Indie Cinema Guide - Spring/Summer 2023

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Featuring: We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor on Polite Society; A look at Dracula's bloody history on screen ahead of Renfield


Welcome to your new Indie Cinema Guide. It aims to celebrate the essential indie cinemas on your doorstep, as well as shine a light on the range of wonderful films that will be playing on their screens over the next few months. The films previewed in this guide are an eclectic snapshot of what’s available to curious audiences in Scotland this Spring/Summer, and one thing that binds them is that the absolute best place to experience them is on a cinema screen.

You’d regret not going to see the riotous action-comedy Polite Society with a lively crowd, for example, or witnessing the beauty of Godland’s transcendental images on the biggest screen possible. The ticking-timebomb plot of eco-thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline will feel even more urgent when your heartbeat syncs up with your fellow audience members in a packed screening and the lush music and costuming of the wildly entertaining biopic Chevalier, which tells the unheralded story of Black French composer Joseph Bologne, deserves the best sound system and projection available.

We also highlight two classics returning to cinemas soon: Martin Scorsese’s tragic boxing epic Raging Bull and Bill Forsyth’s lyrical comedy Local Hero. You may have seen these films at home countless times but their power and pathos will only be enhanced by the cinema screen; if you have only watched them on a TV, you will be seeing entirely different movies.

It was around this time last year that audiences were packing out theatres to see Everything Everywhere All at Once for the first time. We cannot guarantee you that any of these titles will go on to win big at next year’s Oscars, like Everything Everywhere All at Once did this year, but we can promise you’ll find films as euphoric, life-affirming and inventive on the next few pages. Dig in, and see you at the movies.

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Spring/Summer 2023 3 Contents
1. Sean Connery 2. Alan Warner 3. Kelly Macdonald 4. Philidelphia 5. David Byrne 6. Moira Shearer 7. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 8. Charlotte Wells 9. Ratcatcher (1999) 10. Clare Grogan 11. Kevin Macdonald 12. Andrew Macdonald 13. Sunshine on Leith 14. Tilda Swinton 15. Ewan McGregor
Opening Credits 4 Meet the Cinemas: A guide to our favourite Scottish indie cinemas and film theatres 6 Meet the Programmer: GFT's Paul Gallagher Features 8 Nida Manzoor on Polite Society 12 Hlynur Pálmason on Godland 14 A Short Guide to Dracula on Screen ahead of Renfield Previews 16 Coming Attractions: From Beau Is Afraid to Asteroid City 18 Back in Cinemas: Raging Bull and Local Hero 20 Leonor Will Never Die 22 Plan 75 24 Return to Seoul 26 Chevalier 28 How to Blow up a Pipeline 29 My Imaginary Country End Credits 30 Scottish Film Quiz 31 Vouchers and giveaways Jamie Dunn Editor Phoebe Willison Designer
George Sully Sales Rosamund West Editor-in-chief
16. Cockburn Street 17. Alexander Mackendrick 18. Barra 19. Queen 20. Peter Capaldi
Dalila D'Amico
Produced by Radge Media for Film Hub Scotland

Meet the Cinemas

The best independent cinemas and film theatres in Scotland

Dundee Centre for Contemporary Arts

“Our cinema programme is developed entirely in-house – we believe that the knowledge and experience gained by working directly with our audience helps us tailor our programme to local needs and interests. This is partly what makes a visit to the cinema at DCA so special!”

152 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4EA


“Join us at the family-owned Dominion Cinema in Edinburgh for a unique and luxurious movie-going experience. Our iconic Art Deco venue and comfortable seating create the perfect atmosphere for film lovers. With passion for cinema and dedication to excellent customer service, every visit is unforgettable. Come for a night of movie magic!” – Charlie Cameron, Marketing Manager

Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 4RT


“Originally opened as the King’s Cinema on 8 January 1914, the Cameo is one of the oldest cinemas in Scotland. It was refurbished in 1949, when it was renamed the Cameo, and it quickly established a reputation for screening arthouse films. It is still home to the latest independent films and classic re-releases, as well as a range of exciting festivals.” – Stewart Burr, Duty Manager

38 Home St, Edinburgh EH3 9LZ

Eden Court

“Eden Court is Inverness’s independent cinema by the banks of the River Ness, presenting an exciting programme of new releases (including arthouse, indie and blockbusters) plus special seasons, cult movies and live broadcast performances. The venue’s Inverness Film Festival, the Highlands’ flagship cinema event, has screened over 500 feature films across two decades.” – Neil Hepburn, Marketing Manager (Film + Communications)

Bishops Rd, Inverness IV3 5SA

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Dundee Centre for Contemporary Arts
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Glasgow Film Theatre

“As an independent cinema and film education charity, we celebrate the magic of film and nurture cinema from across the world with screenings, lectures, discussions, festivals, workshops, industry support and the chance to see films and meet filmmakers from Scotland and around the world. We are an inclusive, collaborative space where people can grow their passion for cinema and film.” – Paul Gallagher, Programme Manager

12 Rose St, Glasgow G3 6RB

The Hippodrome

“The Hippodrome Bo’ness is a stunning, pre-Art Deco, independent picture palace, dating back to 1912. The screening programme includes new releases, family blockbusters, classics, and international, independent, archive and arthouse films. In 2019 the Hippodrome was named Best Cinema Experience in Scotland by the Scottish Hospitality Awards and shortlisted for Cinema of the Year by the Screen Awards.” – Alison Strauss, Programmer, Arts Development Officer (Film and Media), Falkirk Council

10 Hope St, Bo’ness EH51 0AA

Macrobert Arts Centre

“We are located at the heart of the picturesque University of Stirling campus and are the cultural hub for Stirling and Forth Valley, screening the best of independent, classic, documentary, event and mainstream cinema 363 days of the year across three screens as well as a full live arts and creative activities programme.” – Grahame Reid, Film Programme Manager

University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA

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Glasgow Film Theatre The Hippodrome Macrobert Arts Centre Eden Court

Meet the Programmer

Glasgow Film Theatre’s Programme Manager Paul Gallagher would love to surprise his audience with an impromptu visit from Martin Scorsese

First cinema memory?

