FREE MONDAY 18 FEBRUARY THE OFFICAL GFF DAILY GUIDE
WHAT’S INSIDE? 2 — TODAY’S PICKS We hacked Allan Hunter’s
voicemail to find out what’s worth watching today
2 — RÉGIS ROINSARD Apparently Populaire is French
3 — REVIEWS Compliance Our Children Pablo’s Winter
4 — WHAT’S NEW ONLINE? Currently, many people arguing
4 — ENTRE CHIEN ET LOUP
BETTER GATE THAN NEVER Heaven’s Gate
GFF guest James Cagney
4 — WHAT DO YOU THINK?
WORDS: PHILIP CONCANNON
Between a dog and a wolf there is a huskie?
4 — PICS OF THE DAY We managed to get a snap of
The long maligned has seen a critical resurgence in recent years, now aided by a stunning restoration from PARK CIRCUS THE KNIVES were out for Michael Cimino when Heaven’s Gate finally limped into American cinemas in late 1980. In The New York Times, Vincent Canby described it as “an unqualified disaster,” arguing that “nothing in the movie works properly. For all of the time and money that went into it, it’s jerry-built, a ship that slides straight to the bottom at its christening.” Roger Ebert said “The ridiculous scenes are endless,” and suggested that the film was “the most scandalous cinematic waste” he had ever seen. Having already been roundly mocked during its long and troubled production, Heaven’s Gate was now saddled with a toxic reputation that instantly sank it at the box office, taking down United Artists and its director’s career with it. Over thirty years later, it’s high time Heaven’s Gate was pulled out from under the wreckage of its reputation and regarded with fresh eyes. It’s hard to deny that the film is an uneven, lumbering beast, and that Cimino struggles to reconcile his characters and their relationships with the scope of his story, but this picture has considerable greatness within it. The sheer scale of the thing is something to behold. Irrepressible ambition was a
with the editor’s review of Songs for Amy
double-edged sword for Michael Cimino. Having won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for his second film, 1978’s The Deer Hunter, the young auteur regarded himself as a true artist and would allow nothing to stand in the way of his vision. The tales of his multiple retakes, absurdly detailed production design, and tantrums when beleaguered producers tried to clip his wings are legendary (and captured brilliantly in Steven Bach’s essential book Final Cut), but what has been lost in all of this is the fact that Cimino’s arrogance was at least partially justified by his talent. Heaven’s Gate cost a lot of money, but that money is right up there on the screen. Heaven’s Gate is an incredible spectacle. Shot in dreamy, misty tones by Vilmos Zsigmond (McCabe & Mrs Miller, The Deer Hunter), the film establishes a rich and authentic atmosphere that will completely draw you into its time and place if you allow it to. Cimino gives us something to look at in every scene, from the spectacular art direction to a series of brilliantly staged set-pieces. The introduction of Christopher Walken’s character (Nate Champion), silhouetted through a white sheet; the ambush that opens
the film’s second half; Champion’s last stand as his cabin burns around him; the thrilling climactic battle. These scenes and many others deserve to be rediscovered on the big screen, and the film deserves to be admired for its virtues instead of damned for its excesses. Along with such costly flops as Scorsese’s New York, New York, Spielberg’s 1941, Altman’s Popeye and Coppola’s One From the Heart, Heaven’s Gate helped to kill off the director-led creative resurgence of 70s American cinema, but also serves as a reminder of a period during which filmmakers regularly reached beyond their grasp and almost touched glory. At a time when too many studio films are happy to play it safe for fear of failure, it’s exhilarating to watch a film driven by such determination, ambition and artistry, even if those qualities are the very things that almost destroy it. Maybe Heaven’s Gate is a failure, but by God it’s a glorious one. 18 FEB - CINEWORLD 18 @ 17.30 GLASGOWFILM.ORG/FESTIVAL/ WHATS_ON/4737_HEAVENS_GATE
Far too many jokes about people being stoked to see Stoker
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GFF BOX OFFICE Order tickets from the box office at www.glasgowfilm.org/festival or call 0141 332 6535 or visit Glasgow Film Theatre 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB email@example.com
MONDAY 18 FEBRUARY THE CINESKINNY 1
ARBITRAGE 18.15 @ GFT 1
Margin Call showed that hedge funds, stocks and financial crises could be pant-shittingly exciting and Arbitrage continues in this trend. The GFF programme hails this as a career best performance from Richard Gere. Its authors obviously haven’t seen Nights in Rodanthe.
