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DAILY GUIDE TUESDAY 23 FEBRUARY
WHAT’S INSIDE? 1>>INTERVIEW: NATHAN MILLER We talk to the director about his film I’m Glad My Mother is Alive.
We talk to French filmmaker Nathan Miller about his critically acclaimed feature I’m Glad That My Mother is Alive. TEXT: GAIL TOLLEY I’m Glad That My Mother is Alive is one of those films which has critics jumping out of their seat but unfortunately has failed to create the same impact at the box office. Nathan Miller, who directed the film alongside his father (the established French filmmaker) Claude Miller doesn’t contribute this to a fault on the audience’s part however, but instead thinks the filmmakers missed a trick in marketing the film. Having just come from a screening of North by Northwest when I speak to him, Miller highlights the need for a successful campaign strategy by pointing to the success of directors like Hitchcock and Spielberg, who excelled both at marketing their films as well as the actual filmmaking. Yet one of the delights of film festivals is the chance to discover hidden gems which are unlikely to make the headlines (or even get a distribution) and I’m Glad That My Mother is Alive is just one of those. The film tells the story of a troubled boy, who is adopted at a young age, yet is constantly drawn to seeking out the love of his real mother. It is based on real events and has been applauded for its convincing and non-judgemental portrayal of the characters. This commitment to realism can be compared to Belgian duo The Dardenne Brothers (who Miller cites as one inspiration) but also the legendary American director Cassavetes. The latter was especially influential in deciding how to use music in the
film, “We looked at one Cassavetes film, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, because of the music – in all the film there is only one moment with dramatic music and we copied that for this movie. In most of the film we didn’t want to use music”. Such references hint at some of the loftier influences that have made their mark on both family members, Claude Miller in his early career worked closely with some of the greatest of the French New Wave directors and one imagines that such experience has filtered down from Father to Son. Whilst I’m Glad That My Mother is Alive is credited as being directed by both, Claude Miller in fact took more of a back seat role for the film. “My father stopped the test [shoot] in the middle and he made a very nice decision: he said, ‘it will never work how we thought it would, so you have to do everything. Anytime I will be there during the shoot but I will never speak to anyone but you.’” And so they created a set-up where Nathan Miller helmed the film and Claude Miller was a constant presence, collaborating closely with his son. The decision paid off and the result is an impressive accomplishment. Successful marketing strategy or not, the film has wowed critics and impressed those cinema-goers who bucked the trend and bought a ticket, now Glasgow film fans can do the same. I’m Glad That My Mother is Alive is showing at Grosvenor, Tues 23 Feb, 18.00.
2>>FEATURE: THEATRE, BECKETT FILM AND BECKETT What can we expect from the showing of Beckett’s rare film Comedie? 3>> REVIEWS Yatterman Storm Storm Mother I Killed My Mother
4>> LISTINGS Comprehensive guide to what’s going on at the Festival. 4>> PRIZES Win 2 tickets to 1234, with Special guests Kieran Bew and Ian Bonar are attending. 4>> WHAT’S NEW ONLINE? The latest coverage and news about the Festival.
THE CINESKINNY Produced by The Skinny magazine in association with the Glasgow Film Festival. EDITOR Gail Tolley EDITORIAL Becky Bartlett ASSISTANT DESIGNER Emma Faulkner
GFF BOX OFFICE Order tickets from the box office at www.glasgowfilmfestival.org.uk or call 0141 332 6535 or visit Glasgow Film Theatre 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB email@example.com
TEXT: Gareth Vile SAMUEL BECKETT, perhaps surprisingly for a writer who demonstrated a mastery of both script and novel, never made a successful foray into cinema. His single screenplay, Film, was a six minute silent movie that enjoyed an uneven critical reputation. His plays have been adapted for television, yet his powerful voice, articulating a strangely intimate nihilism, feels more comfortable on stage and certainly does not seem to suit the larger gestures of cinema. Comedie fits nicely into a Tramway double bill. Matched with a documentary about visual art, it captures the twin strands of Tramway’s tradition and Beckett’s works (interpretations of the latter by Peter Brook, Stewart Laing and Cryptic have been staged at the south side venue in the past with acclaim). Yet film versions of Beckett’s plays lose as much as they gain: the wit of his dark surrealism never settles as simplistic despair, and without the physical presence of actors there is little to establish an audience’s sympathy for what could otherwise be disturbing alienation. Beckett was renowned for the taut precision of his language and effective use of repetition: his
