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rrramble visits Glasgow Film Fest


The Glasgow Film Festival logo - a bold, white outline of a rectangle against a black background, with the letters 'G F F' in capitals underneath in bold white lettering

From 10th - 12th March, our fabulous writer Sophie Steele had the opportunity to represent rrramble at Glasgow Film Festival 2023!


Describing itself as 'one of the friendliest film festivals on the planet', Glasgow Film Festival platforms brilliant cinema from all around the world, with the creme de la creme of Scottish film in the spotlight. This year, the festival took place between Wed 1st and Sunday 12 March in locations across Glasgow, online, and in cinema venues across the UK.


As our boots on the ground, Sophie got stuck in immediately - she met some lovely people, conducted interviews, and of course, saw some incredible new cinema. Keep scrolling to get the goss... take it away Sophie!


 

A photo taken by Sophie of some of her tickets for Glasgow Film Festival. The tickets each look the same - a white rectangular ticket with 'Glasglow Film / Theatre' in the top right, and a QR code linking to a customer survey on the top right. In order from top to bottom, the tickets are for L'Immensita, Our Father The Devil, and Hunt Her Kill Her,


Before I get stuck in, I want to share that I feel so fortunate to have had the wonderful opportunity to work as Press at the Glasgow Film Festival. It was so exciting to be covering my first film festival, and I can confidently say the weekend absolutely did not disappoint. To be honest, it actually exceeded my expectations. As a self-diagnosed cinephile, I already knew that spending three days in a cinema was my idea of a great time, but nothing could have prepared me for just how strong the festival programme was. Despite some of the films not being my typical cup of tea, none of them disappointed. I even managed to expand my horizons and find myself enjoying films I really did not expect to, which was such a welcomed bonus.


 

SPOILERS CHECKPOINT - if you read on, you may hear some spoilers about the films Sophie saw. We think you're probably expecting that, but if learning some plot points would suck for you, now's the time to click away.


You're sticking with us? Well, alright then...


 

Reviews



L'immensita


My first film of the festival was my favourite. Honestly, I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did, but L’immensita told its story in such a beautiful way that I couldn't help but fall in love. The shots and camerawork were in complete synergy with the storyline, and created an aura of nostalgia throughout. It was a really lovely exploration of childhood wonder and how the world is perceived through the eyes of someone who is beginning their journey into adulthood and figuring out who they are. While there were no major plot points, the film focused more on providing an insight into the complexities of human relationships and the emotions that accompany a trans child's journey. It also really succeeded in highlighting a common problem for trans youth; parents who love their child but do not understand their needs or how to help them navigate their transition.


Now, as Allison Gardner (the CEO of GFF) said in her intro for the film, Penelope Cruz really does not age. There were so many extreme close ups of her face and there was not a single fine line or wrinkle in sight. And if there is anyone to make crying and smoking look so glamourous, it would be Penelope Cruz. It also must be said that a great film is not great until it has multiple music numbers. L’immensita was just so enjoyable to watch, with sad, melancholic scenes accompanied by some subtly hilarious moments. If you get the opportunity, you really shouldn't miss out on seeing these wonderful on-screen performances and captivating story.



A woman stands in the foreground of the image, looking slightly down, with her shoulders tense. She is a black woman with braids and a septum piercing. Behind her stands a black man, approximately a meter away, wearing a Priest's collar. The man and the room behind him is out of focus, and the walls are tiled.
Still from 'Our Father, The Devil'


Our Father, The Devil


The next film on my schedule was Our Father, The Devil, a French film exploring themes of trauma, revenge, guilt and religion through refugee protagonist, Marie. The film provokes some compelling questions of morality and second chances, and considers 'if good people do bad things does that make them bad people?'. From a technical standpoint, the camerawork was superb - an example of this is a scene when the Catholic Priest (who Marie suspects of being the warlord who slaughtered her family years prior) has entered the kitchen to ask for some more food. The camera stays focused on her, while he is seen through the reflection in the oven - almost as if he is a ghost - and the viewer is forced to put themselves into Marie’s psyche and engage with her psychological journey throughout the scene. There were a lot of intense closeups that almost felt claustrophobic to watch, and contributed to the viewer understanding Marie’s thought process and mental state as she navigates her trauma.


Our Father, The Devil seemed to follow a theme that seems to have captured the imaginations of many filmmakers in recent years: the importance of female friendships and relationships. In the end, it is about a woman reclaiming her power and her body from the horror she has experienced, and her main pillars of support are two women companions. That being said, the methods of which she attempts to heal might not be the most morally acceptable - but who am I to tell a traumatised woman how to deal with her potential abuser? By the end of the film, I was emotionally exhausted. Ellie Foumbi did a great job at telling this harrowing story, which was held & amplified by Babetida Sadjo’s and Souléymane Sy Savané’s performances. I would recommend seeing this film to gain a further insight into refugee's stories, and the trauma that accompanies them - but I don’t think I have the emotional capacity to watch it again anytime soon.


Hunt Her, Kill Her


If you've read my previous stuff on rrramble, or you're anyone who has spent 5 minutes with me, you'll know I am a big time horror movie nerd - so Hunt Her, Kill Her really should’ve been a bit of me. Unfortunately, I was struggling to get into it from the get-go. I felt it took to long to get into the meat of the story, and something about the dialogue felt super wooden. On the technical side of things (and forgive me if I'm being a pretentious film academic here) the sound editing was really irritating; it was echoey, and had a tinny sound that just distracted me too much. Having said all this though, what it lacked in dialogue it made up for in some very intense chase scenes through a setting that suited the storyline perfectly – a dark creepy warehouse with our protagonist lone-working the night shift. That’s classic horror movie vibes right there, and I am here for it.