I was born in a town called Guiseley, just outside of Leeds. One of my earliest cinema memories is of my Dad taking me and my brothers to the UK’s first IMAX screen in what was then called the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford. This was in the mid- to late-80s, and we saw a film called The Dream Is Alive – a documentary about the NASA space programme, shot by astronauts in training and in space. I don’t remember much except the screen was mind-blowingly huge, it was amazing.

Best film you’ve seen on the big screen? Much too difficult to say, but I’ll mention two experiences that are forever lodged in my mind. Lawrence of Arabia on 70mm at the Edinburgh Filmhouse in 2016 – cinematic perfection in every respect. And the other is The Matrix at East Kilbride UCI, summer of 1999. I’ll never forget stumbling out of that cinema, knowing that movies would never be the same again. These were also both experiences shared with my late Dad, who was one of my favourite people to watch films with.

Favourite piece of programming you’ve put together?

I am really enjoying the Scorsese of the Month season that I began last June at GFT, which I plan to keep going for as long as there are more films directed by Martin Scorsese that we can screen! The reason I love it is because it brings together a lot of the best things about programming; the films connect very personally with people, so there is always a sense of

connection with the audience; it allows me to put films on the big screen that don’t get seen in that context very often, and that lots of current cinemagoers will have only ever watched at home; and it involves the ‘detective’ aspects of the job of hunting down the rights to certain films, which can be very satisfying (although occasionally very frustrating!).

Favourite piece of programming by another programmer?

I have been constantly inspired by Allan Hunter’s retrospective programming at Glasgow Film Festival over the years. Allan has an unfailing instinct for screening films and filmmakers that sit in the perfect crossover point of that ideal audience Venn diagram containing ‘new discoveries’ and ‘old favourites you really want to see in the cinema’. His is a programming genius, to which I continually aspire.

What’s the best part of your job?

I mean there’s no two ways about it; it’s getting to watch films for a living! ‘Lucky’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Who’s your most memorable GFT guest?

I loved having Julian Barratt with his film Mindhorn. As a huge fan of The Mighty Boosh, I was super-excited to talk to him in front of an audience, and his hilarious and surreal answers did not disappoint. I also really enjoyed hosting Joachim Trier when he came to GFF in 2016. He was such a passionate, engaged filmmaker. I’ve been delighted to see him go on to such success and acclaim. More recently, it was a real privilege to host Laura

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Poitras; such a sharp mind, with such generosity in conversation. She’s incredible.

Who’s your dream GFT guest?

I would love to host Paul Thomas Anderson at GFT. I love his unique perspective, his sense of humour and his commitment to cinema, and I know he would find a warm, receptive audience here. It’s also my dream to have Mr Scorsese turn up unannounced at one of our Scorsese of the Month screenings – imagine! And if I can pick one more I’d also like Barry Jenkins to come, and share a bit of that infectious passion for film that just pours out of him.

What films are you most looking forward to showing to audiences over the next few months at GFT?

I’ve heard a whisper of a hint that we might see Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City around the same date as its US release (23 Jun), so if that turns out to be true then that would be my number one forthcoming highlight, and I know it will be top of the must-see list for most GFT-goers too! Hlynur Pálmason’s Godland (7 Apr) is a stunning piece of cinema, a real epic in spirit and vision, which I think has the potential to

get into lots of cinephiles’ end-of-year Top Tens. And I also can’t wait for audiences to get to see The Eight Mountains (12 May) – a beautifully-told Italian film of friendship and stunning vistas, and my favourite film from last year’s Cannes film festival. Oh, and also One Fine Morning (14 Apr) has a career-best performance from Lea Seydoux; it’s brilliant.

What film over the next three months would you urge people to take a risk on?

A film called Love According to Dalva (28 Apr), the debut of Belgian director Emmanuelle Nicot. The subject matter is incredibly tough – it focuses on a child who has been systematically abused by her father – but it draws us so close to the young girl’s perspective, through the incredible performance by actress Zelda Samson, and we begin to see there can be hope for her. It’s a film of great sensitivity and empathy.

As part of GFT’s Scorsese of the Month season, Justin Currie of Del Amitri will introduce New York, New York on 17 Apr

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Photo: Neil Thomas Douglas Paul Gallagher and Joachim Trier

Welcome to Polite Society

We chat to We Are Lady Parts creator Nida Manzoor about her debut feature film Polite Society, a riotously funny action-comedy blending sisterly love, teen-girl hi-jinks and flying spin kicks

Interview: Anahit Behrooz

In Nida Manzoor’s hilarious directorial feature debut, the We Are Lady Parts creator explores the intractable bonds of sisterhood through the story of Ria, full-time teenager and stuntwoman-wannabe, and Lena, an art school dropout who – to her sister’s horror – falls fast for an eligible bachelor. Subverting many of the clichés of South Asian diasporic cinema (arranged marriage, parental expectations, filial disappointment), Polite Society draws on fun and familiar film tropes to invent a new and bold British cinematic language – filled with colour and heart. We chat with her about Muslim representation, waxing on screen, and the joys of being over the top.

One of the coolest things about Polite Society is the way you remix different genres – you

draw on everything from the Western to heist films and Jane Austen marriage plots. Was this generic mash-up always key to the film? I always loved genre movies growing up and I never got to see myself in them. In a way, this film ended up being an ode to my younger self, like here is a film that has all the things you love, and that you’ve always wanted to be part of. I knew I wanted it to be an action movie about two sisters, because there’s something about being a young woman and the pressures and expectations… it’s these small, unseen violences, but juxtaposed [here] with big, bombastic fights. It was just me making my dream film.

It’s so interesting how you bring a cultural specificity to very familiar tropes. One of the funniest scenes in the film is the waxing

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“I always loved genre movies growing up and I never got to see myself in them”
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Director Nida Manzoor, cinematographer Ashley Connor and actor Priya Kansara on the set of Polite Society

scene, where the mother-in-law, Raheela, forces Ria to get a leg wax, but it plays out like a James Bond villain showdown. It just excites me to see this very specific culture that I’m from being represented. There’s a line that Raheela says that’s like, ‘never shave – your hair will grow back twice as thick.’ And my editor was like, ‘do we need that line?’ and I was like, ‘yes!’ That’s the representation I want!

