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Glasgow Film Festival 2021: Our coverage...

Glasgow FF 21

by David Anderson Cutler

So...it's that time of the year...Glasgow Film Festival time!

And, what a different year it is too! Sitting at home...with all the films at our fingertips! Oooh to be back at the Glasgow Film Theatre...next year!

Here are the films we're going to be watching...as always, this is a provisional list...no doubt, some films will be added.

Why not join us! Tickets can be purchased here - if you have any recommendations that are not on our viewing schedule...pray, do tell us. And, if you want to comment on any of the films, agree or disagree with us...pop it in an email and we'll add it to this page - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Here are the films...


February 24...

Minari @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Minari
by Lee Isaac Chung

When a film is shrouded in this much praise and tipped for multi-Oscar glory...you take immediate notice. But...is it all just hot-air-hype? Erm...have to say: Yes!

Basically, it's a family film that doesn't really say very much...although it had the potential to say a helluva lot. Lee Isaac Chung has made a competent, safe film...but, not a spectacular film.

This is the pursuit of the American Dream - if you want it, really want it...you have to be absolutely ruthless...not simply acquiesce to a water diviner! There is a smidgen of controversy that - if taken further - would have given this film the gravitas it so desperately needed. A sickly, cute kid will get all those parental 'oohs' and 'aaws' and 'aahs' - cute may be able to sell a film [to a certain degree]...but, it certainly won't deliver that kick  in the proverbial backside that this story so needed to do. The laughing-at-the-natives with the natives 'laughing' back...there's the conflict, that's the statement...this is the kick! The conflicts here are between a forward-looking [rural] husband and a resistant-to-change [urban] wife, between man and nature...for sure, these are mighty juicy conflicts but they don't go anywhere nor say anything. But, hey, there's a mighty cute kid running around...who needs conflict!?!

For a certain demographic, this is a crowd-pleasing joy. For those who want something more challenging, something with a bit more succulent meat on its ambitious bones...well, you will have to look elsewhere. Try: Parasite!

Creation Stories @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Creation Stories
by Nick Moran

In his time, Alan McGee ruffled quite a few feathers, made a shed-load of money, became completely drug-addled...and, brought generation-defining music to the ears of that generation [and beyond]. It was only a matter of time until his story made it onto the silver screen...here it is, along with a post-bag of producers [what do too many producers do?!?] and a crock of curious cameos. Creation Stories is a giddy, kaleidoscopic version of the events.

With Danny Boyle as exec prod, Irving Welsh as co-writer and Ewan Bremner as Mr Creation himself...you would be hard-pressed not to compare this with a certain generation-defining film of yesteryear [any guesses?]...and, with Nick Moran's reminiscent direction...this has all the perceived hallmarks of being the Trainspotting for this generation. But...it's not! How can this brash and brazen approach appeal to the super-sensitive snowflakes? Well...it can't! And all those naysayers who have already condemned this film...are just too young to appreciate it!

To fully appreciate this story, you have to have been part of that excessive time. This is all about the end of eras and encroaching middle-age told with a retrospective flourish, self-mockery and a take-no-prisoners ethos...together, with the obvious nods to the obvious. Having Richard Jobson [The Skids frontman] playing the conservative, music-hating father is hysterical...c'mon The Skids were as punk as butter. Tony Blair as the Chesire Cat. Peter Mandelson as the reigning queen. Jimmy Saville...chilling. And...a haunted Malcolm McLaren.

The one thing that age does bring is atonement. With age, all the once-suffered disillusions and delusions are brought into a context...they become memories. Some will please, many will anger and most will be regretted. This is what Creation Stories does for those who were there [and survived], it's a reminder of those excesses, those mad, bad wonderful times.


February 25...

In-the-Shadows @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021In the Shadows
by Erdem Tepegoz

Everything you learned in film school...throw it away. Well...what can film school teach you anyway? A few technical bits and tricks, cinematic conventions and rules that dare not be broken...that's about it! What they can't teach is artistry, vision and composition [although they may pretend that they do teach these]...don't be fooled, they don't, they can't. Remember...those who can't...teach.

