In my time living in Scotland, film and trips to the cinema have always been a passion and a highlight of my life. I have been hugely fortunate to work in a film environment for many years and with GFT and Glasgow Film where film lovers of all ages are guaranteed to find a special place to watch movies together! As a not-for-profit educational charity and working in our beautiful Post Art-Deco building (a working cinema since 1939), Glasgow Film brings people together to experience a staggering range of film and talk about it whenever and however possible. Thousands of children and young people have their first film experiences with us and we welcome over 45,000 ticket holders for the Glasgow Film Festival each February. Ironically, in running a cinema, the one thing which signifies a good film experience for me is that I forget I am sitting in my seat and become totally wrapped up in the film! I have so many favourite films but have narrowed down some of my top favourites here.
Withnail and I - Bruce Robinson (1987)
Semi- autobiographical film set in the 60's featuring two drama students escaping to the country for a weekend which turns into a disaster but with many hilarious moments on the way and a bitter-sweet ending. This was a film I first saw when I was a student at Edinburgh College of Art in the mid 1980's. I laughed long and loud and still do, at the marvellous performances of Richard E Grant and Paul McGann who are superb. I will never tire of it and continue to watch it now and I can anticipate so many funny and brilliant lines along the way.
Blue Velvet - David Lynch (1986)
I also saw this when a student so it is part of my formative cinema experience and probably has a lot to do with my lifelong love for the silver screen. David Lynch is a master of story-telling and this, in my opinion, is his masterpiece. What lurks beneath the squeaky-clean exterior of this small American town is something dark and foreboding, far darker than you can imagine. Lynch takes us on some chilling journeys and the tension in this story is one which holds up today brilliantly. I watched it recently after a long time and it is still brilliant, stomach-churning and one of the greatest films ever made.
The Untouchables - Brain de Palma (1987)
This film really brings back amazing memories for me as a young usher working at the Edinburgh Film Festival when I was lucky enough to see the UK premiere of this tale of Eliot Ness vs Al Capone. It is compelling, hugely exciting and carried by its stunning Ennio Morricone soundtrack. Kevin Costner, Sean Connery and Robert De Niro star in the film and which has never lost its cinematic quality for me. Ironically, now being involved in running the fabulous Glasgow Film Festival at GFT and my excitement at being involved in such a prestigious festival, always reminds me of seeing this so many years ago and how cinema has become part of my working life but is still about the excitement of when the lights go down and the curtain opens!
Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources 1986
Again, this 2-part tail stems from my student years in Scotland and I remember the impact of seeing this gripping, brutal tale of greedy neighbouring landowners Le Papet and Ugolin (brilliantly portrayed by Yves Montand and Daniel Auteuil) plotting to block the well of the new family trying to work the arid land, headed by Jean, superbly played by Gerard Depardieu. These films are wonderful and tell such a tragic tale over generations with the finale in the hands of Jean's young daughter Manon (Emmanuelle Beart) . I adored seeing this in the cinema and they really sparked a love of French cinema for me which has continued to this day.
Parasite - Bong Joon Ho, 2019
Wow, this film is so good and has been a huge hit at GFT. I absolutely loved the story here and how we see the poverty-stricken Kim family infiltrate the life of the wealthy Park family with devastating consequences. I love the characters and how the story unfolds to its incredible climax. The film won Best Picture at the Oscars this year which is a wonderful tribute to a subtitled film which takes you on a roller-coaster ride in your cinema seat which is really what it is all about!
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