh, sassy take on the traditional rom-com starring Bronagh Gallagher as a middle-aged single mother who becomes pregnant after a one night stand, to the horror of her teenage daughter. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

Blow the Man Down 
Another GFF20 pick, Bridget Savage Cole’s atmospheric New England Noir about two sisters trying to cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man will keep you guessing to the very end. And it’s available for free with Amazon Prime.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

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The ICYMI strand includes some of our (and your!) favourite films screened at GFT in recent months, available to watch or rewatch from the comfort of your own living room.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco 
A poignant story of hometowns and how they’re made—and kept alive—by the people who love them. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

Monos 
Described as ‘Apocalypse Now on shrooms’, Monos was one of the most talked about films of 2019, landing the Best Film award at the BFI London Film Festival. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

Click here to read our Monos programme notes.

Bait 
This little independent film took us all by surprise, becoming ‘one of the defining British films of the decade’ according to Mark Kermode. A masterpiece shot on grainy 16mm black and white film, it’s set in a modern-day Cornish village struggling to adjust to the influx of Airbnb, London money and stag parties. Watch it on BFI Player.

So Long, My Son 
If you don’t have time for a three hour Chinese epic while social isolating, then when do you? This film is worth every minute, spanning three decades in the lives of two families, against a backdrop of social, political and human upheaval. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

Click here to read our So Long, My Son programme notes.

NEW RELEASES

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You don’t need to miss out on this month’s new releases just because the cinemas are closed. If you were looking forward to the rest of our March programme, check out Curzon Home Cinema.

Curzon are responsible for releasing a lot of the most interesting must-see indie films in the UK - they picked up Parasite for distribution before any of us suspected just how massive it could be - and they make most of their titles available online too. New releases cost about the same price as a cinema ticket to stream, but their substantial back catalogue titles are usually around £4 each. 

In the coming weeks, in response to the coronavirus impact on cinema releases, Curzon's player will also host the online releases of several new films that we were planning to show at GFT. Bacurau, And Then We Danced and Hirokazu Kore-eda's The Truth are already available, and Fire Will Come, Vivarium, The Perfect Candidate and System Crasher will all follow in the next few weeks. These are all vital films that deserve to find an audience in the UK. While it is heartbreaking for us to not be able to give them the platform they require on our beautiful big screens at GFT, it goes some way to easing the pain to know that these films are being well looked after on Curzon's player.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR CINECARD HOLDERS

Through the generosity of our wonderful partners at Curzon, we are delighted to be able to offer new and existing CineCard holders access to some fantastic films to keep you entertained during these challenging times.

For a limited time, all CineCard holders will receive a 15% discount for Curzon Player’s ‘In Cinemas Now’ selection, which includes many of the films we were due to screen at GFT.

Existing CineCard holders should look out for an email in their inbox with a discount code. If you have not received an email, please contact us at dutymanager@glasgowfilm.org

New CineCard holders can sign up here.

Click here to find out more about this offer.


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