WONDER WOMEN! 15.30 @ GFT 2
Subtitled ‘The Untold Story of America’s Superheroines’, this documentary looks at the great female heroes of comics and cinema. Although it focusses on Wonder Woman, its remit extends from Ripley to Buffy. If we’re lucky, we may even find out why Halle Berry’s Catwoman was ever made.
MERCY 20.30 @ CINEWORLD 18
A typically light-hearted Norwegian offering concerning a fatal road accident and a family who struggle to cope in its aftermath. Scandinavian thrillers are so hot right now, have you heard?
SIMON MUNNERY 21.15 @ GFT 2
The esoteric comedian brings his latest show to Glasgow. Lurking at the back of the room, Munnery dispenses musings, sketches and real-time animation onto the big screen in an unpretentious decontextualisation of stand-up.
SIDE EFFECTS 18.15 @ CINEWORLD 17
Steven Soderbergh’s latest film was a last minute addition to GFF, and this psychological thriller will no doubt feature his usual trademarks of slow burning tension and piss yellow lighting. His latest muse Channing Tatum stars, which may lead to hysteria, drooling and involuntary screaming.
OUR TYPE OF GUY Fresh from his triumphant opening Gala, we spoke to Populaire director RÉGIS ROINSARD about the making of the film INTERVIEW: NATHANAEL SMITH FRENCH DIRECTOR Régis Roinsard is as bright and charming as Populaire, his debut feature which opened this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. When we meet in a plush city centre hotel the day after he presented the film to two sold-out audiences, he’s keen to talk about his influences (Wilder, Godard and Tarantino among them), his filmmaking process and the real life competitive typing tournaments from which he drew inspiration. His responses to my questions are measured and thoughtful, and give the overwhelming impression of a humble man who is delighted with what he has achieved. “I’m proud,” he says simply when I ask if his first film turned out as he had hoped, “and it’s very close to my original vision.” He has every right to be pleased with Populaire, for its peppy vibrance has won over both audiences and hardened critics alike. Its success, however, was not without challenges – “For a feature it’s a marathon, whereas when you do a music video it’s more like a 100m sprint” – but he sees the film’s narrative of liberation echoed in his own personal journey. “For Louis and for Rose [the sweet couple around which Populaire is centred] it’s very important to be free,” he tells me. “In my life it’s exactly the same; to do a movie is very important. Right now with Populaire, it’s freeing because it’s my own script. I chose everything for this movie: actors, costumes, crew.” The more we talk, the more it becomes clear how personal the film is and how much of his vision appears on the screen. “I wrote the script and I directed the movie, and they are kind of the same thing,” he explains. “Because during the mise-en-scène, it’s writing; during the editing, it’s writing.” The man’s vision manifested itself in a distinct style of bright colours and sharp outfits that feels something like Mad Men meets Amelie. Eye-popping art design is one of Populaire’s chief pleasures and Roinsard had this aesthetic in mind from the very early stages of pre-production. “When I finished the script, I made sure to put in a lot of references about the colours and image,” thus letting any hesitant
RÉGIS ROINSARD WITH FIANCÉE VALERIE TAYLOR AND GFF CO-DIRECTORS ALLISON GARDNER AND ALLAN HUNTER
producers know exactly what kind of film to anticipate. The result is a vibrant view of the 1950s that may be candy-coloured but certainly doesn’t candy-coat the more unpleasant aspects of the
“For a feature it’s a marathon, whereas when you do a music video it’s more like a 100m sprint” RÉGIS ROINSARD decade, such as its institutionalised gender discrimination. “During the shooting and preparation of the movie, I worked very closely with the set decorator and the costumer and the director of photography to have the best vision of the 50s. Not the 50s generally, but my vision of the 50s.” It’s here that he begins to
