A Brief Blog on films seen at Glasgow Film Festival.
My first day at Glasgow Film Festival 2014 was an eclectic one. I had swithered over two different films about life in the far North (I love snow and northerly locations), and eventually plumped for Aatsinki: A Story of Arctic Cowboys. This was an unconventional documentary set in northern Finland, on the Russian border, within the Arctic Circle. Where most documentaries make a point of explaining their subjects, this beautiful piece made the point of showing and not telling. It became apparent that the filmmaker Jessica Oreck has an eye for the beauty in small things, and this film progressed, her fondness for her subjects (a family of Reindeer herders, the Aatsinkis) became apparent. Oreck was present for a short Q&A after the film and told how the subjects of the film were the last people to herd wild reindeer, and how their way of life is quickly dying out. An excellent, unconventional documentary giving a glimpse into the lives and surroundings of an isolated people whose way of life is coming to an end.
My second film of the day was The Grand Budapest Hotel, dir. Wes Anderson. As you would expect, this period piece was a quirky comedy, with a stellar cast. The story is based around a rather camp yet rakish concierge of a Grand Hotel in the Eastern fringes of Europe, and his exploits after a rich mistress bequeaths a valuable work of art to him in her will. Monsieur Gustave is played with relish by Ralph Fiennes, and Tony Revolori as his sidekick, the Lobby Boy Zero completes the daredevil double act. As usual, the costumes and design are to die for, and the moustaches are terrific. It’s not exactly Wes Anderson’s best work but it’s very funny, with some terrific cameos (yes, Bill Murray’s in there, with some others who shall remain nameless) and excellent wigs. The cinema was packed, which added to the general hilarity. Highly amusing and entertaining, especially if you like Wes Anderson’s oeuvre.
My final film of Day 1 was the unusual Swedish black comedy LFO. The film is centred around Robert, a sufferer of tinnitus and sonic experimenter, who discovers that he is able to hypnotise people with certain frequencies of sound. He starts experimenting on his new neighbours for fun, but soon things get rather grubby. By turns hilarious and sinister, the film is a veritable maze of twists. Just when you think you’ve sussed what’s going to happen next, the final twist of the movie is a laugh out loud shocker. Best final twist I’ve seen for a long time. I can’t say any more or it will ruin it for you. Go see it if you can.
A fine first day, now I’m ready for Day 2.