Erdem Tepegoz can. In the Shadows is a start-to-finish visual feast. Practically, every frame has been composed with artistic bleakness - from the colour palette to the soundscape. This is a dystopia without any wild special effects. This is sure-footed misery on an industrial scale.

A seriously powerful political statement is being made...with the bare minimum of words. As they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. Here, those pictures tell the story without giving too much away...in fact, without giving anything away. No explanations are given nor are they needed...it doesn't matter who owns the means of production. This is about survival...this is where water is free. He/she who controls the tap...well, that's a metaphor that can be applied to many a contemporary regime! If this is the future, it's grim. If this is a warning...take notice!

It's bleak, quietly belligerent...and, it is - without a shadow of doubt - a beautiful, unsettling work of [political] art.

The-Mauritanian @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021

The Mauritanian
by Kevin Macdonald

Ask any idealistic law student why they want to practice law, 99% will answer the same way...to help, to make a difference. 1% will say...for the money. The strange reality is...99% of lawyers end up doing it for the money and 1% actually manage to help, to make a difference. Nancy Hollander is one of those 1%ers. Stuart Couch is a lawyer with a conscience - a rare commodity indeed - and, a commodity that has no place in a courtroom - especially when you are the prosecution!

Kevin Macdonald's film is a no nonsense account of a grave [and continuing] injustice. The legal 'excesses' have been pared down to make it more accessible...with the conflict between the legal camps being surprisingly perfunctory. The same cannot be said for the torture sequences, no punches were pulled, Tahar Rahim delivers a remarkable performance. It will shock. It is meant to shock. And...it will - unquestionably - divide opinion.

In defence of your country, in the pursuit of justice...where do you draw the line? When do you cross that line? Should the word of law prevail always? Innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent...those held in Guantanamo are given no presumption of innocence, they are treated as guilty...without charge. The law has always been both ass and lion...it all just depends on how well or badly it serves you!

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks - this film will be branded - without doubt - by many, as anti-patriotic propaganda. But, stop...those that think that...think...if you were held in solitary confinement for 14 years without charge and subjected to torture...what would you do?

Mohamedou Ould Slahi has forgiven his captors.

When a film makes you think and question...that's a film!


February 26...

My Wonderful WandaMy Wonderful Wanda
by Bettina Oberli

Greed and exploitation...that's what this game is all about. Throw in great big dollops of immorality and the stage is set...for a contrived family meltdown.

Those who are exploited can also exploit, Wanda exploits her situation without a blink of guilt in her eye. To begin with, she's admirable...and then, depending on your point of view, she's not. She's a Polish single mother and a carer...who 'cares' a little too much for her bedridden, elderly, wealthy employer [in Switzerland]...sterile intimacy may be beyond her remit...but, she is rewarded...with ample money and an unexpected [?] bartering baby. A cash calf, so to speak...Bettina Oberli stretches that metaphor a little too far by introducing an actual cash cow into the film! An unnecessary contrivance.

The whole thing really does become a bit of a well-acted mess as secrets and lies, deceits and desires are all unfurled. But when the old man makes a remarkable recovery and the cow makes its appearance, plausibility makes its final exit. Is Wanda wonderful? Well, she certainly knows how to milk a situation. As a statement on economic migration, it does leave a rather bitter aftertaste...but, it does try to redeem itself with a little sweetness...it's just a case of...too little, too late.

SteelersSteelers: the World's First Gay Rugby Club
by Eammon Ashton-Atkinson

Tighten your bootlaces…for this is…an emotional [and, I really mean emotional] ride. Most worthy of the price [and, I didn’t even have to pay…but, I would have] for the ticket. Seriously, I’m a little [okay, completely] undone…emotionally speaking [aaargh too many emotions!].

