FREE THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY THE OFFICAL GFF DAILY GUIDE
WHAT’S INSIDE? 2 — TODAY’S PICKS What’s happening at GFF today 2 — INTERVIEW: DEATH AND MOVIES Bit of a downer: we examine three GFF films that focus on death 3 — REVIEWS Into the Abyss ★★★★ Chinese Take-Away ★★★★ Bob and the Monster ★★★ 4 — WHAT’S NEW ONLINE The latest news, comments and pictures from the festival 4 — COMPETITION Win tickets to see How to Die in Oregon by answering one simple question
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GAME
Produced by The Skinny magazine in association with the Glasgow Film Festival
The CineSkinny puts its gaming skills to the test during an interview with ECSTASY OF ORDER: THE TETRIS MASTERS director ADAM CORNELIUS
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WORDS: CHRIS BUCKLE FROM THE earliest PCs to the latest smart-phones, Tetris extends further than most computer games. Its appeal is intuitive and addictive – and, as with any skill-based pastime, some take to it more seriously than others. The Ecstasy of Order focuses on the game’s most ardent players as they vie for glory in the Tetris World Championships. “I’m not entirely sure this film would appeal to someone who literally has never played video games,” reckons director Adam Cornelius. “Luckily for us, there aren’t many people who fit that description anymore. When I started in 2009, I was a little naïve about the massive popularity of Tetris – unbeknownst to me, it’s had a huge comeback as a cell phone game, selling over 100 million downloads worldwide. So it’s arguably the most played game ever at this point. This
presented us with a rare opportunity to really explain the game in-depth; how the Tetris masters perceive the game and play on an elite level.” Cornelius’s previous documentary People Who Do Noise focused on Portland, Oregon’s experimental music scene, but despite obvious superficial dissimilarities, the director detects parallels between the two subjects. “In both cases you have a situation where human beings have developed almost an emotional or spiritual connection with modern technology,” he suggests. “In the case of Tetris, you hear people talk about the Tetris god, and that sense that it’s always withholding the piece you need. So it takes on a talismanic property; like a way of processing all the bad luck in real life. The masters have found ways to defy bad luck, which must be a very
empowering feeling.” As, er, ‘research’ for this article, we decide to chase that “empowering feeling”, and gauge our pro-player potential against the high scores featured in The Ecstasy of Order – a rather dispiriting comparison. We ask Cornelius how best to boost our relatively puny totals. “The best way to learn is to watch the games of the masters,” he counsels. “Take note of when they place a piece differently than you would have. Their move is almost always the far superior one. Try to figure out why. Repeat.” We heed his advice and, after several hours training, learn that: a) clearing four lines together maximises points; b) planning ahead is crucial; and c) we are never, ever going to make it to Level 14. Sigh.
Jamie Dunn Sean Anderson Becky Bartlett David McGinty
GFF BOX OFFICE Order tickets from the box office at glasgowfilm.org/festival or call 0141 332 6535 or visit Glasgow Film Theatre 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB
SCREENING 23 FEB AT CCA
THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY THE CINESKINNY 1
TALES OF LIFE AND DEATH Death might be the final act, but it’s only the beginning of the debate. We examine three films showing at GFF that engage with this controversial subject
WORDS: BECKY BARTLETT
ALL DIVIDED SELVES
ALL DIVIDED SELVES 18.00 @ GFT Glasgow-based artist and filmmaker Luke Fowler, who won the Derek Jarman Award for experimentation in film in 2008, will be attending this screening of his latest film, based on the life and work of Glaswegian psychiatrist R D Laing. TILT 18.45 @ CINEWORLD Bulgaria’s 2012 Oscar submission is a tale of young love and communism. Writer and producer Borislav Chouckov will be attending for a special Q&A after the screening.
A PSYCHOCINEMATIC RITUAL 20.00 @ THE OLD HAIRDRESSERS Having wowed at last year’s festival, occult project OV is back for an evening of live performance accompanied by impressive visuals, inspired by the occult, magick and the supernatural. SUPERHEROES 19.20 @ GFT This documentary explores a strange new subculture emerging in America, in which average Joes don capes and masks and fight injustice in their community.
