Mini-festivals bombard Glasgow Film Theatre’s October programme as it strives towards building a marketplace of ideas, styles and genres. It’s an eclectic mix which pits heavy cinema and bleak subject matter against celebrations of filmmaking talent and a revitalisation of some old classics: everything you need as the impending winter nights draw closer.
Running throughout the month is Shocktober, featuring ‘extreme cinema’ designed to provoke debate and rattle its audience. Kicking things off is the new Lars von Trier film Melancholia, set to be released in the UK today, about two sisters whose relationship intensifies after an unknown planet threatens to collide with the Earth. Other highlights include Chopper, Seul contre tous (I Stand Alone), Happiness, A ma soeur! (Fat Girl) and Audition – all introduced by academic and artistic guest speakers. Coupled with the chance to discuss von Trier’s career as part of GFT’s Screen Salons, the season sets the pace for the rest of the month.
Breaking up the weighty landscape is the annual Scotland Loves Anime festival, now in its second year. Celebrating the wealth of creative design in Japanese animation, GFT finds space to screen Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D, Interstella 5555, Colourful, A Letter to Momo and Hotarubi no Mori E. Providing an action-packed alternative to the powerful international cinema pieces, SLA is a chance to embrace the bustling culture of eastern animation while escaping from the more controversial side to this month’s exhibits.
GFT also welcomes the Scottish première of Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk about Kevin. Adapted from Lionel Shriver’s 2003 novel of the same name, the film follows Eva (Tilda Swinton) as she documents the events that lead up to her son’s massacre of students and teachers at his high school. Dealing heavily with the nature versus nature debate in its quest to unearth the behavioural factors which can lead to such a tragic event, the film mirrors Ramsay’s interest in death and the emotional fractures it generates. Similar to Morvern Callar and Ratcatcher (of which there is a screening of the latter on Sun 23rd), all three films assess the social parameters which contribute towards murder, suicide and the lasting effects.
Beefing up the rest of the month is the cinema’s Classics season and its Short Film Events. West Side Story, Days of Heaven and La Piscine are all screened on new digital prints, refreshing some well known favourites, while Dario Argento’s 1970 murder-mystery debut The Bird with the Crystal Plumage gets a rare showing. The Manhattan Short Film Festival also features, running ten films selected from 598 entries, with many previous winners going on to achieve Oscar success. Both events offer that polarised, rounded take on cinema, from the budding filmmakers whose shorts may elevate them into the professional arena to the classic films which have earned their place in the hall of fame.
Bustling and lively, October sets up a flourishing academic and artistic landscape to feed into November and the arrival of Glasgay! GFT’s diverse programme caters for the masses, from heavy-duty apocalypse movies to the budding film projects of the world’s young directors, and it’s a month which allows for as much discussion as it does viewing.