Something I absolutely loved about this experience is that it was my first time sitting in a cinema filled with other horror movie nerds who actively interacted with the film. The collective understanding of the sheer horror absurdity we were seeing was felt, and it was so special. The kill scenes where hilarious and had the whole cinema cackling with how ridiculous and creative they were. The special effects were great - a lot of blood and very realistic looking injuries, accompanied by some lovely squelchy sound effects – and it showed a character actually being injured and how that inhibits their ability throughout the rest of the film, which is something we rarely see in the slasher genre. Unfortunately, I found the protagonist really irritating. For me, slasher is all about the motive, and I just felt the killers motive was not strong enough. I probably won’t be watching it again, but if you love a good kill scene, you should go for it.



A grainy, black and white still depicting Mussolini's March On Rome. In the foreground, there are statues of Eagles. In the background, a man using an old-fashioned camera, soldiers, and flags. In the center of the shot, it reads 'la cinematografia e l'arma piu forte'.
A still from 'The March On Rome'


The March On Rome


I am fascinated by history (in particular figures such as Mussolini) and - as you may have guessed by now - I love cinema, so I should’ve loved Mark Cousins’ The March on Rome. So someone tell me why I fell asleep?! And genuinely, it wasn’t just me. The two people in front of me both slept most of the way through, and the guy behind me snored for about half an hour at one point. I think Mark Cousins just has one of those voices that can put anyone to sleep. So the moments I was awake for felt a little narratively disjointed, and I couldn’t piece together all the puzzle pieces he’d provided (totally my fault - as mentioned, I was asleep. My bad.).


While I think it did a good job of highlighting the horrors of Italian colonisation in Africa, I personally had an issue with the amount of images of dead bodies and victims of this colonisation. It felt very exploitative, especially as the images were from roughly 100 years ago, meaning these people’s grandchildren and great grandchildren could still be alive and, if so, are likely still carrying that trauma. To be honest, there are other ways you can show and bring attention to these atrocities without overtly showing close up images of real people's dead bodies. Towards the end of the film, Cousins compared fascist propaganda with other films of the time effectively, showing the overall lack of creativity and artistic value of the fascist regime and their inability to embrace new and exciting techniques. Overall, I think it’s an interesting topic but it just didn’t grab me as much as it should have. I can totally see what he was trying to do with this film, I just don’t think it’s as effective (or respectful) as it should (and could have) been.



A still of a woman in the passenger seat of a car. She is wearing a yellow mesh top with purple piping, and a chain necklace.  The window is rolled down, and outside there is a blue cloudy sky and green grass and trees. The woman rests one hand out of the window on the roof of the car, and is throwing her head back as she laughs - smiling wide, with teeth
A still from 'Something You Said Last Night'

Something You Said Last Night


My final film of the weekend was a gorgeous story centred around family values and relationships. Something You Said Last Night was an honest and realistic insight into family dynamics, especially the specific vibe of families on holiday. It was wildly refreshing to see a story with a trans protagonist that isn’t solely focused on trans trauma. Actually, the narrative did not lean on the fact that Renata - our leading lady - was trans, at all. It was simply a story about Renata trying to find her independence, whilst navigating how independence interacts with the childlike comfort of her relationship with her family - and she also just happened to be trans. Undoubtedly, this film is something most people can relate to. While it was essentially just a snapshot of a family on holiday, the interactions Renata had with her mother, father and sister are all too recognisable. It’s clear this family love each other, but as family does, they argue and irritate and antagonise each other.


Watching the emotional arc of Renata throughout the film is absolutely captivating. What I enjoyed most was the parallel from the opening scene and the closing scene, which take place at a service station on their way to and from their holiday. The difference in Renata’s attitude towards her family, and the general vibe of the family unit, is clear to see, and really highlights the emotional journey they have all gone on. I don’t have much else to say on this one other than it’s a lovely, easy-to-watch film. If you’re someone who is desperate to engage with some queer stories that don’t centre queer trauma, then this is one of those films - I'd recommend that you curl up under a blanket on a lazy Sunday, switch it on, and just enjoy.



 

Interviews


As well as watching some fabulous films, Glasgow Film Fest kindly linked me up with some incredible filmmakers and performers for exclusive interviews. I had an absolute blast! You can read up on my interviews from the links below.


rrramble meets Marie Alice Wolfszahn - director of brooding occult chiller Mother Superior, her feature film debut.


rrramble meets Joelle Farrow - lead actress in new Canadian slasher film Here For Blood.


 


I am so sad my time at Glasgow Film Festival 2023 had to come to an end. It was a truly wonderful experience, and one that exceeded my already high expectations. I really hope to return next year for the full programme, and watch even more wonderful cinematic journeys and adventures.


If you take anything away from this read, I hope you might be encouraged to go to your local film festival, or even make a weekend out of it and travel further afield. This weekend has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and embrace different styles and genres, and I have had the best time doing it. Hope to see you all at Glasgow Film Festival 2024!



If you have enjoyed this read, and want to find out more, you can visit the Glasgow Film Festival website.


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