characters are frequently caught in conversational loops, his plots minimal. Despite occasional flashes that suggest silent comedies influenced his work- in Krapp’s Last Tape, the hero goes for a tumble over a banana skin, like an existentially tormented Harold Lloyd - his writing avoids the wide-screen scale of cinema and forces the audience into a close relationship with a limited cast. Unlike Faulkner, Mamet or even Shakespeare, it is unlikely that Waiting for Godot will be troubling the multiplexes. Beckett’s short Film might explain why versions of his work on film are more like documentations of a play than art in their own right. It might have been filmed in the 1960s, but it eschewed contemporary film strategies for a Buster Keaton slapstick, referencing Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou and infusing the humour with pessimism. However, Beckett is not alone in presenting difficulties for transfer. Even David Mamet, who found success with Glengarry Glen Ross, has struggled with adaptations, and Shakespeare is frequently heavily cut or interpreted for the screen. Part of this problem is the assumptions of respective audiences. Cinema is increasingly seen as entertainment, with art films and
experimentation marginalised, even slipping into visual art categories; contemporary arts festivals like Kill Your Timid Notion deliberately frame their film selection as experimental art rather than cinema. The internal relationship between realism and artifice also differs between film and theatre. Even in its earliest shots, film controlled the representation of mundane scenes an approaching train, a poor mother - through camera trickery. It carefully manipulates the viewer’s gaze, in a way beyond theatre’s capacity. Guiding the audience in theatre becomes far more a matter of language, perhaps explaining why the script is so much more central. Then there is the matter of scale. Film can go anywhere and has special effects. Plays on film often have a stilted intimacy, limited in their action by the original setting and dwelling on a smaller area. And the Hollywood star system makes the experience of watching a film very different to catching the latest three hander down the Tron. The iconic presence of Johnny Depp has a more universal flavour: even big names in theatre are often famous because of their film work, as in the production of Godot starring Professor Xavier and Magneto. It is telling that the GFF has used
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Tramway as the venue for this double bill. Its huge spaces have encouraged artists to use screens - Barbara Kruger broke off from her traditional feminist slogans to create an enclosed movie theatre, and the recent production of Beggar’s Opera by Vanishing Point situated a screen at the centre of the drama. Both of these articulated an unease at the power of the two dimensional image, a distrust that might underlie the relationship between film and theatre. And by going to an arts venue, the GFF is signposting the nature of Comedie. Of course, it is a rare treat to catch this film, and it is a tribute to the GFF that they are including something that sits outside of the accepted idea of cinema. For fans of Beckett, it is a chance to experience his wonderful dark vision: at the same time, it throws up questions about the purpose of cinema and documentation.
Comedie & Here is Always Something Else, The Disappearance of Bas Jan Ader is showing at Tramway, Wed 24 Feb, 19.00
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Director: Takashi Miike Starring: Sho Sakurai, Fyoko Fukada, Saki Fukude
THERE’S NOTHING like a cross between Indiana Jones and LazyTown on cocaine to get audiences talking: Yatterman is a wonderfully kooky film which represents a stylistic departure for cult Japanese director Takashi Miike. The film follows two groups of opposing costumed gangs – the evil Doronbo and girlfriend-boyfriend double act Yatterman - who fight every Saturday at 6.30pm. The Doronbo, sick of losing, set their sights higher and go after a bigger prize: a mystical skull stone. With a colourful palette and kitschy musical interludes Yatterman is complete escapism, with
stereotypical Japanese humour that is easily misunderstood. Miike captures the essence of his film’s origin (the Japanese anime television series) in the midst of copious innuendos and the exaggerated themes of love and belonging simply help maintain the innocent, fun tone. Will European audiences ever truly understand or appreciate a film like this? With no UK distribution, the GFF has given us the only chance to find out.[Charlotte Bartholomew]
I KILLED MY MOTHER
Director: Hans-Christian Schmid Starring: Kerry Fox, Stephen Dillane, Anamaria Marinca
Director: Xavier Dolan Starring: Anne Dorval, Xavier Dolan, Suzanne Clement
WAR CRIME prosecutor Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) has lost out on promotion to a lesser experienced male counterpart (Stephen Dillane). She’s also seeing a married politician who dictates the terms of their affair. They’re both precursors to the male-dominated world of politics that’ll stand in her way of prosecuting former Serbian general Goran Duric. When the general pleads guilty to a lesser charge in order to cover up the wider atrocities he orchestrated Hannah’s loyalties to her profession, the female witness she promised protection, and her conscience, are all tested. Shot in queasy, shaky
