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At the Circus

1939 Continued

We look beyond the Best Picture Oscar nominees that make up GFF’s ace Hooray for Hollywood strand and pick some of the other gems from 1939


he star-dusted celluloid constituting this year’s Hooray for Hollywood retrospective makes a strong case for 1939 being the most illustrious 12 months in the history of American cinema – and who are we to disagree? Of course, the year’s reputation doesn’t rest on Best Picture nominees alone, with hundreds of other films thundering through the Hollywood studio system across the same period. So where next to turn attentions once one has walked the yellow brick road, bid adieu to Mr Chips and delighted in Garbo’s laugh? Well, you could do a darn sight worse than this lot…

At the Circus

Granted, the Marx Brothers’ Paramount heyday was several years behind them by this point, but all the classic hallmarks are there if you look for them, from prickly wisecracks (“I bet your father spent the first year of your life throwing rocks at the stork”) to visual lunacy (a knockabout finale featuring a gorilla on a trapeze and Margaret Dumont’s society dame being fired out of a cannon) – and, in Groucho’s signature performance of Lydia the Tattooed Lady, the most memorable musical interlude of their entire oeuvre.

The Roaring Twenties

A hard-edged prohibition tale told with plenty of moxie, The Roaring Twenties charts the moral


erosion of opportunistic bootlegger Eddie Bartlett; a milk-supping first world war vet who gradually hardens into a ruthless crime boss in jazz age New York. In the lead role, a sly-eyed James Cagney conveys a perilous charisma that carries the saga through its decade-long sweep, while there’s stellar support from a tough-talking Gladys George (as the no-nonsense club owner who first leads Eddie astray) and a perfectly repellent Humphrey Bogart (as an old army pal turned volatile business partner). Last year, the GFF included The Roaring Twenties as part of its Cagney retrospective, so if you missed out then, now’s as good a time as any to track down a copy and remedy the situation.

The Hound of the Baskervilles/The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Basil Rathbone wasn’t the first actor to inhabit the role of Arthur Conan Doyle’s master sleuth, not by a long chalk. Neither was he the last, with Peter Cushing, Benedict Cumberbatch and a bonneted Robert Downey Jr. (to name but a handful of the more high-profile examples) all putting their own slant on Baker Street’s most famous resident in the decades since. Yet for the last 70 years, his has been the iteration against which every other has been judged – the closest thing cinema has to a quintessential

Words: Chris Buckle Sherlock Holmes. While later films in Rathbone’s 16-film series saw the character thwarting Nazis in contemporary wartime settings, these initial Victorian-set instalments – released a few months apart by 20th Century Fox – present the character in more familiar terms: first investigating one of the most famous cases from the Conan Doyle canon, and then battling Moriarty in a Tower of London showdown.

Only Angels Have Wings

A year after they made effervescent screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, Cary Grant reunited with director Howard Hawks for this thrilling actionadventure yarn, set in a fictional banana republic on the edge of the Andes. Grant plays a tough-minded pilot charged with getting the mail flown out on time whatever the weather, whatever the risk, while fellow marquee name Jean Arthur is the visiting showgirl who locates his sensitive side. But the real love story is that between the fatalistic pilot fraternity and their profession, with life-or-death choices taken on the chin and heroic sacrifices the order of the day. GFF’s Hooray for Hollywood strand runs until 28 Feb Screenings start at 11am each day


Reviews The Double

Director: Richard Ayoade Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska


Richard Ayoade deftly crafts humanist comedy from dark, Kafkaesque absurdity in his Dostoyevsky adaptation The Double. Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is trapped in an uncanny, Orwellian nightmare, living in a lonely tower block and stuck in perpetual night. He works for a sinister company with the obscure objective to turn people into data “as there is no such thing as a special person”. Simon knows this more than most – not only is he not special, he’s a forgettable non-person, so much so that when his literal and figurative doppelgänger James Simon (also Eisenberg) shows up to win over his

office and his girl, not even his friends notice that he is an exact simulacrum of Simon. Eisenberg’s duel performance crackles as the hapless romantic Simon and the misogynistic, manipulative James. Mia Wasikowska is Hannah, Simon’s unrequited love and a manic pixie dream girl with a voice. Ayoade’s film is wonderful artifice, perfectly constructing a claustrophobic microcosm of aural and spatial unheimlich; an intensely hostile world, as terrifying as it is funny. [Rachel Bowles]

