One of the main goals on my 15 things for 2015 list was to get out and about, particularly to festivals and by myself. January was filled primarily with Oxford trips and chilled weekends so going to Glasgow Film Festival this weekend was a great break of routine.
I decided to take a day off work on Friday, Megabus it up to Glasgow nice and early and have a weekend filled with films, a little bit of touristy stuff, and a catch up with my favourite Scotsman who I met at Camp almost 3 years ago. I had an absolutely amazing time, and not least because of the films. Here’s a mini guide to all of the films I saw on the Friday of the film festival…
Marshland or La Isla Minima (2014)
Glasgow put their films into categories so that you know if you pick films from different categories you’re getting a variety of films. Marshland was from the Window on the World group. Most likely because it’s a Spanish film, and a really good one at that. The brochure describes Marshland as “True Detective set in the Andalusia swamplands” which is pretty spot on.
It’s the beginning of the 1980s and the oppressive Franco era in Spain has just ended. Two teenage girls have disappeared in the Spanish countryside/Swamp lands. It’s up to Pedro and Juan to solve what’s quickly turning into a thrilling murder mystery case. The vivid colours of the marshlands, the detectives who might not be all they appear to be and the misogyny of the Spanish people make this a deeply layered film with all the frolics and far-fetched-ness you would hope it to have.
Also, big shout out to projectionist Malcolm. Apparently, the screening the night before mine had to be cancelled because there were significant technical problems, but after a short delay and a shaky start I’m so glad the festival powered through to let the film have one of only two showings at the festival. That’s one of the things I love about film festivals. When the co-director made that announcement, everyone was so willing to clap for Malcolm and just enjoy the festival and made no bones about the late showing. Just a room of real cinema lovers with respect for the team effort that goes into getting something amazing put in front of us to be enjoyed and loved.
Catch Me Daddy (2014)
I couldn’t go to a British film festival without watching a British independent film. From the unsurprisingly named Best of British collection, this bleak and shocking visual affair comes from music promo director Daniel Wolfe and brother Matthew. Set on the cinematic Yorkshire Moors, Pakistani teenager Laila has run away from her family to live with her white boyfriend Aaron in a Caravan. Her dad has threatened to kill her should she not stop seeing the boy. He then hired two white men to find her as well as a gang of Pakistanis led by Laila’s brother Zaheer.
One of the most powerful things about this film is Laila and Aaron’s relationship. However, you know they’re probably not going to stay together forever. The way there are with each other is genuine, but it’s a relationship built on fear and naivety. Their lack of options coupled with excessive rowing leads to an often glazed outlook on the seriousness of their situation.
The sheer amount of drugs and violence in this movie can get overbearing and got quite annoying. Lke, seriously, does a character have to light up EVERY SINGLE MINUTE? And to some people, the ending would be powerful and disturbing. And it really was, but to me it was an easy exit to a film that got so violent and bloody there was no where else for it to go anyway. But the rest is worth it, really worth it.
Wild Tales (2014)
A contender (but probably not a winner) to the Best Foreign Film category at this year’s Oscars, Wild Tales is made up of 6 separate stories with the thematic link of revenge and the serious flaws of Argentinian society. Each short film is so absurd and absolutely hilarious, and the flaws of its characters often end up being fatal. The best of the stories, however, has to be the beginning and the end. They played out like a surprising sketch show and didn’t allow the audience to guess the outcome of the tale for one second. A fantastic stress busting film, it made my Friday night at the festival.
Were you are Glasgow Film Festival? Have you seen any of these films?