Glasgow Film Festival 2021 Recommendations
Updated: Feb 25
Our top tips on what to watch at the virtual Glasgow Film Festival
Written by Katherine McLaughlin
All dedicated horror fans are sure to have bagged their tickets for the Glasgow Frightfest edition which begins on 5th March, and is hosting multiple UK premieres including Kyle Rankin’s controversial survival thriller Run Hide Fight. Also showing is French noir thriller The Woman With Leopard Shoes, a skewering of 80s serial killer tropes in Vicious Fun, action thriller American Badger, provocative thriller Out of the World and exorcism horror The Old Ways.
The festival kicks off proper on Wednesday 24th February with Lee Isaac Chung’s gorgeous, award-winning and semi-autobiographical drama Minari which follows the lives of a Korean American family as they attempt to start a farm in Arkansas. The soundtrack by Emile Mosseri provides dreamy accompaniment with one of the stars of the film, Yeri Han even contributing haunting vocals to one of the songs.
Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, Frederick Wiseman’s painstaking 4.5 hours documentary and love letter to democracy City Hall and the film that Paul Thomas Anderson calls ‘pure cinema!’ – Victor Kossakovsky’s Gunda are critically acclaimed must-sees. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary then these are some of the titles I recommend:
The World Premiere of music documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché (pictured above) is one not to be missed as it charts the career and life of mixed-race, punk rock singer and founder of X-Ray Spex, Poly Styrene. Compellingly put together and co-directed by daughter Celeste Bell who was left to deal with her mother’s legacy after her death in 2011, it is a revealing portrait of a woman ahead of her time.
Noémie Merlant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) stars in Zoe Wittock’s surreal debut Jumbo – a film about a woman who falls madly in love with a fairground attraction. It speaks to the complex nature of love on so many levels and is swooningly beautiful in its depiction of the right to choose who or what we love. It previously showed at Sundance and Berlin Film Festival (where it was nominated for the Crystal Bear award) and is due out in the summer in the UK from the brilliant Anti-Worlds.
Mads Mikkelson goes off as a grief-stricken man in Anders Thomas Jensen’s brutal and often hilarious Riders of Justice. The less said about this one the better, but it is stylishly directed and has a lot to say on the futility of violent retaliation, as it picks apart masculinity and insecurities by toying with the tropes and very essence of the revenge flick.
Greek director, Christos Nikou’s debut feature Apples is a quietly powerful, darkly funny and ultimately deeply affecting film on the nature of memory, identity and the aftermath of grief. A simple premise; a pandemic of sudden amnesia is hitting the public, with the main character entering an experiment to reintroduce him to society is handled in a playful manner. The film is set in an analogue world where people use polaroid photos to keep selfie-diaries and seek approval by carrying out dehumanising tasks from increasingly insensitive handlers. It’s the nuanced approach that makes the denouement so astoundingly profound as the viewer is left to contemplate the very meaning of existence and our bizarre relationship with modern technology.
Glasgow Film Festival runs from 24th February to 7th March and you can purchase tickets here.