Additional contributions by Ross Miller.
We can’t believe the Glasgow Film Festival is finally over! It’s been an amazing couple of weeks, and week two was packed with more amazing films that made us laugh, cry and, quite frankly, scratch our head in befuddlement. Here’s our picks of the best films from the second week, and a salute to another top year for the GFF.
In just six years, Xavier Dolan has proven himself one of the most distinctive new voices in world cinema. His fifth film focuses on a single mother raising her troubled and violent son but finds hope when a neighbour enters into her life. Bold, stylish and divisive as always, Mommy only adds to Dolan’s stellar reputation.
One of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, this wildly entertaining Spanish-language anthology explores the theme of vengeance over six very distinctive mini stories. Everyone will have a favourite segment (mine is one involving extreme road rage) but most importantly it works as a complete film as well as enjoyably deranged individual tales.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Set in the fictional Iranian ‘Bad City’, this wonderfully unique film follows a lonely, hijab-wearing girl who stalks the streets of the city at night. What exactly she wants is best left to discover on your own. A supremely atmospheric and wonderfully stylish film with an unexpectedly eclectic soundtrack and the ability to constantly surprise.
A Girl at My Door
Bae Doona stars as a new police chief in a small town, who takes in an abused teenage girl; but comes unstuck when ghosts from her past re-emerge. July Jung’s first feature is a gut-wrenchingly taut drama, a story of small-town violence with a modern spin. It’s intimate, brilliantly acted, perfectly paced, and marks Jung out as a talent to watch.
Ron Scalpello’s story of four men trapped in a diving bell at the bottom of the sea is a masterclass in dramatic tension. Like an underwater Gravity, it metes out one dramatic twist after another, slowly illuminating characters as their chances of survival look increasingly gloomy.
As well as our picks, the 2015 Glasgow Film Festival invited 1,100 of the staggering 41,000 GFF attendees to vote on their first-ever Audience Award. And the winner was Radiator.
The feature debut of Tom Browne, Radiator is a low-budget British film about elderly hoarders Leonard and Maria which held audiences rapt with its sensitive, thoughtful examination of love, companionship and co-dependence.
They’ve also asked visiting critics to vote on their favourites for the Critics Choice awards. We’re still waiting on the final count, but our votes went to The Clouds of Sils Maria, While We’re Young and A Girl at My Door.
Now all that’s left to do is keep an eye out for these fantastic small films when they get a cinema release, independent films need all the support they can get, and we salute the Glasgow Film Festival for giving these gems the platform they deserve. ‘til next year guys!