LAST MONTH, MSP Margo MacDonald re-introduced a bill into the Scottish parliament that would legalise assisted suicide. It follows her previous attempt in 2010, and if her bid is successful Scotland will be the first country in the United Kingdom to allow terminally ill people the right to die. The subject is a hot topic at the moment, so GFF’s inclusion of several films focusing on death is timely. While the debate is still ongoing in Scotland, in 1994 Oregon became the first American state to legalise assisted dying. Peter Richardson’s documentary, How to Die in Oregon, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2011, follows a number of people considering the options available to them. This poweful HBO film opens with Roger, who is terminally ill, taking a cocktail of drugs to begin his suicide. As Roger is asked his final question, “what will this medication do?” and replies, “it will kill me and make me happy,” the right to choose – and the lack of choice enforced upon others – is at the forefront of the discussion. At the other end of the spectrum is Werner Herzog’s latest documentary, Into the Abyss. While How to Die in Oregon records dying people’s right to end their own life on their own terms, Into the Abyss explores capital punishment. After Michael Perry and his accomplice Jason Burkett took the lives of Sandra Stotler, her teenage son, and his friend, Perry’s choice to live is removed by the state. Herzog
uses this case to examine the death sentence, and the effect both it and the crime that precedes it have on the families involved, in his usual nonjudgemental, matter-of-fact manner. As with Richardson’s film, the viewer is invited to form their own opinions, and how each film is viewed will undoubtedly be affected by the viewer’s beliefs. It is especially interesting that, while the argument within How to Die in Oregon focuses on each individual’s right to control their own life, former – and reformed – executioner Fred Allen claims in Herzog’s documentary that “nobody has the right to take another life.” It is this contrast between the right to end one’s own life, and the right to end the life of another’s, that resonates so strongly between these two documentaries. The third film of the festival focusing on death is The Crow, a graphic novel adaptation from 1994. While seemingly unrelated – it is not a documentary, not based on truth, and doesn’t question the ethics of an individual’s right to choose their own fate – it is a poignant addition to the festival’s roster. A straight-forward, violent revenge story, The Crow follows Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) who is brought back from the grave to avenge his and his fiancée’s death at the hands of a group of thugs. For Draven, his actions serve as just retribution for the tragedy that befell him and his lover, and he cannot find peace until his sadistic killers are destroyed.
While on the surface The Crow seems a simple tale of fiction, events that occurred during filming have added another layer to its story. An error made during loading a gun with dummy cartridges went unnoticed, and the film’s lead (and son of martial art legend Bruce Lee) was shot on set during filming. After he failed to get back up once the director, Alex Proyas, shouted “cut!”, he was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead after a failed attempt at emergency surgery. He was 28 years old. It is hard to imagine anyone other than Lee portraying the tragic, gothic Eric Draven, and the film’s plot – that of a life unfairly taken too early – is reflected off screen by the horrible truth of the actor’s demise. This year, GFF offers its audience three sides to one important, controversial story. The debate continues as to whether the individual has the right to die and whether the state has the right to kill. Then, in the case of Brandon Lee, viewers are shown a man who was offered no choice, no warning, and died, seemingly without cause or reason, for his art. His unintentional sacrifice has, however, ensured both his, and his film’s, legacy. There is a message, a powerful message, at the heart of each of these films, and none should be ignored. HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, INTO THE ABYSS AND THE CROW ARE SCREENING AT GFF 2012 GLASGOWFILM.ORG/FESTIVAL FOR MORE INFO
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REVIEWS BOB AND THE MONSTER DIRECTOR: KEIRDA BAHRUTH STARRING: BOB FORREST, ANTHONY KIEDIS, FLEA, COURTNEY LOVE
★★★ To be a junkie in L.A.’s eighties rock scene “was so important, it was so de rigueur,” drawls Courtney Love in new documentary Bob and the Monster. This is the dangerously flippant caldron of narcotics Bob Forrest found himself in while lead singer of Thelonious Monster. Now, post addiction, we see him in the admirable guise of drug counsellor. This redemptive story and its telling are nothing new. The cocktail of photo stills, grainy live footage, and talking heads seems a little tired now, even if those heads include Anthony Kiedis and Flea. The claymation flash-