It’s a thing all the older women always say! It definitely feels like there’s a movement towards absurdity in the film, in the way these different cultural ideas juxtapose together.  The tone was something that took ages: constant writing and recutting to make sure we build up to this over-the-top, silly tenor. Again, it’s from films that I love, like John Waters movies or Paul Verhoeven – there’s something trashy about it, but not in a bad way.

It’s slightly camp.

Yes, camp! And also growing up on Bollywood, everything was over the top, nothing made sense. Yet somehow the emotions remain true, and I think I wanted to try and execute it where you feel the sisters’ love story, even though everything that’s going on around them is absurd.

I wanted to ask you about this love story. Both We Are Lady Parts and Polite Society have such a strong focus on female intimacy and friendship – what is it about these connections that you find so compelling?

My friendships have been the big romances of my life – there’s something so strong and deep about them. Also with sisterhood: in so many of these stories it’s a husband saving his wife or a father his daughter, but I have such an intense relationship with my sibling and I wanted to explore that. They can also get so messy and ugly. My sister can always say the thing she knows will hurt me most. There’s a cruelty to female friendships, like a shadow side to femininity, that I think is also beautiful.

That darkness very much fits into the punk vibe that both Polite Society and We Are Lady Parts have.

I wanted this to basically be the film that Ria would make if she were to retell this story. It

had to be fizzing with energy and bursting at the seams. There is a more stylised, more controlled version of this film where everything’s very steady, whereas my director of photography and I looked at things like Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy, where the camera is stylised but it’s very punk. It’s not perfect, and it’s grainy. There’s a kind of raw edge we wanted to give it – even while it’s slick and has these fun transitions, the film still needed to contain this teenage girl’s intense energy.

What is it about punk that keeps drawing you back?

I think just growing up in a culture where you have to be a good girl. And I was definitely someone who struggled against that and whenever I did something like explore the arts, I felt I was transgressing. I felt a lot of shame around my choices and I still struggle with that. And a cathartic way of dealing with it was to make art about women who struggle but who we also see win. I’m definitely drawn to wildness in women – there’s something unapologetic about taking up space.

We also grew up at a time when there wasn’t much Muslim representation on screen, and so we never had that wildness. Is continuing to tell these stories important to you?  Yeah, it takes so much life force to make a movie that if I don’t feel passionate and see some part of myself I don’t know if I want to do it. I don’t know whether or not I’ll always do genre mashups but I do love playing with genre and bringing in this silliness. I have ideas that are set in ancient Iraq, like sexy B-movie films. It’s outside my comfort zone but again, it’s about finding that fire and the fizz. Like how does my tone sit there? We Are Lady Parts and Polite Society have helped me hone my voice, and now I’m in my 30s and I feel I’m watching myself evolve.

Like, what is happening here?

Yeah! Like wow, is it not only dick jokes?

Polite Society is released 28 Apr by Universal

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Heavenly Journey

Icelandic writer-director Hlynur Pálmason introduces us to the dark and light of his stunning 19th-century drama Godland, which follows a Danish priest’s epic journey to Iceland

Interview: Josh Slater-Williams

Earning valid comparisons to classic arduous cinematic journeys through wilderness such as Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo, writer-director Hlynur Pálmason’s Godland is one of those films that looks like it might have been as much a nightmare to make as the in-film journey is for its protagonist.

Luckily for his cast and crew, it appears this was not the case. “It’s a lot of fun and laughing alongside a lot of hard work,” the Iceland native says of the production. It seems that much of the “blood, sweat, crying and everything” may actually have come before principal photography began. “I do need to have the film inside for a while,” he says, “bubbling in the system to process it all. But it’s a good creative struggle and conflict because I’m working with people I really love.”

Set in the late 1800s, Godland follows the misfortunes of Danish Lutheran priest Lucas

(Elliott Crosset Hove), who’s tasked with travelling to Iceland to build a church at a Danish settlement – Iceland being a Danish territory at that point in time. Bringing a complicated camera setup with him, he intends to document the land and its people on his long route to the settlement. An opening title card claims that “a box was found in Iceland with seven wet plate photographs taken by a Danish priest. These images are the first photographs of the southeast coast. This film is inspired by these photographs.” According to Pálmason, however, this is a cheeky, Fargo-esque fabrication with no actual basis in truth. It’s a fictional device he came up with just to get the story going; those photos never existed.

What does actually exist is the complicated history that informs the character dynamics of the mostly Iceland and Denmark-funded production. During the trek across Iceland, Lucas is frequently at odds with his native guide, Ragnar (Ingvar Sigurðsson, the star of Pálmason’s A White, White Day), who doesn’t trust Danish people and resents learning the language. This provides considerable drama when Lucas’s translator (Hilmar Guðjónsson) is taken out of the picture thanks to the priest’s own act of hubris.

“Iceland was under the Danish crown for a long time,” Pálmason tells us. “And we got independence in a very undramatic way. Not one drop of blood was spilt during this process, so it’s not like this dramatic thing that everybody knows. It’s something that

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happened in a very effortless way, but it’s still an interesting process and there still is a very deep and interesting story between the two countries. And it’s a story that is both positive and negative. On both sides, there are good things and bad.”

Although Godland is a work of historical fiction, it proved to be Pálmason’s most personal feature to date, following the aforementioned A White, White Day and breakthrough Winter Brothers. “Being raised in Iceland and living in Denmark for many years, studying and having children and moving back home to Iceland, I have felt sometimes that I’m in between two countries,” he explains. “Someone in Denmark would say, ‘Oh, he’s an Icelandic filmmaker.’ And someone in Iceland would say, ‘Oh, he’s making Danish films.’ I wanted to explore that: take these two countries, put them together like opposites and work with that. And not only in historical terms, but with dialogue and these two different languages; the misunderstanding,

miscommunication and these two very different characters, the Danish priest and the Icelandic guide.” Appropriately, Godland features separate title cards – one Danish and one Icelandic – at the film’s opening and its close.