AS WRITER, director, producer and star of I Killed My Mother, 20-yearold Xavier Dolan has taken most of the inspiration for his first feature from his own life. This perhaps justifies (at least in part) the film’s occasional stray into pretentiousness (a term Dolan allegedly fears the most). Hubert, played by Dolan, is Dolan, aged sixteen. And what man of that age has much to say about anything other than himself? Yet he does have rather a lot of genuine insight into the relationship with his on-screen mother/sparring partner. Their theatrical arguments alternate between comedy and startling authenticity. By extension, Dolan
camera Storm’s claustrophobia mirrors the surveillance and intimidation both prosecutor and witness fall under. Gritty and bereft of excessive drama, director Hans-Christian Schmid offers a clinical study of how a legal system is ill-equipped to heal emotional scars. The downside to this is that it leaves the audience detached from the characters, as a fellow prosecutor says of their profession: ‘it’s not meant to be therapy’. [Alastair Roy]
GFT, Tues 23 Feb, 20.45
also realises how insufferable he must have been, and his camera consistently voices this suspicion. Some sequences are extraordinary, like the tripartite montage of painting, love-making and frenzy. More are contrived, lifted straight from Wong Kar Wai or an emo Myspace video. Excellent acting is undermined by stagey direction and the inevitable self-obsession of the exercise, but under the circumstances, the film still remains a tour de force from a precocious young mind. [James Campbell]
GFT, Tues 23 Feb, 15.45 CCA, Wed 24 Feb, 20.30
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Comprehensive film and event listings for each day of the festival TUES 23 FEB TRUCKER @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 11:00AM UNTIL 12:30PM
AGAINST THE CURRENT @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 01:30PM UNTIL 03:15PM
I’M GLAD THAT MY MOTHER IS ALIVE @ GROSVENOR 06:00PM UNTIL 07:30PM
FROM TIME TO TIME @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 08:30PM UNTIL 10:30PM
WITH ONE VOICE @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 11:30AM UNTIL 01:00PM
WHITE STRIPES UNDER GREAT WHITE NORTHERN LIGHTS @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 03:30PM UNTIL 05:15PM
BARE ESSENCE OF LIFE @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 06:15PM UNTIL 08:15PM
AJAMI @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 08:30PM UNTIL 10:30PM EXPANSIVE GROUNDS @ CCA 08:30PM UNTIL 09:45PM
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 01:00PM UNTIL 03:00PM
ALL AROUND US @ CCA 03:30PM UNTIL 05:50PM
VACATION @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 06:15PM UNTIL 08:15PM
WOMEN WITHOUT MEN @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 01:15PM UNTIL 03:00PM
I KILLED MY MOTHER @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 03:45PM UNTIL 05:30PM
LIFE DURING WARTIME @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 06:30PM UNTIL 08:10PM
STRIGOI @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 01:30PM UNTIL 03:15PM
NORTH BY NORTHWEST @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 05:45PM UNTIL 08:05PM
WILLIAM MCLAREN AN ARTIST OUT OF TIME @ CCA 06:30PM UNTIL 07:45PM
GUILIA DOESN’T DATE AT NIGHT @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 01:30PM UNTIL 03:15PM
HILDE @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 06:00PM UNTIL 08:25PM
THOMAS TRUAX @ MONO 08:00PM UNTIL 11:00PM
STORM @ GLASGOW FILM THEATRE 08:45PM UNTIL 10:45PM WAKE IN FRIGHT @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 08:45PM UNTIL 10:55PM THAT EVENING SUN @ CINEWORLD (RENFREW STREET) 09:00PM UNTIL 11:00PM
Hand-selected by film distributors Soda Pictures as one of just four films designed to showcase British film-making talent, 1234 (GFT, Wed 24 Feb, 20.30) is a film for anyone who’s ever played air-guitar in their bedroom, set up a garage band or rocked two chord songs (badly) in school gyms and tiny pubs. If you’re not one of those people, chances are you’ll enjoy this light-hearted film anyway, and you can get your hands on two tickets by answering this question:
‘Official Artist 2’ has released her biography. Check out the GFF blog for information about Jules Gay, who will be recording the festival in her own unique way with Jefrus (you may remember him as ‘Official Artist 1’). Keep your eyes on the GFF website for their work.
The Festival is constantly changing, so stay tuned to GFF’s News for the latest information and gossip. Currently online: the winner of the Best International Short Film has been announced, and there’s a preview of FrightFest to get everyone in the mood for upcoming scares.
TWITTER If you tweet, turn your attention to Twitter, where GFF has been offering free tickets for upcoming films in what may be the easiest competition in existence.
CINESKINNY ONLINE Every copy of our esteemed publication is up online at www.glasgowfilmfestival. org.uk/cineskinny for your perusal.
Who directed The School of Rock? Email your details with the answer as subject line to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 10am Wednesday.
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Published on Feb 23, 2010
The Cine Skinny is your indispensable guide to all things GFF. We’ll be keeping you up to date with all the gossip from filmmakers and audie...