backs of drugged-up depravity feel fresh and climbing out of the cliché is the interesting story of Bob the man. The bookends of his fractured youth and current fight against America’s pharmaceutical addiction cures (oh the horrible irony) prove engaging. This is a nostalgic picture of a scene where hedonism and arrogance were tragically entwined. A tale of people who never truly wanted to die, they just refused to believe they ever would. [Alan Bett] SCREENING 24 FEB AND 26 FEB AT CCA AND GFT
CHINESE TAKE-AWAY DIRECTOR: SEBASTIÁN BORENSZTEIN STARRING: RICARDO DARIN, MURIAL SANTA ANA, IGNACIO HUANG
★★★★ Chinese Take-Away might well boast the oddest opening of the festival: on a serenely beautiful lake, an attempted proposal is interrupted by a cow falling from the sky and landing on the wouldbe fiancé. It’s one of several scenes of bizarre death peppered throughout the film, as curmudgeonly shopkeeper Roberto pores over newspaper cuttings for examples of life’s capriciousness. His surly demeanour distances those around him, but he soon experiences chance’s vagaries first-hand with the arrival of non-Spanish-speaking Jun, searching for his family in an unwelcoming Buenos Aires. Chinese Take-Away’s bottom-line homilies – seize the day! Don’t judge a book by its cover! etc. – may be fortune cookie-deep, but, under cover of quirk, writer/director Sebastián Borensztein smuggles in a profundity as unexpected as it is rewarding. Jun regrettably remains a cypher, but this helps concentrate empathy on Roberto (played with pitch-perfect cantankerousness by Ricardo Darin), whose layers gradually unfurl as this handsomely-shot film edges towards its classy conclusion. [Chris Buckle] SCREENING 23 FEB AT CINEWORLD
INTO THE ABYSS DIRECTOR: WERNER HERZOG STARRING: WERNER HERZOG, JASON BURKETT, MICHAEL PERRY, RICHARD LOPEZ
★★★★ Werner Herzog’s latest enquiry into human nature takes him to Texas, where he explores the fallout from a decadeold murder. Into the Abyss is built around interviews with various people connected with the crime, from the killers themselves, now languishing on Death Row, to the friends and families of the deceased. Such a subject leaves little room for the director’s trademark
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eccentricity (although he does bizarrely reduce one man to tears with the question, “tell me about an encounter with a squirrel”) but his curiosity and frankness serve the material well. Herzog has a way of getting his interview subjects to open up and meander with him down unexpected avenues, and Into the Abyss resonates with the messiness of life. My only reserva-
tion is that it feels like the film could go deeper, as Herzog’s occasional struggle to find a focus for his story takes its toll, but that quibble aside, it’s yet another intriguing and surprising film from this ever-fascinating documentarian. [Philip Concannon] SCREENING 23 FEB AND 24 FEB AT GFT RELEASED NATIONWIDE 30 MAR
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WHAT’S NEW ONLINE
Win Tickets to How to Die in Oregon
How to Die in Oregon is a powerful, compassionate and deeply moving contribution to the debate. In 1994, Oregon became the first American state to pass an assisted suicide law. Peter Richardson’s documentary begins with the terminally ill Roger taking the cocktail of drugs that will kill him. It follows a number of individuals considering a similar option, as well as Nancy Ziedzielski as she attempts to get a Death with Dignity law passed in Washington State. Told with acute sensitivity, this is a balanced, thoughtprovoking documentary on an issue that touches us all. We have a pair of tickets to give away to the 15.00 screening on Friday 24 Feb at GFT. To enter, head to theskinny.co.uk/ competitions and provide a caption for the adjacent photo of Dexter Fletcher. Best caption wins. Competition closes: 10am Friday 24 Feb
WOMEN IN COMICS Graphic Scotland blog on women in comics ahead of today’s Kapow! @GFF panel discussion on that very subject. http://bit.ly/ WomenInComics
FALLING FOR BEN RIVERS GFF’s ‘hardcore’ blogger Harriet Warman enjoys an afternoon with Ben Rivers – well his films: feature Two Years at Sea and The Scope Trilogy, a dreamy trio of shorts exploring man’s impact our planet. http://bit.ly/BenRivers IN DARKNESS OSCAR HOPE Greig Gallagher reviews Poland’s Oscar hope In Darkness, which screened 19 and 20 Feb at GFF. http://bit.ly/InDarkness
NIGHT IS DAY ON THE RADIO Night is Day director Fraser Coull discusses his debut feature on Good Morning Scotland ahead of its world premiere at Glasgow Film Festival. http://bbc.in/NightIsDay
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4 THE CINESKINNY THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY
Published on Feb 22, 2012
Chris Buckle talks to Adam Cornelius the director of he Ecstasy of Order and Becky Bartlett peruses the morbid selection of films dealing wi...