The Double

22 Feb, GFT 1, 8.40pm 23 Feb, GFT 1, 1.20pm

The Dance of Reality

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky Starring: Brontis Jodorowsky, Pamela Flores, Jeremias Herskovits, Alejandro Jodorowsky


For a man with a huge cult following and clear influence on many filmmakers, the Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky has actually made very few films since his 1968 feature-length debut Fando and Lis; indeed, one of his most famous projects is his intended adaptation of Dune which ultimately never came to fruition. The likes of his El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre are revered for their provocative and often violent surrealism. The Dance of Reality is his first effort since 1990, and concerns his childhood and his father’s exploits in 1930s Chile. The autobiographical premise might incline one to think this would be a relatively straightforward effort, but among the regular sights and sounds are a mother who sings all her dialogue, a gang of limbless street beggars, interjections from adult Jodorowsky to his child self, and chests and radios being pissed on. This probably isn’t an ideal starting point for a Jodorowsky novice, but fans of the Fellini brand of self-referential biography cinema may find it appealing. [Josh Slater-Williams] 23 Feb, GFT 2, 5.45pm

The Heart of Bruno Wizard

The Heart of Bruno Wizard

Director: Elisabeth Rasmussen Starring: Bruno Wizard, Stephen Jones, Don Letts


Cultural histories are inevitably filled with the non-descript attempts by the unlucky, untalented and generally pathetic to grasp the attention/fame/ security that they believe are rightfully theirs. To use the common parlance of our time, they are ‘scenesters’, or to be more unkind: hangers on from the last refuge of the damned… Bruno Wizard is one such habituate (but it could be any story: same dance, different disco). Elisabeth Rasmussen’s documentary is as confused as it is technically and formally inept. Jumping from decade


to decade, she seems to miss the point too many times to mention. Bruno was marginally successful with his bands – The Homosexuals and before them The Rejects (regulars at legendary punk venue The Roxy) – but he always appeared to be on the outside looking in, and what follows is to be expected: drug abuse, death, NY, homelessness and a council flat in East London. The interviewees in the film are far more interesting (Don Letts, Stephen Jones, Marilyn, etc.) and seem perplexed that this court jester of the Warren Street squat is attracting such

attention, but of course if you hang around for long enough everyone will get their chance in front of a camera. The last word should be left for the (then) NME hip young gunslinger Tony Parsons’ review of The Rejects: “like a braying donkey run over by a truckload of Librium, they are out of tune, out of talent and out of their depth.” Very much like this film. [D W Mault] 23 Feb, GFT 2, 9pm


The Loneliness of the Long Distance Driver

Today’s Picks The Last of the Unjust

Cineworld, 1.30pm Claude Lanzmann, the unflinching director of Shoah, returns with an equally challenging, provocative piece, this time built around an interview with Rabbi Benjamin Murmelstein, a controversial figure during the war. Not an easy watch, but important, fascinating film-making.

Steven Knight’s Locke represents a cinematic ‘anti-genre’ that uses just one figure to explore the human condition Words: D W Mault

The Dance of Reality

GFT, 5.45pm Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of the most unique, bizarre directors still working today, so his autobiographical film is sure to be far from the norm. With his son Brontis attending the screening this will be more unpredictable than a Shia LaBeouf press conference.



