Things The Way They Are is part of the CineChile strand at Glasgow Film Festival. Manic Scandi Pixie Dream Girl Sanna (Ragni Orsal) arrives at her rented accommodation in Santiago, where she’s met by massive beardy, Jerónimo (Cristóbal Palma), who lives in and rents out the rooms in his house to foreigners. Turns out Jerónimo is a bit antisocial and strange, while Sanna is free spirited and easily led. Sanna’s cutesy personality really rubbed me up the wrong way, and we never found out why Jerónimo has that massive beard. Probably my least favourite film of the festival so far.
At last, we come to Black Angel. I admit I have got caught up in the hype over the rediscovery of this film, for personal reasons, but as this is a personal blog that’s fine. I have enjoyed reading about the “quest” Guy Veale went on to find and see this film, as much as I enjoyed the film itself. If you’re not familiar with the backstory, let me explain. Black Angel is a short sword and sorcery film filmed in Scotland, written and directed by Star Wars set designer, Roger Christian. It was screened in the UK, Scandinavia and Australia before The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and was subsequently “lost” and forgotten. Guy Veale saw the short film when he was 5 years old, in Shetland, remembered it as an adult, and set out on a mission to find it and have it rescreened in Scotland. And last night was its first screening in the UK since 1980. The film depicts a valaint knight’s return to plague ridden Scotland after the Crusades (I imagine), and his subsequent battle with death. What struck me most about the film was its use of scenery, and seeing the Highlands as they actually are. The filmmakers didn’t have time to wait for a fine day, so they shot in the drizzle, the light was low and the light meter wasn’t registering so they shot anyway, but got the most amazing shots of sunbeams through the trees. The story is mythical, but the film looks beautiful just as it is, with no frills, bells or whistles. The screening was followed by a great Q&A, where Christian regaled us with tales of inventing the lightsaber and R2D2 and surviving on huge pots of porridge while filming Black Angel. More of this sort of thing!