Godland is a tale of two countries but also a film of two halves, the Danish settlement they reach being a source of claustrophobic tension and dark comedy. A throughline of both dark and light in both halves is Ragnar the translator, with Sigurðsson – last seen by UK viewers in Robert Eggers’ The Northman – continuing an actor-director relationship that dates back to Pálmason’s film school days. “I did a short [school finals] film called A Painter and he was the main actor,” Pálmason says. “And the one who was playing against him was actually Elliott, who plays the priest [in Godland]. This is me putting them together in a film again.”

Godland is released 7 Apr by Curzon

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A Short History of Dracula on Screen

Drinking blood makes Dracula immortal, but so have films. Ahead of Nicolas Cage playing the Count in the upcoming horror comedy Renfield, we take a look at Dracula’s bloody history throughout cinema

Words: Ross McIndoe

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Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult in Renfield

Nicolas Cage is preparing to sink his teeth into another meaty role as he dons the pointed teeth and deathly pallor of Count Dracula. However, in the case of Chris McKay’s upcoming action-comedy Renfield, it will actually be the legendary vampire’s long-suffering servant (played by Nicholas Hoult) who takes centre stage.

And that is fine because, as famous as he is for sticking to the shadows, Dracula has already spent more than his fair share of time in the limelight. In fact, a fascination with the Dark Lord clearly runs in Nicolas Cage’s blood because his uncle Francis Ford Coppola brought Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the big screen back in 1992. Gary Oldman was the one biting necks and chewing scenery in that adaptation, complete with a fetching heartshaped hairdo and a scarlet robe which fans of The Simpsons will also recognise from an early Treehouse of Horror.

But Dracula’s cinematic history naturally goes far further back than that. Last year, Scottish filmgoers were given a great opportunity to chase his lineage all the way to 1922 with several screenings of the iconic silent film Nosferatu, complete with a live soundtrack from multi-instrumentalist David Allison. This unofficial adaptation of Stoker’s tale is one of the true patriarchs of horror cinema, the original vampire that would sire a legion of others in the century that followed. And, as Chris McKay no doubt noted while planning his more light-hearted take on the Count, Nosferatu also shows off what a hilarious little freak Dracula can be.

Those looking to hear the screams of his victims would have to wait until 1931 when Universal Pictures delivered the first sound film adaptation of Stoker’s novel, led by the immortal Bela Lugosi. The film was a smash hit, leading to a series of sequels and firmly establishing Dracula as a staple of horror cinema for evermore.

At this point, it’s clear that the Americans know their way around a vampire story, but tales about pasty aristocrats who live forever inside palatial homes while sucking the lifeblood out of the country’s common folk have always seemed to strike a chord in Britain as well. Can’t imagine why.

In 1958, Hammer Film Productions recruited Count Dracula to hang out with Frankenstein and the Wolfman, turning to the UK’s James Bond-inspiring, Nazi-killing, Heavy Metal album-recording legend, Christopher Lee for the lead role. Facing off against fellow future Star Wars alum Peter Cushing, Lee’s signature booming voice and towering screen presence helped Dracula to break box office records and his depiction of the character proved so hypnotising that he would continue reprising the role until 1973.

While the Hammer films focused on Dracula as the debonair villain who transfixed his victims with his devilish charms, Werner Herzog returned to its more explicitly monstrous roots for Nosferatu the Vampyre in 1979, with his constant collaborator and sometimes mortal enemy Klaus Kinski in the lead role. That transformative quality has been a key part of Dracula’s cinematic immortality, allowing him to trade blows with action heroes in Blade: Trinity and deliver family-friendly one-liners in Hotel Transylvania. His shadowy silhouette looms larger than almost any figure in the horror canon and with over a century of starring roles on his resume, it seems unlikely he’ll be turning into dust any time soon.

All in all, it’s about time someone put this undead diva back in his place, and we can all look forward to seeing Renfield give his boss a piece of his mind. Although judging by the deliciously grisly trailer, that might not be the only body part he ends up surrendering.

Renfield is released 14 Apr by Universal

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Coming Attractions

Beau Is Afraid

With his wild horror-drama hybrids Hereditary and Midsommar, Ari Aster has quickly established himself as one of the most interesting voices in Hollywood. His latest, Beau Is Afraid, looks like it might take him to surreal new heights. Little is known about this upcoming feature, but the trailer suggests Aster is working in a more comic direction, with Joaquin Phoenix playing Beau, an anxiety-filled man embarking on an epic odyssey to get home to his mother.

Released 19 May by Sony

War Pony

The debut feature from Gina Gammell and actor-turned-director Riley Keough takes us inside a Native American reservation in South Dakota and follows the hard-knock lives of two of its young residents. One is Bill, an easy-going chancer of about 20; the other is Matho, a heartbreaking 13-year-old who is forced to grow up way too fast. With a sophisticated attention to detail and a gorgeous sense of place, this immersive film will break your heart before making it sore.

Released 9 Jun by Picturehouse


When Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai released his hugely imaginative and moving 2016 fantasy Your Name, many declared him the heir apparent to Studio Ghibli maestro Hayao Miyazaki. Like Your Name, anime Suzume blends YA romance, jaw-dropping visuals and a beguiling sci-fi plot, which in this case involves the 17-year-old girl of the title heading on a race-against-time adventure with a demonic cat and a talking chair to prevent the end of the world. Colour us intrigued.

Released 14 Apr by Sony

Sick of Myself

This whip-smart black comedy from Norway explores our modern-day obsession with self-image. It centres on the unhealthy relationship between waitress Signe and her conceptual artist boyfriend Thomas. Vicious tensions arise between the pair when Thomas suddenly has a career breakthrough in the art world. In response, Signe attempts to regain centre stage by creating a new persona through which she can attract attention and sympathy. In the age of Instagram, TikTok and continual self-promotion, Sick of Myself is a toe-curling delight.