F&*K, it’s rugby…I know absolutely nothing about rugby. Now…and, if I was 20 (okay, let me be truthful [for once] maybe 30) years younger…I would, after watching this and chatting with the director, be slap-bang in the middle of any old scrum, wherever it was…in a muddy field…having the time of my bloody life…with like-minded pals…and, being…just me.

Because…that’s what Steelers have done, are still doing and will continue to do…it’s not only all about sport, Steelers have created a safe [albeit a bit rough] space…in other words, a community. Isn’t that such a beautiful word: Community.

Eammon [the director] was in Washington D.C., I was in Glasgow…his film and Zoom [via this consistently fabulous festival] brought us together for an oh-too-brief time.

I immediately gushed, congratulating him on his film...admitting that tears had streamed down my face. He said that's how he gauges the success of his film...by how many tears are shed. Well, babycakes, success is deservedly yours...there won't be a dry eye in the virtual cinema.

We chatted and I deferred [a bit]…I still can’t talk about the bullying…he can. I still can’t talk about my mental health as it was then. He does. Not only can he talk about those crippling issues, he faced them head-on. The result…this cathartic film…and, if it wasn’t for sustaining a concussion, he would have never had made it! Thank gawd for concussion [that’s a bit weird, isn’t it?!?].

Catharsis is wholly personal...and, for a film, treacherous territory…simply because, [being so personal] catharsis can act as a barricade against an audience. No fear here, that barricade is thankfully avoided. Along with Eammon...Nic, Simon and Andrew share their stories. The key word is 'share' - they all have a commonality, not just rugby...but, shared experiences. Hurtful and harmful experiences that most of us have had to endure at some point in our lives. The message delivered is resoundingly clear...it's good to talk. As they say, a problem shared...

This all might sound a bit on the heavy side...it's not. There is so much joy and beauty to be had within these 80 minutes...some of the music will have you welling up, some of the photography will make you gasp, there's even some drag...and, as for the legs, well...let's not dwell upon those too much! All hot around the collar!

Eammon did it all, filming, editing, producing...what he didn't know, he learnt from YouTube videos! The result of this labour of love...a deeply personal, positive and polished film…given to all of us…to be shared. Thank you.

Riders Of JusticeRiders of Justice
by Anders Thomas Jensen

They don't come much better than this. It's violent, really violent. And, dark...with some serious outlandish comedy.

Mads Mikkelsen is riding on the crest of a wave, following on from the outrageously good Another Round, Mads sports a hectic beard and shoots to kill...aided and abetted by his three 'overly intelligent' sidekicks.

Now...if this had been played for laughs, it would have stumbled and fallen flat on its face pretty early on. Because...this is no laughing matter. This is the 5 stages of grief...interpreted like you have never seen before. This is all chaotic theory, vicarious psychology, staggering statistics, margins of error...and, blood.

Issues bounce all over the place...from social awkwardness to the autistic spectrum, from child abuse to male prostitution. On scene, mid-way, encapsulates the absolute terror and extent of abuse that has taken place. This is cinematic punctuation that punches a knockout...butt-naked, on all fours...in a field. Jaw-drop and tears.

This really is a dozen fairground attractions all rolled into one...it's exhilarating, thrilling and terrifying. A stunning film.

Bridging the Gap - Turbulence

Against The Tide Racing Stock Everyman Harmonic Spectrum

A mighty fine collection of short films - about how we cope. As a collection, it reminded me of Kipling's "If-" - we are all such marvellous creatures!


February 27...

Poppy-Field @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Poppy Field
by Eugen Jebeleanu

It's one of those films you'll either 'get' - or, you won't. What it will most certainly do is to make many a person's blood boil...for quite a few reasons.

If you can feel empathy and sympathy for a gay, closeted [rather toxic] policeman who attacks a former lover to save face in front of his colleagues...then, you will get this film. Internalised homophobia is as complex as it is reprehensible. Poppy Field is less complex and more reprehensible...if Cristi [the gay-bashing homo] had been portrayed with a sliver of compassion, regret, shame...then, maybe, you could feel something other than fury and disgust towards him. But no...this man is toxic, difficult...an obdurate thug.