get carried away naming films he loves; he talks of Douglas Sirk, and of Populaire’s striking hotel scene aspiring to be a cross between Vertigo and Une Femme est une Femme. Roinsard is quick to note, however, that his film is no exercise in homage: “I have a lot of references, but I try not to put them in the movie...” Having said that, this is clearly the work of an unashamed cinéphile – Populaire’s look acts as a nifty tribute to the films from the period in which it is set. When I suggest that there is an element of nostalgia in the film, however, he disagrees strongly. “I’m absolutely not nostalgic,” he says when I ask him about his choice to set his first film half a century ago, “I love the cinema from the 50s and 60s, but I also love a lot of movies from the 80s and right now.” So why revel in the period elements? “I find it interesting to find truth in kind of ‘fake’ stuff. I think through the filter of the costume, of the set decor and the historical stuff, I am trying to find my own truth.” POPULAIRE OPENED GLASGOW FILM FESTIVAL 2013 AND IS RELEASED IN THE UK 31 MAY BY ENTERTAINMENT ONE AND MOMENTUM PICTURES
Be the star in your own movie
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PHOTO: STUART CRAWFORD
COMPLIANCE DIRECTOR: CRAIG ZOBEL STARRING: ANN DOWD, DREAMA WALKER, PAT HEALY, BILL CAMP
Compliance opens with the words ‘Inspired by True Events’ in giant lettering and later reveals that incidents similar to those it depicts have occurred over 70 times in various US locations. The film concerns itself with a scenario in which a prank caller, posing as a police officer, persuades fast food staff to interrogate an innocent young employee through demeaning methods, instructions they comply with. What director Craig Zobel forgets is that regardless of the story’s baffling but accurate details from the most notorious of the real-life incidents, depicting authentic material outwith a documentary format renders it fiction, entirely dependent on directorial execution to convey believability.
The film ultimately feels exploitative, especially in its schematic selectiveness about what to show or not. Its generally matter-of-fact approach is at odds with aesthetic choices such as a tasteless thriller score. Actively switching back and forth between the restaurant and the prank caller, meanwhile, shifts the film away from any meaningful exploration of the ideas of compliance or perceived authority, instead offering an external, simplistic, smirking avatar of evil. [Josh Slater-Williams] 18 FEB - CINEWORLD 18 @ 13.15 GLASGOWFILM.ORG/FESTIVAL/ WHATS_ON/4676_COMPLIANCE
OUR CHILDREN DIRECTOR: JOACHIM LAFOSSE STARRING: ÉMILIE DEQUENNE, NIELS ARESTRUP, TAHAR RAHIM
The wounds left behind by colonial Europe are still taking their time to heal and it’s arguable whether cinema has soothed or aggravated them. France in particular seems pushed to confront its past, often at the hands of outsiders such as Gillo Pontecorvo (The Battle of Algiers) and Michael Haneke (Hidden). Here we move next door to Belgium, the country’s fraught involvement with Africa informing the metaphor of an overbearing parental relationship which leads to horrific tragedy. Our Children’s dual purpose narrative is reminiscent of Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, but runs here at a different pace. While providing space for characters to breathe, it’s at times too slow and restrained to sustain audience interest. The film’s subtlety does, however, allow for typically naturalistic performances from Niels Arestrup and Tahar Rahim (both of A Prophet), while Émilie Dequenne excels as the crumbling mother Murielle. Based on a true Belgian infanticide case, this is a film which tackles serious issues that are both intensely personal and widely political, but which fails to offer understanding of subjects that are perhaps simply incomprehensible. [Alan Bett] 18 FEB - CINEWORLD 16 @ 15.45 GLASGOWFILM.ORG/FESTIVAL/ WHATS_ON/4810_OUR_CHILDREN
PABLO’S WINTER DIRECTOR: CHICO PEREIRA
A sustained and intimate portrait absent of cameras or crew, Pablo’s Winter is a documentary posing as fiction. This considered, some of the pithy exchanges between grumpy old man Pablo and his long-suffering wife seem almost too comic to be true. These conversational gems offer welcome moments of pace within the real-time experiences of a man enduring his winter years in Almadén, a small town deadened after the closure of its mercury mines.