Released 21 Apr by Modern Films

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War Pony Suzume Sick of Myself

Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Judy Blume’s beloved coming-of-age novel has been delighting readers since 1970; finally, it’s making its way to the big screen. Written and directed by The Edge Of Seventeen’s Kelly Fremon Craig, the story centres on 11-year-old Margaret, who as well as going through all the messy elements of puberty has to deal with being uprooted from her life in New York to the suburbs of New Jersey. Newcomer Abby Ryder Fortson takes the title role, while Rachel McAdams plays her mother and the mighty Kathy Bates is her grandmother.

Released 19 May by Lionsgate

One Fine Morning

Léa Seydoux is magnetic as a widowed single mother being pulled in many different directions: her father, a celebrated philosophy professor, has a neurological disorder and is deteriorating quickly; she begins a passionate affair with an old friend, who’s married with children; her precocious daughter is acting up; and she’s slipping up at her work as a translator. Few filmmakers can match Hansen-Løve’s sensitivity when it comes to emotions of the heart like love and grief, and One Fine Morning is among her very best work.

Released 14 Apr by MUBI

Asteroid City

Hollywood’s most fastidious director, Wes Anderson, is back with his 11th feature, which is sure to be one of the summer’s most anticipated titles. Set in 1955, the film takes place at a Junior Stargazer convention, which is disrupted by life-shattering events. As ever, he’s assembled a jaw-dropping cast, with Anderson regulars like Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody and Jeff Goldblum joined by newcomers to the Anderson universe, including A-listers Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie and Scarlett Johansson.

Released 23 Jun by Universal

Full Time

Anyone who’s ever had to deal with a hellish commute will appreciate Full Time. After getting an interview for a job that will enable her to be financially stable and spend more time with her kids, Julie’s dreams hang by a thread thanks to a Paris transit strike. A nail-biting thriller dressed as a social realist drama, Full Time has accurately been described as Uncut Gems for single mums. Call My Agent!’s Laure Calamy is fantastic as the under-pressure Julie and Irène Drésel’s synth score is a propulsive delight.

Released 26 May by Parkland

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Full Time One Fine Morning Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Back on the Big Screen...

Raging Bull

Martin Scorsese's blistering boxing drama returns to cinema screens in a new 4K Restoration

Words: Alex Barrett

Based on the real-life (mis)adventures of world middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull presents a devastating portrait of a ferociously fragile masculinity. As LaMotta, a hard-headed man torn apart by aggression and jealousy, Robert De Niro gives a powerhouse performance that earned him an Oscar – famously, his dedication to the role involved gaining over 60 pounds during production so that he could realistically portray LaMotta during his gone-to-seed later years. The film also launched the careers of Joe Pesci, in the role of LaMotta’s motor-mouthed brother, and Cathy Moriarty, as LaMotta’s second wife – both of whom more than hold their own during the film’s rapid-fire verbal sparring.

In telling the story of LaMotta’s tumultuous life, Scorsese and De Niro (who also did an uncredited rewrite on the script) focus as much on his personal failings as his professional achievements. In doing so, they imbue

him with a religious intensity, and his downfall quickly takes on the dimension of a spiritual punishment. This sense is bolstered by the film’s expressionistic approach to the fight scenes, which place the viewer right inside the ring. There, we get up close and personal not only with the violent batterings, but also with their emotional underpinnings. The fact that Scorsese’s film wrings such pathos from a man who behaves so monstrously throughout is a testament to the superb craftsmanship underlining Raging Bull at every level.

Incredibly, the film received a lukewarm reception upon its initial release in 1980, with its outlandish violence proving too much for some. But, as ever with Scorsese, the violence never strays beyond servicing the story, and the film has rightly come to be recognised as an all-time masterpiece of American cinema.

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Raging Bull is reissued by Park Circus on 14 Apr
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Local Hero

Bill Forsyth’s wry, soulful love letter to Scotland is back in cinemas to mark its 40th anniversary, and its warmth and compassion still radiates off the screen

Words: Rory Doherty

Local Hero is worth the price of admission just to see its skies. The coastal, highland village of Ferness (the filming locations range from Aberdeenshire to the West Coast) is witness to some of the most stunning dusks, dawns, and sunsets ever captured on British film. Even in scenes created using visual effects, like when our characters watch a meteor shower or the Aurora Borealis, there is a sweeping and wistful beauty that colours every corner of Scotland visible in the film.

Bill Forsyth’s classic comedy, where a yuppy oil executive travels to remote Scotland to negotiate a small town's relocation to make way for a new, lucrative refinery, still has an entrancing effect. The drama is always precise – will our businessman MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) convince the town to agree to leave before he realises he doesn’t want to? – but there’s still a looseness to scenes, allowing Ferness’ melancholic charm to wash over you like it does our protagonist.

Burt Lancaster gets a lot of praise for his performance as a boorish but inquisitive CEO, but the film belongs to Riegert and Denis Lawson, who plays Urquhart, Ferness’ innkeeper, accountant and general spokesperson. Their bond feels more potent than mere bromance; there’s a kinship and eventual loyalty between the two men – and by the time they’re wearing matching jumpers, you know they’ve been fused in some inexpressible way.

Local Hero is a deeply romantic film, perhaps naïvely so. We know, 40 years since its release, that its idealistic narrative of Scotland’s nature triumphing over global capitalism is not how things work – something Scottish critics have articulated in the passing years. In a way, this only makes Local Hero more precious, almost folklorish in how it imagines the beauty of our country. Surely some meek part of it will remain unmoved and unswayed by greater powers. Surely some part of us will remain whole.

Local Hero is reissued by Park Circus on 19 May

19 Spring/Summer 2023

Leonor Will Never Die

Fiction and reality blur in this surreal comedy from the Philippines, which sees an ageing screenwriter famed for her action movies living out one of her own film plots after a bump to the noggin

Words: Ben Nicholson

It is commonplace nowadays to see films described as ‘love letters to cinema’, and Hollywood continues to indulge in self-referentiality as regularly as it always has. Few films of recent years, however, could be said to capture the full spectrum of cinema's potential power and inherent silliness with quite as much panache as Martika Ramirez Escobar’s Leonor Will Never Die. The film was an award winner at 2022’s Sundance Film Festival and arrives in UK cinemas on a wave of adoration.