Some may say he's 'wresting' with his sexuality...what a load of bollocks. The film opens with him quite happily wrestling with his boyfriend's bollocks [figuratively speaking], that boyfriend disappears entirely from the film soon after...why? It was a perfect way to frame the film...happy homo, bad homo...and, back to being the happy, hypocritical homo!

Not only does this film lack structure, the constantly moving hand-held camera distracts more than it informs. Then, slap, bang in the middle of the mayhem everything stops with a ludicrously long conversation about a lost dog - it makes no sense whatsoever. Padding for a threadbare script.

So...what is Eugen Jebeleanu & [writer] Ioana Moraru trying to say? Nothing subtle nor complex...Romanian police are homophobic, religious nutcases are homophobic...Romania is homophobic...no surprises there. Keep your head down and become a noxious chameleon...remember 'don't ask, don't tell' - this is exactly why that policy was so dangerous.

This film does a massive disservice to all those people who are fighting for equality in Romania. If Cristi cannot stand up and be the man that he is...then, what good is he? The same can be asked of this film...without even a glimmer of hope, what good is it?

Underplayed @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Underplayed
by Stacey Lee

Well...this was a bit of a surprise! Not what was expected at all. There is a bit of a non-issue flying around that screams of positive discrimination [what an oxymoron that is]...ignore it and you will treated to some great stories and even better music!

Oooh but those gender politics keep on niggling away. Look...if you really want to find out how difficult it is to become a successful DJ...ask those who are [hopefully] up-and-coming and those who have totally failed. Asking the most successful DJs [who command astronomical fees] is really rather redundant. They've made it, regardless of their gender! Stacey Lee's insistence really does become a bit of a moot point.

But...the question [still] remains: Is it really more difficult to be a successful female DJ than it is being a male DJ? Surely, the music speaks for itself...no matter what gender is playing it?

Gotta say, remembering the pioneers of [female] electronic music was good...but, hey, neither a nod nor mention of Laurie Anderson. What about Queen Maxine, Princess Julia, MC Kinky? All pioneers, in London, in my day...hey, anyone remember Trade circa 1990-5? When Queen Max played, we were there!

The film - unfortunately - flounders under the weights of incomplete research and an unsubstantiated bias...ignore those and you're in for a wee treat!

Jumbo @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Jumbo
by Zoé Wittock

Not really going to say too much about this...simply, because, ripping it to shreds would be [way] too easy. Apart from the lighting that is...which, for an Indie film, is spectacular.

Here's what it's about, in a nutshell. A young-ish, socially awkward woman falls in love with an amusement park ride...this ain't platonic, this is carnal. She humps a Twister!

Yes, yes, yes...it can all be construed as a metaphor...but, when a metaphor is this blatant, ludicrous and unimaginative [how can shagging a machine be unimaginative?!?]...it really does become a bit of a wreck...and, that's not a spoiler

Congratulations to Zoé Wittock for raising the €2,500,000 budget...and, for getting this [hopefully metaphorical] nonsense made. But, to be honest a worthless, soon-to-be-forgotten endeavor. Money squandered, time squandered...c'mon, shagging a Twister! There are better ways to waste your time.

Black-Bear @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Black Bear
by Lawrence Michael Levine

An odd film...bear with it and it will reward you! Yes...that pun was intended.

This first part is a little difficult to handle, hinging on verbosity and succumbing to melodrama...where can it possibly go to from where [this part] ends up!?! Well...to somewhere that surprises and titillates in ways you wouldn't expect! Part 2...is a hoot. A wee comedic gem that opens a window into [and onto] the world of independent film-making. Basically, everyone is either stoned, drunk, sycophantic, clueless, pretentious...or, sexually charged! To be more accurate...each and every character is a combination of most of them.

It may be a cheeky observation...but, it might be a truthful one - have you ever been on the set of a low-budget, independent film? It really is not that far from truth...[indie] writers and directors [always] believe they are making the next great masterpiece...only to discover that their final product falls foul of their expectations. The technical crew just get on and do their jobs ignoring the artistic bull...with varying degrees of competency.They live for the wrap party.