inema is solitary; it forewarns us of the existential horror of oncoming solitude. Born alone, we will die alone; that is the curse of existence. It’s a (if not the) theme of cinema and its adherents. Films featuring one man (or woman) simply being and trying to escape the ticking of the clock provoke the audience unlike any other form. Locke is the latest film from Steven Knight, coming soon after his directional debut: Redemption. It’s a completely different beast, singular and precise in it’s form. A car, a journey, a man (Tom Hardy) and a phone call that will change his life for ever. When examining the history of single actor films, patterns begin to emerge. Adaptations of theatrical monologues, such as the series of Spalding Grey events (filmed by Jonathan Demme, Steven Soderbergh, Nick Broomfield and Thomas Schlamme), or Give ‘Em Hell Harry, Steve Binder’s film of James Whitmore’s tour de force as Harry S Truman, don’t quite fit into this subgenre. They ultimately surpass cinema and become the performance, so are perhaps too singular in their efforts to make us listen, forget, not see and connect. This category also doesn’t include documentary films that feature one person, like Sobibór, 14 Octobre 1943, 16 Heures by Claude Lanzmann; his filmed interview with Yehuda Lerner

telling us (Lanzmann) how he escaped from the eponymous extermination camp. Lanzmann is again staring through an avatar to the unholy truth. Cinema as solitude, then, if not documentaries or monologues, is film viewed within the prism of a single person strolling through their own existence, often lowering them to deep-seated melancholy. This niche subgenre can be summed up by various films that work perfectly as companion pieces to Knight’s Locke. The film that captures more than any other the notion of pure cinema as existential conundrum is Bernard Queysanne’s Un Homme Qui Dort. Adapted by Georges Perec from his own novel it follows a student in complete silence as he decides on indifference to a hostile world that rejected him. We hear via voice-over the incantations of an unknown woman who comments on the anti-hero’s actions. It’s impossible to watch and exist within this experience without thinking of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea and his anti-hero Antoine Roquentin. If Un Homme Qui Dort exists in the moment, then Sunil Dutt’s Yaadein is very much a film that looks back in sorrow and regret, as Sunil Dutt himself arrives home to find his wife and children not there, causing him to worry that they have left him. Belonging to a cinema of regret and reminiscences,

this struggles with the empty nature of elegy and its misplaced sorrow for actions that have passed. Similarly Robert Altman’s Secret Honor, a film that wallows in ‘woe is me’ piety as we follow Richard Nixon (expertly portrayed by Philip Baker Hall), is another long dark night of the soul as he rants and screams in the self pitying way that only Nixon could. All these films explore the nature of the individual by having them cut off from other individuals, finding drama in this paradox. Through the solitary nature of these films, the audience is invited to experience that isolation themselves. The films mentioned here may have escaped the perspective of the mass media but other examples are to be found from all corners of the globe, for this is an anti-genre that thrills to the possibilities of cinema and all it can be. Further watching: Buried (Rodrigo Cortes), Prospero’s Books (Peter Greenaway), La Cabina (Antonio Mercero), The Wild Blue Yonder (Werner Herzog), The Noah (Daniel Bourla), The Last Letter (Frederick Wiseman) and Seraphita’s Diary (Frederick Wiseman). 23 Feb, Cineworld 18, 8.45pm 24 Feb, Cineworld 18, 1pm

The Dance of Reality

Plot for Peace

Cineworld, 6.30pm It’s time the world learned about Monsieur Jacques, a man who helped end apartheid but never took any credit for it. Docu-thriller Plot For Peace reconstructs his life story through interviews and archive footage, making this essential viewing for anyone with an interest in South African history or the late Nelson Mandela, who Jacques helped release.

Plot for Peace

A Spell To Ward Off Darkness GFT, 3.15pm An experimental, artistic film about searching for utopia in a secular society, shot on 16mm. For anyone who likes their films to be cerebral, this may well prove to be the paradise the filmmakers were looking for.

The Stag

Un Homme Qui Dort



Secret Honour

Cineworld, 1pm A heartwarming Irish comedy about a stag party that goes horribly wrong, starring Moriarty from TV’s Sherlock. All that drinking, nudity and male bonding may cause flashbacks to Saturday nights on Sauchiehall Street.


