Review: Gaysian Superheroes, SQIFF Rating 95%

Review: Gaysian Superheroes, SQIFF

Curated and hosted by Nyla Ahmad, who researches South Asian identity in comics, and in partnership with Collect:if (Glasgow Women’s Library’s women of colour collective) this selection of short films from two British-South Asian filmmakers explored race, identity, and sexuality in visually exciting, and thematically interesting ways. The event began with activist and director Pratibha Parmar’s 1990 film Bhangra Jig which follows a young Asian woman as she walks through the streets of Glasgow looking up at buildings and wandering through the opulent city chambers, all of which built with colonial wealth and celebrated as symbols of colonial success.

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Review: Looking Awry, SQIFF Rating 95%

Review: Looking Awry, SQIFF

As SQIFF, Glasgow’s Queer Film Festival, returns for a third year it was clear that some soul searching had been done in regards to bisexual programming. The event began with an apology from a member of SQIFF’s staff who discussed how bisexuality is often the sexuality least discussed and catered for before offering an olive branch to the community in the shape of a series of films and talks (called Looking Awry) which discussed, explored and celebrated bisexuality.

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Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin Rating 72%

Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin

Directed by Simon Curtis, renowned for My Week With Marilyn, Goodbye Christopher Robin, a tale of hope and woe, youthful innocence and adult suffering, is similar to other author biopics such as Finding Neverland, Sylvia and Miss Potter, in that it combines fantasy with non-fiction but also dispels of a little bit of the magic that surrounds the author’s books.

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Review: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival Rating 84%

Review: Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival

Having never spent more than an hour in Berwick-upon-Tweed, and those few visits all related to coming or going somewhere else, I’m not sure what to expect from a five-day sojourn. What will a film & media festival be like in this small coastal town? I imagine tramping back and forth from my accommodation to a few different venues, seeing most of the things worth seeing after a couple of days. I certainly don’t imagine that I will leave having missed things I wanted to see, or with the feeling that there were even more places to discover than I had time for.

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Review: La La Land – Live On-Screen with Orchestra Rating 80%

Review: La La Land – Live On-Screen with Orchestra

La La Land is brought to life as it returns to the big screen in theatres around the UK, accompanied by a live orchestra. 
As I sat perched above the sixty-piece orchestra, looking out over a brightly coloured sea of fanatics, all waiting with baited breath, I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to my feelings when I watched the opening sequence of La La Land for the very first time.

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Review: Angels in America Rating 95%

Review: Angels in America

Even experienced from 500 miles away in the local cosiness of the Glasgow Film Theatre, it’s as if an angel has burst through our ceiling and is addressing us with her holy message. Such is the visceral ferocity of the National Theatre’s production of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-winning play, Angels In America. It’s wincingly relevant, bar the lack of smartphones and the internet; simply swap the name of the incumbent president and play a short round of spot the difference.

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Review: Romans Rating 82%

Review: Romans

The IMDB synopsis for this film is “An adult victim of childhood sexual abuse confronts the horrors of his past” and having sat looking at blank screen for thirty or so minutes I’m damned if I can better it. Romans is directed by the Shammasian Brothers from a deeply personal Geoff Thompson script that wades through the wreckage left by abuse while exploring the ongoing damage caused by all who are touched by it.

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Review: A Kind of Seeing & LeithLate presents Drifters Rating 91%

Review: A Kind of Seeing & LeithLate presents Drifters

Jason Singh, international beatboxer, was highly impressive as he demonstrated his skills as a one man cinematic score for John Grierson’s 1929 debut documentary, Drifters. As part of a tour along the North Sea, A Kind of Seeing (AKA Shona Thomson) and LeithLate took this ‘trawler’ film to Destiny Church in Leith, which used to be a cinema in the 1920s. 

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Review: In This Corner of the World Rating 100%

Review: In This Corner of the World

Hiroshima is no longer just a place to us. The memory of tragic events still haunt the word like an infection. When we meet Suzu and her family and learn they live in Hiroshima, we know what’s coming at some point. She is married off to a man she hardly knows and moves to the neighbouring town – even through this we sigh with relief as she’s no longer in THAT place. Her family remain there though, while we get lost in the trials and tribulations of her wartime life. We see her struggle and celebrate her successes alongside her but always – always – the calendar marches forward and in the back of your mind the knowledge of Hiroshima lingers whispering the oncoming darkness.

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Shona Thomson: Bringing films home

As we sit down on the terrace just off the food court of Ocean Terminal, the first thing that comes to Shona Thomson’s mind is to check her MarineTraffic app.  I haven’t heard of it, and she pulls out her phone to show me as it checks her location, then proceeds to provide information on the ships we can see moored in the Leith docks in front of us: a Bahamas-registered cruise ship bound for Kirkwall, and a buoy-laying vessel built in 2000.  Shona’s Twitter handle is @urbantwitcher and, whether or not the Leith docks count as urban, there is a sense that these boats are in contention for becoming this moment’s rare birds.

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Review: My Life As A Courgette Rating 97%

Review: My Life As A Courgette

My Life As A Courgette is the multi-award nominated animation from Claude Barras, featuring a script adapted by Céline Sciamma, who made the incredible Girlhood. With a running time of just over an hour, Golden Globe & Oscar nominations and a hundred per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that I also recommend it as one of the films you absolutely must see this year. I have now watched it three times and felt a life-affirming emotional resonance during each viewing.

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Review: Final Portrait, EIFF 2017 Rating 60%

Review: Final Portrait, EIFF 2017

Before watching Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait, which was screened as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, I had a the absolute pleasure of attending a Q&A session with the director titled “In Person: Stanley Tucci”. Tucci talked about his incredible body of work and how his directorial style is very simple and intimate. Interestingly, he also spoke about the admiration he garnered for Michael Bay while working alongside him on the new Transformers movie, and how part of the thrill of being involved in such a film is watching how someone like Bay works. Tucci was quick to highlight how little his own style compares to Bay’s while also recognising that it was that same dissonance (along with the substantial paycheck!) that drew him towards working with Bay. 

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