Next month will mark the 13th annual Glasgow Film Festival and today we learn what movies will raise as well as bring the curtain down on 2017 programme. It will be all about ‘Handsome Devils’ and ‘Mad Doctors’ when the festivities kick off on 15th February (until 26th).
The opening gala will kick off with the European premiere of the Irish Coming Of Age feature Handsome Devil directed by John Butler (The Stag). Starring Sherlock baddie Andrew Scott alongside rising stars Fionn O’Shea and Nicholas Galitzine. 11 days later the festival will close with the world premiere of Mad To Be Normal, chronicling the astonishing life of world-renowned Scottish psychiatrist R. D Laing.
Former Doctor Who/Broadchurch star David Tennant will star as Laing, alongside Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gambon and Gabriel Byrne. Tennant is expected to attend alongside director Robert Mullen.
GFF Opening Gala – Handsome Devil
Wednesday 15 February 19:30 | GFT
Heading up a cast of bright new talent is Fionn O’Shea as gawky, sixteen year-old Ned, a bright, artistic lad who faces his own hell on earth when he is sent to an all-boys Irish boarding school where the manly pursuit of rugby is virtually a religion. He steels himself for the loneliness, ridicule and constant insinuations about his sexuality. Everything changes with the arrival of his new roommate Conor (Nicholas Galitzine), a star player in the rugby team, and inspirational English teacher Dan Sherry (Sherlock and Spectre star Andrew Scott). Ned and Conor bond over a mutual appreciation of cool music and an unlikely friendship blossoms and faces unbearable pressures from a school grimly attached to its narrow macho values.
GFF Closing Gala – Mad To Be Normal
Sunday 26 February 19:30 |GFT
There was no more charismatic or controversial a figure during the Swinging Sixties than Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Dubbed “the white Martin Luther King” and the “high priest of anti-psychiatry”, Laing was as famous as Dylan. In 1965, he established Kingsley Hall in East London as a medication-free community for those seriously affected by schizophrenia. His methods and theories flew in the face of a medical establishment who considered Laing a dangerous radical. Mad To Be Normal offers a powerful account of Laing’s Kingsley Hall experiment with a stunning performance from David Tennant that really gets under the skin of an utterly compelling figure. Tennant’s nuanced, complex work conveys a sense of Laing’s immense personal charm and the combination of intelligence and arrogance that made him revered and reviled. The film also captures the darker side of a mercurial man who rarely made it easy for those who dared to get close to him, especially his lover Angie (Elisabeth Moss).
There will also be a tribute to the late intellectual and storyteller John Berger.The festival has also announced it will host the Scottish premiere of The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger (Friday 24 February, and again on Saturday 25 February). The result of a five-year project by Tilda Swinton, Colin MacCabe and Christopher Roth in collaboration with the composer Simon Fisher Turner, The Seasons in Quincy is comprised of four essay films, each taking different aspects of Berger’s life in the Haute-Savoie. Combining ideas and motifs from Berger’s own work with the atmosphere of his mountain home, each film exists as an individual work of art but combine to make a multifaceted and multilayered portrait of a great artist.
Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allison Gardner said: “I am so excited to share the news about our great Opening and Closing Galas. Handsome Devil is a real crowd-pleaser with a joyous spirit that makes it a perfect film to launch the festival. David Tennant gives an absolutely stunning performance as R.D. Laing in Mad To Be Normal and it seems only fitting that Glasgow should have the honour of hosting the premiere of a film about one of the city’s most complex, charismatic figures. We are also privileged to be able to host the Scottish premiere of The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger, a fascinating look at one of our greatest polymaths”.
As ever Glasgow Film Festival always tries to go one step further every year, whilst the two movies may not be so called ‘big named movies’, it’s highlighting the great movies we have in UK and Ireland. You don’t always have to be big names to have fantastic movies, so it’s great to celebrate our local talent.There will a diverse range of movies, on offer, a festival for everyone and that programme will be fully launched on 18th January. It’s our local film festival so we hope to bring you a wide coverage as possible.
Tickets for the Opening and Closing Galas go on sale at 10am on Monday 9 January from: glasgowfilm.org/festival.