This is life mimicking art mimicking life...bemusing and bamboozling it may be...but, entertaining, it most certainly is.

Poly-Styrene @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
by Celeste Bell & Paul Sng

I bought The Day the World Turned Day-Glo [still got got it on orange vinyl!]. That was it...to me, Poly sounded like Johnny on Helium...without the defiance that I so wanted [then].

Once in a while, I do pop on the Bollocks - just to remind myself...of that time, how awful the music was and how much [angsty] fun I had being a young punk...with a slice of toast hanging around my neck! I was defiant...my mum told me: You look silly. 

But, as we all do...punks grew up [well, most of them did] and musical tastes change...the tense is correct...coz there ain't no punks anymore!

Punk was always a tragedy waiting to happen...Sid was [and will always be] the epitome...all the others drifted away, into middle-age, strayed towards conservatism, lost their ideologies, ended up in rehab...or, in some kind of cult. A few tried to reignite themselves...fueled, no doubt, for the need of money...seeing the [partial] Pistols reformed, watched by middle-aged mortgagors [pogoing] was the least punk thing I had ever witnessed. Punk was for the kids...as for the kids from punk, this is - quite possibly - the first account...

Poly, oh, Poly, oh Poly...who knew...what a troubled woman you were? What a wonderful ode to your life...by your daughter, Celeste.


February 28...

VictimsVictim(s)
by Layla Zhuqing Ji

The bullies and the bullied...always a hard watch...and, this is no exception.

This is dichotomy heaven...or, hell. Rich kid, poor kid, clever kid, stupid kid, straight kid, gay kid, good kid, bad kid...a bully and the bullied, a killer and the killed. It doesn't take long before you know who is who...this is an investigation as to why the killing happened.

Xianjun Fu delivers a startling performance...pity the same can't be said about two of his tormentors - goonish to the nth degree, an unfortunate and unnecessary blight to the film as a whole. That aside...the dichotomies continue with the [opposing] mothers and a subplot showing that girls are just a competent at bullying as boys. Gawd...these kids are cruel...and, incredibly stupid. They film themselves torturing their victims - what has happened to our society? Layla Zhuqing Ji doesn't hold back on either her opinion or her judgment.

Tradition gets it, family gets it, China gets it, Smart phones get it. A bleak, tragic and horrifying film, incredibly well-made ...apart from those two goons!

ApplesApples
by Christos Nikou

L-O-V-E Apples, there’s delicacy and detail…in every frame. And, the soundtrack is a beauty in itself.

This is a debut feature from Mr Nikou...they really don't come much better than this. Layered, textured and oh so very clever. The writing defies the expectation.

There's a pandemic that renders its victims - in an instant - without memories or sense of self. A terrifying prospect indeed. Yet, there is no terror, no fear...and, for the victims, no frustration. People with identity cards are rescued by family and friends...but, and this is where the real sadness sets in, there are those who have no-one, who carry no i.d. - who become lost. These 'unclaimed' enter a program to create new identities - with calm dedication, they carry out their increasingly bizarre instructions to the letter...taking polaroids of every achievement. These antics are often hysterical, always bamboozling, simply sad.

When the penny drops...a sharp intake of breath is guaranteed. This is impeccable film-making imbued with an astounding emotion. A perfect film.

HandsomeHandsome
by Luke White

Brothers...always wanted a brother, a relationship I know absolutely nothing about. Some brothers are solid, some drift away...and some, through no fault of their own, are worlds apart.

This is an adventure...of sorts. An unusual adventure at that! Alex has Down's Syndrome, supported living really is not a prospect for him. He needs round-the-clock support and care...which his parents provide. Nick, his older brother, has taken that mantle of care upon himself...for a short while. Obviously, looking toward the future...when the brothers' parent won't be able to cope...the inevitable.