Smoking 20 cigarettes a day since he was 12, Pablo is a man for whom five heart attacks are no reason to give up on life and who, when finally persuaded to dance with his wife at a function, tells her, “Don’t get used to this.” While a little more narrative direction would tie the film’s episodic snapshots together, the slow, ruminative pace allows for the opportunity to simply enjoy watching clouds roll by. When rendered this beautifully,
time standing still is no bad thing. [Jac Mantle] 18 FEB - GFT 2 @ 16.45 19 FEB - GFT 2 @ 12.45 GLASGOWFILM.ORG/THEATRE/ WHATS_ON/4813_PABLOS_WINTER
MONDAY 18 FEBRUARY THE CINESKINNY 3
TWILIGHT ZONE WHAT’S NEW ONLINE? Henry Coombes on Entre Chien et Loup INTERVIEW: JAC MANTLE
Reviews of Wadjda, The Happy Lands and more in The Herald’s coverage of the Festival. Alan Morrison also praises Richard Gere, whose film Arbitrage is playing at GFF. tinyurl.com/HeraldFilm
THE HAPPY LANDS ENTRE CHIEN ET LOUP
ENTRE CHIEN et Loup is a night of artists’ films shown with a live sound performance and a party in the swanky surroundings of the Grand Central Hotel ballroom. “The idea of it being ‘between the dog and the wolf’ is that it’s in between the mediums of art and film, a crossover,” Henry Coombes, the night’s organiser, explains. “Obviously a lot of the artists involved do more major projects throughout the year, so this was a good chance for them to show more experimental work. It’s been left totally up to them. The only restrictions were that it has to be a ten minute silent film and have a live sound performance.” Making provisions for these more experimental films within GFF is something Coombes sees as vital for the future of film and video art. “There are a lot of artist filmmakers in Glasgow whose work doesn’t have an appropriate distribution context.” The event has been promoted as a spectacularly lavish affair, and Coombes is excited about bowling over the usually conservative art scene with something ridiculously decadent. He had conceived the party’s theme as the Gold Ballroom scenes from Kubrick’s The Shining, but it has since ‘grown legs.’ “I just think the Glasgow art scene is so dreary and sexless – I mean, that’s my experience of it. So the event is kind of looking at that. The Gold Ballroom’s slowly becoming quite camp. It might lose its definition somewhat.” With such a sparkling night planned, perhaps it will be the first of many crossover events at GFF. “Hopefully it’s the last thing you’d expect at a Glasgow opening, to be served drinks by a 19 year-old boy in hot pants. It just makes me giggle in a really juvenile way.” [Jac Mantle] 18 FEB – GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL @ 20.00
The Daily Record takes an in depth look at the mining strikes film. “Scotland’s most unlikely film star does not have acting in her veins – she has coal dust.” tinyurl.com/HappyLands
FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER
A reviews round up from Simon Gwynn’s blog, where he enthuses about After Lucia, and watches Sunset Boulevard for the first time.
COMIC CON IV
The world’s biggest comic convention is the subject of a documentary by McDonald’s eating, Bin Laden hunting Morgan Spurlock, and The List calls it “the perfect guide to geek heaven.” tinyurl.com/ComicConIV
Join us at our new Festival Club! Open every day, 12noon till late. Come along for free talks & live DJ acts.
SARAMAGO TERRACE BAR, CCA, 350 SAUCHIEHALL STREET
PIC OF THE DAY
JOHN WAGNER SIGNS JUDGE DREDD COMICS
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4 THE CINESKINNY MONDAY 18 FEBRUARY