The plot follows the eponymous Leonor Reyes (played wonderfully throughout by Sheila Francisco), who was, in her heyday, a screenwriter of pulpy action films. Now retired, she picks up bootleg DVDs and wallows in the nostalgic simplicity of the violent genre films of her past. Although she is clearly a good

Director: Martika Ramirez Escobar

Starring: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabrera, Rocky Salumbides, Anthony Falcon

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and caring person, her adult son Rudy (Bong Cabrera) finds her absent-mindedness increasingly frustrating and struggles to engage with her about the death of her eldest son in a tragic on-set accident years earlier. That son, Ronwaldo (Anthony Falcon), appears to Leonor and Rudy as a semi-transparent spirit who sits with them and discusses matters of the corporeal world.

As much as the film is an ode to Leonor, it is also an ode to a particular brand of trashy action film. One day, Leonor is hit on the head – by a falling television set, no less – and while lying in a coma in the hospital finds herself caught up in an unproduced screenplay that she’d begun decades previous called Return of the Owl. In this film, a hunky construction worker, notably named Ronwaldo (this time played by Rocky Salumbides), is a people’s champion who uses his fists to claim justice from corrupt gangsters and drug dealers.

Escobar and her production team do an amazing job of evoking the spirit of the retro action flicks that Leonor was once a leading player in. While the tones of the real and imaginary worlds vary significantly initially, their stories, atmospheres, themes of loss, family, and the power of cinema all coalesce eventually. As the film goes on, the boundary between the authentic and fictional universes becomes ruptured in multiple ways – characters stare at the camera, questioning the trajectory of the script – while those very definitions are themselves called into question.

You’ll like this if you enjoyed... Everything Everywhere All at Once (Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, 2022)

Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999)

As a result, Leonor Will Never Die blends the ridiculous spectacle of genre movies with the powers of cinema, as escapism and catharsis, and all the while a multi-layered family portrait gradually emerges in the background. This can make the film feel like it has some rough edges, but this very fact just elevates the charm of its retro stylings and its eminently loveable hero.

Leonor Will Never Die is released 7 Apr by Conic

21 Spring/Summer 2023

Plan 75

A thought-provoking and deeply intelligent sci-fi-tinged social drama set in Japan where the elderly are encouraged to terminate their life once they are no longer seen as being ‘useful’ to society

Words: Zoe Crombie

It seems that the concept of ‘productivity’ has been getting a lot of attention recently. Between headlines debating whether we should introduce a four-day work week to relentless TikToks about waking up at 5am for maximum efficiency, it’s hard not to think of yourself in terms of how much you’ve achieved that week, month or year. Writer and director Chie Hayakawa’s Plan 75 provides a harsh critique of this manner of thinking by following the idea through to its logical conclusion – why live at all if you can’t contribute to society?

The title of the film refers to its dark central premise: a controversial new programme introduced by the Japanese government that allows – or really encourages – residents over 75 to be ‘euthanised’, generously giving them a small grant to

Director: Chie Hayakawa

Starring: Chieko Baishô, Hayato Isomura, Stefanie Arianne Akashi

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live in luxury for their last week or so of life. Moving between several characters, from an older woman going through the process to a young salaryman growing disillusioned with his place in this new system, the film functions as a fascinating slice of a society that’s only a hop, skip and a jump from our own.

Though the central messages of the film can be applied to capitalist societies the world over – Scotland included – its specificity as a Japanese film makes Plan 75 all the more intriguing. On one level, there is legitimately a large elderly population who are often left isolated – Japan is even famous for its ‘terminal villages’, in which the populations are almost entirely OAPs who will leave the town empty in a matter of a few short years. More importantly, you have Japan’s culture of the school to university to intense office job pipeline that ultimately leaves many stranded, with anyone unable to fulfil these obligations left on the fringes of society. But dissatisfaction with the 9 to 5 – or the 8 to 7 as it is for so many of us – certainly isn’t regional, and Plan 75 truly captures the paradox of needing to feel useful, but despising the feeling of being used.

There’s much beauty to Plan 75’s dark premise thanks to Hideho Urata’s stunning cinematography, which is reminiscent of Japanese classics like Tokyo Story (1953). This gorgeous framing of the mundane highlights the achingly gorgeous stillness of daily life and implicitly undermines the callousness of the Plan 75 legislation. This quiet distance also allows for a higher degree of contemplation, creating a movie open to interpretation that isn’t just interested in preaching against its premise.

Often the dystopian politics of speculative fiction films end up being too on the nose, but Plan 75 never crosses this line, respecting the viewers’ intelligence enough to let them evaluate the central idea themselves. This is the rare film that encourages introspection and thought in a landscape of blockbusters that spoon-feed viewers and smooth over the rough edges of their messages.

Plan 75 is released 12 May by Curzon

You’ll like this if you enjoyed... Logan’s Run (Michael Anderson, 1976)

Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu, 1953)

I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach, 2016)

23 Spring/Summer 2023

Return to Seoul

A headstrong young Korean woman who was adopted at birth by French parents returns to her homeland in this engrossing journey of self-discovery, with talented newcomer Park Ji-min mesmerising in the lead role

Words: Xuanlin Tham

At the centre of Cambodian-French director Davy Chou’s riveting second feature, Return to Seoul, is a sublime performance with the gravitational force of a black hole. First-time actor Park Ji-min possesses the kind of screen magnetism you feel blessed to witness once in a blue moon; from the very first moment we clap eyes on her character, Frédérique ‘Freddie’ Benoit, we’re pulled irreversibly into her orbit.