This is reality...and, as with all realities, hard decisions must be made. When making those decisions, life-changing decisions, you have to be utterly truthful. Nick finds his truth and it is a hard truth...but, a realistic one. To commit this to film...takes balls. So...for that we applaud you. We also applaud this film...learning disabilities occupy a broad spectrum, the able can suffer frustration when their transference is simply not picked up. Alex lives in his own world where he just wants to feel safe and loved...in return, he'll warm your heart.

A beautiful and brave film. Thank you for your truth.


March 1...

Truman & TennesseeTruman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
by Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Oooh what incredible lives these men led. All jet-set and insecurity.

Their similarities are balanced by their differences [and, quite possibly, their indifferences]...but, bitchiness and jealousies - towards each other -reign supreme. And, there is just a hint, a smidgen...of unrequited, non-platonic love!

Both these writers - in their latter days - bit the hand that fed them...Hollywood gets it in the neck! Then, Truman Capote shot himself in the foot...with the partially published Answered Prayers...a 'tabloidy' tell-all that cost him dearly, friends and respect. Truman's demise - literally speaking - was self imposed. Whereas Tennesse just couldn't reach his previous high - The Night of the Iguana heralded the beginning - and, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore [later filmed as the brilliantly atrocious Boom!] concluded his literary success.

Their demises led to their last commonality...Dr Feelgood, that drug dealing doctor to the stars...how many lives did he ruin? Well, that's an other film entirely. Truman & Tennessee died within 18 months of each other. Tennessee, February 25, 1983 (aged 71). Truman, August 25, 1984 (aged 59). Perhaps, Truman missed his old jousting pal [so much] and died of a broken heart? No, alas...they both died from substance and alcohol abuse.

Like all anecdotal and archival biographies...subjectivity is always an issue, what's been left out? Why include that? Forget all that, Lisa Immordino Vreeland chose to neither judge nor invent an obtuse narrative...instead, she allowed the literary giants to speak, in their own words, from beyond the grave. It's enchanting, entertaining and really rather sad.

A lovely, lovely film.


March 2...

Big-vs-Small

Big vs Small
by Minna Dufton

Two extreme sports...two determined women. One incredible film.

Surfing and free-diving are vocations...not only do you need skill, you need balls...great big brave balls-made-of-steel! You may like the idea...but, would you surf a 20+ metre wave? Would you free-dive [i.e. holding your breath] under ice? There really has to be a certain amount of madness involved...but, these two women are completely grounded...in their straddling of sanity and insanity!

In my other job, I'm a Scuba-diving instructor, I have seen both surfers and free-divers do incredible things. I've also seen them do some incredibly stupid things. Their management of risk and their justifications for taking those risks make for some interesting [and mind-blowing] conversations...this is the only thing that this film lacked. But, hey...you can't have everything!

There will always be drama and beauty with these two sports...rather going deep into the psyche, Minna Duffon's film basically states that no matter your stature, background, gender...if you have the balls [and the vocation], you can do what these women are doing. Call it a 'calling'...but, you have to be called! This film will serve as a calling card for a few...the others will just sit back a little awe-inspired!


March 3...

SweetheartSweetheart
by Marley Morrison

An angst-ridden teen reluctantly goes on holiday with her family! What could possibly go wrong? Or, right?

Recently, there was Make Up - a lesbian-coming-of-age horror, set in a holiday camp. Now this, a lesbian-coming-of-age rom-com story...set in a holiday camp. 

The similarities don't end there...these are the debut features by their filmmakers...and, both films really do paint a fairly gloomy lesbian picture. Where Make Up continues with the gloom...Sweetheart, thankfully, makes a permanent detour into and onto a more-sweet-than-bitter terrain. Having said that...Sweetheart's AJ is an absolute moaning horror...if anyone was in need of a happy pill...it's her!

AJ's sexuality is not an issue for her family...which - it would seem - pisses her off even more than how pissed off she already is...c'mon, she's 16 and never been...kissed. She's undeniably and absolutely sexually frustrated! Remember those mad masturbatory days?!? Some of us haven't waved them goodbye!