What’s new Michel online? Gondreams Chris Petit

The filmmaker behind The Museum of Loneliness speaks to the GFF about his unique work, ‘post-cinema’ and Mordant Music.

The distinctive French director returns with another unique yet universal reverie

Words: Nathanael Smith

A Tale of Two Fests

“Tonight,” declares Stéphane, the hero of The Science of Sleep, “I’ll show you how dreams are prepared.” This witty, audacious claim (itself said within a dream) could well be interpreted as Michel Gondry’s mission statement. His oeuvre is characterised by dreams and dreamers; not the carefully considered mindscapes of Inception, however, but something far more chaotic and vibrant, closer to the places we really go when we sleep. Gondry, more than many directors, realises the potential of cinema to express the irrational and instinctive aspects of the brain. From his breakout second feature Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, where the third act takes place in the memories of its protagonists, to The We and the I, set almost entirely on a bus as the

The Scotsman are once again creating a pointless feud between the Edinburgh and Glasgow Film Festivals, seemingly ungrateful to have two amazing celebrations of cinema in the same country.

Treasure Hunt

The Walking Heads podcast have created a treasure hunt app for festival goers to download, culminating in a quiz at the Saramago cafe bar. Find out more on their site.


The horrorthon’s website has a fear drenched trailer to whet your bloodthirsty appetites for a weekend of madness.

hopes and fears of school kids are exposed during one long journey, Gondry taps into a common humanity through the way we think. Even in his more commercial but less loved films like Be Kind, Rewind and The Green Hornet, the French director grapples with ambition and obsession, lending his unique visual flair to less inspired material. Mood Indigo, adapted from the Boris Vian novel Froth on the Daydream, sees Gondry at his most abstract since The Science of Sleep. It’s about a dreamer and inventor who falls in love with a woman with a lily in her lungs. Dance, flights of fancy and the kind of

visuals Tim Burton would create if he were happier all abound, showing that Gondry has lost none of his creativity or invention. Perhaps the appeal of Gondry’s films lies in the fact that everyone dreams, so there is something universal about the worlds he creates. “In dreams, emotions are overwhelming,” observes Stéphane, and once more the very same could be said for Gondry’s films themselves. With Mood Indigo, it’s time for us all to dream again. 23 Feb, GFT, 8.30pm 24 Feb, GFT, 1.30pm

What did you think? Six of the best tweets

Tag your tweets #CINESKINNY! You may end up featured here... which would be nice

Skinny Reviews


Missed out on any of our GFF reviews this year? Catch up with them online.

Fellow Glaswegians, I urge you all to attend at least one of the outstanding events on at @glasgowfilmfest. Personal fave: Dark Blood #GFF14 #CINESKINNY





He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. #GFF14 #CINESKINNY It’s an impossible pipe dream but I would love Veronica Mars to be the @glasgowfilmfest Surprise Film. What is everyone’s (genuine) guess? #GFF14 #CINESKINNY

Picture of the day

Please do try and see Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me at @glasgowfilmfest if you can. It’s terrific. She’s terrific. #GFF14 #CINESKINNY Coming to my Empty on Sunday night? Bring a game with you, and use it to buy in to HIGH STAKES SUPER HEXAGON. Winner takes ALL #GFF14 #CINESKINNY

Rejected extras from The Grand Budapest Hotel


Photo: Eoin Carey

Produced by The Skinny magazine in association with the Glasgow Film Festival Editor Jamie Dunn Designer Ana Hine Assistant Editors Nathanael Smith Patrick Harley Distribution Franchesca Hashemi Graeme Campbell Jennifer Clews

GFF Box Office Order tickets from the box office at or call 0141 332 6535 or visit Glasgow Film Theatre 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB


CineSkinny @ GFF14 – Issue 4  

We look beyond the Best Picture Oscar nominees that make up GFF's ace Hooray for Hollywood strand and pick some of the other gems from 1939....

CineSkinny @ GFF14 – Issue 4  

We look beyond the Best Picture Oscar nominees that make up GFF's ace Hooray for Hollywood strand and pick some of the other gems from 1939....