The 25-year-old, French-raised Korean adoptee has touched down in Seoul with an impulsive momentum. She’s hellbent on doing, not thinking. When asked whether she’s here to look for her biological parents, there’s a cold amusement in her eyes when she shoots back, “Why should I?” This beguiling heroine’s every move seems designed to defy people’s expectations. Freddie’s return to her homeland isn’t a solemn pilgrimage in search of connection, but rather a turbulent voyage into the indeterminable.

Director: Davy Chou

Starring: Park Ji-min, Oh Kwang-rok, Guka Han, Kim Sun-young, Yoann Zimmer, Louis Do De Lencquesaing, Hur Ouk-sook, Emeline Briffaud, Lim Cheol-hyun, Son Seung-beom, Kim Dong-seok

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Chou’s film spans eight years across vignettes that see Freddie grappling with her ties (or lack of) to her biological parents in this country she can’t seem to leave behind. Does she want to see them? If so, what is she hoping to find? The answer is always enticingly ambiguous. She’s incensed at the thought that her birth parents might not want anything to do with her, but when she meets her father – an alcoholic ravaged with guilt and unhappiness for leaving her behind – she’s as compelled by his piteous love as she is repulsed by it.

Not speaking a lick of the language, Freddie storms through Korea spitting rapid-fire French or impatient English, seemingly eager to register her unfamiliarity with cultural norms as annoyance rather than feelings of isolation. She is both awe-inspiringly untouchable and magnificently seductive: after her first night in Seoul, she wakes up unsatisfied that she can’t remember her sexual encounter with the stranger in her bed. Kicking him awake, she says efficiently in English, “You, me, sex, again.” To his downfall, he’s besotted.

Chou’s film often keeps its cards close to its chest, but never loses our rapturous attention even through its more unpredictable turns. Freddie is egoistic, destructive and erratic, and yet the film so meticulously illustrates her need to be self-reliant that we find ourselves flooded with empathy during even her ugliest behaviour. Park is a marvel, delivering an unforgettable performance within an elusive yet rewarding narrative that would have faltered in lesser hands; you’ll wish you could watch this character forever.

While Return to Seoul appears on the surface to reference familiar ground – the desire for self-definition versus belonging, the smarting of betrayal versus the ache of wanting to be wanted – its brilliance lies in its disinterest in telling a universal story, in favour of a singular one centred on a thorny protagonist. In one of Freddie’s identity-shifting escapades, she falls in with a French arms dealer; he tells her that while selling weapons is a man’s world, she’d fit right in, because “you have to be able to not look back.” Freddie’s answering smile captures the push-and-pull she has no choice but to wrestle against: single-mindedly hurtling into the future sometimes means you become suffocated by everything you’re trying to outrun. An endlessly fascinating, deftly constructed character study, anchored by a dazzling performance that – if there is any justice in this world – should be adorned with every laurel and more.

Return to Seoul is released 5 May by MUBI

You'll like this if you enjoyed... The Worst Person in the World (Joachim Trier, 2021)

The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal, 2021)

On The Beach At Night Alone (Hong Sang-soo, 2017)

25 Spring/Summer 2023


Centred on a magnetic performance from Kelvin Harrison Jr., this sumptuous biopic brings to the fore the life of virtuoso violinist Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the Black French composer whose talent is finally being recognised in the classical music world

Words: Carmen Paddock

The life of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges is a dream for cinema. Born in Guadeloupe in 1745 to a noble French father and an enslaved Senegalese woman, he was taken to France at the age of seven to complete a military education. He was a great swordsman; he famously defeated a racist fencing master in a duel that was seen as a coup for France’s burgeoning anti-slavery movement (and earned a horse and carriage as a reward from his proud father). But it’s Bologne’s extraordinary skill on the violin that won him the most acclaim. His compositions were performed at the city’s most prestigious venues, including the Paris Opera, but with several opportunities curtailed due to his race, he cut ties with the court and threw his weight behind the French Revolution’s message of liberty and equality.

Director: Stephen Williams

Starring: Kelvin Harrison Jr, Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton

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There are still many gaps in this history. Bologne’s death certificate was lost in a fire. The French Revolution put a damper on the country’s musical and operatic scene for several decades, allowing the work of his contemporaries in Vienna (Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven) to eclipse Bologne’s contributions to the era. Most damningly, as the end titles of the lush and loving biopic Chevalier explain, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstated slavery following the Revolution and outlawed performances of Bologne’s works, resulting in many of his manuscripts being destroyed and lost. Bologne’s music is slowly re-entering the classical canon, and this vibrant new film from director Stephen Williams – replete with splendid period detail – arrives at the perfect time to continue this exploration.

The charismatic Kelvin Harrison Jr. plays Bologne as a man who’s incredibly sure of himself – and deservedly so. His skill and charm seem to open every door. He sits in Marie Antoinette’s (Lucy Boynton) box at the opera and sweet-talks Marie Josephine (Samara Weaving), the wife of a gruff officer, into starring in his opera. His charisma will only get him so far, however. As the opening title card reveals, France is about to change forever, and each achievement and setback in Bologne’s life is going to be met and matched by the oncoming political storm.

Not every element of Bologne’s fascinating life has made it into Chevalier – for example, he went on to lead the French Revolution’s first all-Black regiment – but what is here is a sweeping portrait of a mercurial artist trapped in limiting times. Some incidents invented for the film, meanwhile, provide fantastic drama. While Mozart and Bologne lived under the same roof for a short while, there is no record of one crashing the other’s recital for a high-spirited violin showdown.

Kris Bowers’ score wonderfully complements the compositions in the film by Bologne and his contemporaries Gluck and Mozart, fitting the mood and era perfectly while allowing the period music to still take centre stage. It’s a similar story with Stefani Robinson’s script, which juxtaposes ‘modern’ ways of thinking and talking within the reconstructed pre-Revolution setting, allowing concepts of racial justice and female autonomy to be introduced in a world far removed from the 21st century.

Arriving at a time when Bologne is experiencing a resurgence in the classical music world, Chevalier is a gorgeous introduction to a remarkable man.