In walks the 'woman' of her dreams...the stage is all set...for what could have been a familiar, reminiscent comedy about embarrassing [teen] sex, bad [teen] manners and messy, premature orgasms [they happen to all of us]! Alas, no! This has more sand and less grit.

Marley Morrison has played it a little too safe [and sweet]...with predictability taking centre-stage rather than red-cheeked embarrassment...if the intention was to make a family-foible-friendly film...then, hat's off...success.

But...to make your mark in this industry, you have to ruffle a few feathers...rather than preen them...otherwise, you'll end up directing daytime soaps!

And...no trailer, no poster...for a film festival premiere. Fire the PR!!! 

Limbo @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Limbo
by Ben Sharrock

Many years ago [1983 to be precise], a film came out of Scotland that made an indelible impression, Bill Forsyth's wondrous Local Hero.

Limbo - nearly 40 years later - makes more than an indelible impression, it will move you to the core. Ben Sharrock has taken his obvious inspiration and ran with it...without letting up for one second. 

The absurdities of cultural indoctrination and appropriation. The majesties of memories and mothers. The sadnesses of being lonely and lost. This is Limbo - a place where hopes and dreams are impotently and patiently awaited, where fear and terror are a mere stone's throw away.

There is a ton of humour...but, no amount can gloss over the clagging inhumanity and the clawing condescension. Home secretaries [past and present] have grief, suffering, blood and death on their collective hands. Whether they be refugees or migrants...they remain displaced, misplaced and out-of-place...strangers in a stranger land.

One man - the Freddie Mercury adoring Farhad - has fled his country because of his sexuality...he is a bona fide refugee...and, delivers a line that will cause your heart to shatter. He draws that fine line between comedy and tragedy...with perfect precision.

There are others who have ambition beyond their reality...and then, there's Omar.

Amir El-Masry...bemused, bamboozled, beguiled...and, blank. A stunning, understated performance...not a boy, not yet a man...still, his vulnerability brings out the protective...Farhad assumes that particular mantle. 

There's a  line: I used to cry myself to sleep before my tears ran dry.

Limbo will make you feel, question, think...and, cry...until you have no tears left. Sad tears, happy tears, embarrassed tears. Beauty should always make you cry. And...Limbo is an undeniable beauty.

Thank you. 


March 4...

Wildland @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Wildland
by Jeanette Nordahl

Well...as a statement on Danish social services, it - basically - kicks them - square - in the ghoulies. What incompetent fools they are...placing a teenage girl with a known criminal family just after her mother dies! Okay...so the family is estranged family...with relatives like these, who needs enemies!?!

This is not a pleasant film...not even by any stretch of the wildest imagination. It's not exactly predictable...but, you know it's going to end in someone's tears.

Why 'they' changed the title is bewildering, [the literal translation] Flesh & Blood really does encapsulate everything that this film is all about...these are demi-gangsters à la Snowtown as opposed to those in Animal Kingdom - similarities with both films are too obvious to ignore. When walking on familiar territories, it's best to do so with new boots...there were no new boots with this outing!

There's a whiff of lesbian subtext...mind you, it is just a whiff. Teenage, grieving girl meets feisty, assertive older girl...well, let's just say...it's a one-way street...and, a bit of a dead-end. Is she questioning her sexuality? Well, we'll never know. In that respect, the film leaves you dangling...but, in a split second, you come crashing to the ground. The finality of it all is a brutal, short, sharp shock on the senses.

It certainly is a film that will leave you with a loose jaw. Not bad for a debut...but, a pair of new boots would have kicked it into a brand new territory. 

Gagarine @ Glasgow Film Festival 2021Gagarine
by Fanny Liatard & Jérémy Trouilh

Just go with it! This is magical...with a bit of social realistic grit.

 


March 5...

Rosas Wedding The Old Ways Surge Run Hide Fight Tina 2021


March 6...

Dreams On Fire Vicious Fun Cowboys Out Of This World


March 7...The last day...

There Is No Evil Gunda Spring Blossom