Chevalier is released 9 Jun by Disney

You’ll like this if you enjoyed... Amadeus (Miloš Forman, 1984)

Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola, 2006)

Belle (Amma Asante, 2013)

27 Spring/Summer 2023

How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Filled with heart-in-mouth action setpieces and brimming over with righteous anger, Daniel Goldhaber’s nerve-shredding eco-thriller paints a compelling portrait of radical young activists taking a crucial stand for our fragile environment

Words: Jamie Dunn

Few films can boast the urgency of How to Blow Up a Pipeline. It’s based on Andreas Malm’s political manifesto of the same name from last year, but there’s nothing academic about what writer-director Daniel Goldhaber (along with co-writers Ariela Barer and Jordan Sjol) has produced. They have spun Malm’s potent political ideas into a nerve-shredding thriller that’s smart, kinetic and utterly gripping.

From its opening moments, How to Blow Up a Pipeline throws us in with a ragtag group of idealistic young people who’ve come together from all across the United States to take part in an act of sabotage on a key oil pipeline in Texas. Their plan plays out in exacting detail, with every ounce of tension wrung from its execution, from making improvised explosives from a cocktail of household chemicals to moving the volatile devices to their targets.

With their righteous fury and go-for-broke attitude, this freshfaced posse (played by a who’s who of upcoming talents like Forrest Goodluck, Lucas Gage and Sasha Lane) could be mistaken for foolhardy eco-warriors if it were not for Goldhader’s ingenious structure, which intermittently pauses the breakneck plot at moments of high anxiety to flashback to the inciting incidents that drove each of these youngsters into taking a stand. It’s a technique that not only develops deep empathy with characters who initially read as shallow and reckless, but acts as a welcome pressure cooker release valve for the on-the-edge-oftheir-seat audience. The result is one of the most exciting films of the year – and the most necessary one.

How to Blow Up a Pipeline is released 21 Apr by Vertigo

Director: Daniel Goldhaber

Starring: Ariela Barer, Kristine Froseth, Lukas Gage, Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, Marcus Scribner, Jake Weary, Irene Bedard

You’ll like this if you enjoyed... Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt, 2013)

Good Time (Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie, 2017)

The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953)

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My Imaginary Country

Rousing documentary from legendary Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán that finds inspiring optimism in the recent wave of youthful protests against his home nation’s corrupt governmental systems

Words: Ben Nicholson

Across 2019 and 2020, Chile saw a number of enormous demonstrations and swathes of civil unrest known as Estallido Social, or the ‘social outburst’. An explosive reaction to a growing sense of inequality and injustice, the protest movement eventually saw a national referendum in which an overwhelming majority voted to rewrite the constitution. In amongst all of this was Patricio Guzmán, a filmmaker who has spent decades producing incredible documentaries about his country and its cultural and political landscape. Now in his 80s, Guzmán has turned his camera on the younger generation railing against a corrupt system in his powerful new film My Imaginary Country

For those familiar with Guzmán primarily through his recent extraordinary trilogy of essay films – Nostalgia for the Light (2010), The Pearl Button (2015) and The Cordillera of Dreams (2019) – this new film might feel quite different. My Imaginary Country tackles the state of contemporary Chile in a more immediate documentary style. It includes a wealth of gripping on-the-ground footage that recalls other recent protest films like Jehane Noujaim’s The Square (2013) and Sergei Loznitsa’s Maidan (2014). Guzmán combines this powerful material with talking heads of various people, all of them women, commenting on the situation either from a position of direct involvement or offering broader context.

Although he allows their words space to define the film’s account, his own first-person narration draws their interviews together and links back to the violent legacy of the Chilean past that he has brought to attention before. There could hardly be a person better placed than Guzmán to portray – and be swept up in – the hopeful energy of a new generation and to take audiences along for the ride. Guzmán is one of the great political filmmakers of our time and this documentary will be a rousing experience on the big screen.

My Imaginary Country is released 9 Jun by New Wave

You’ll like this if you enjoyed... The Square (Jehane Noujaim, 2013)

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (Evgeny Afineevsky, 2015)

The Weather Underground (Sam Green & Bill Siegel, 2002)

29 Spring/Summer 2023

Film Quiz

How well do you know Scottish cinema? We put you to the test

1. Scotland at the Oscars: who won the Best Supporting Actor award in 1988 for The Untouchables?

2. Morvern Callar and Our Ladies are based on novels by which author?

3. Who voiced Princess Merida of DunBroch in Pixar’s Brave?

4. In the opening scene of World War Z, the area around George Square in Glasgow doubled for which US city?

5. Scotland at the Oscars: Which Talking Heads legend won the Oscar for Best Score for The Last Emperor in 1988?

6. Which Scottish ballet dancer starred in The Red Shoes (1948)?

7. Sean Connery’s last screen performance was in which 2003 film?

8. Which Scottish director won the Best Newcomer award at this year’s Baftas?

9. Name Lynne Ramsay’s debut film?

10. Which new wave singer ended up on a date with Gregory in Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl?

11. Scotland at the Oscars: who won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 1999 for One Day in September?

12. The brother of question 12 is also in the film business. He’s a producer whose credits include Trainspotting, Never Let Me Go and Ex Machina. What’s his name?

13. Which 2013 jukebox musical features the songs of the Proclaimers?

14. Scotland at the Oscars: who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2008 for Michael Clayton?

15. Who plays a grownup Danny Torrance in Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining?

16. On which cobblestone street in Edinburgh were Vision and Wanda accosted in Avengers: Infinity War?

17. Who directed The Sweet Smell of Success, The Ladykillers and Whisky Galore!?

18. Talking of Whisky Galore!, that classic Ealing comedy is set on the fictional island of Toddy. But on which Scottish island was it actually filmed?

19. Which rock band provided the bombastic soundtrack to Highlander in 1986?

20. Scotland at the Oscars: which future Doctor Who actor won the Best Short Film Oscar for their 1993 short Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life?

Answers on page 3

Indie Cinema Guide
30 End Credits

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Spring Summer 2023


Godland; Return to Seoul ; Beau Is Afraid; War Pony; Leonor Will Never Die; Sick of Myself; One Fine Morning; Asteroid City

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