Glasgow Film Festival: 10 random highlights

The 10th Glasgow Film Festival begins on Thursday evening. The programme includes 60 UK premieres and seven world premieres as well as a wide range of film-related events. Here are 10 random highlights:

Scarlett Johansson cruising Glasgow in a van trying to pick up men

Let's start at the end. The festival runs until Sunday 2 March and the closing gala will be Jonathan Glazer's dark sci-fi film Under The Skin. Scarlett Johansson stars as an alien dispatched to Earth to hunt and seduce men. The film, set largely in Glasgow, sees her driving a van around the city's dodgier areas, giving the come-on to random men. The film, which is an adaptation of Scottish author Michael Faber's novel, is the first film for a decade from Sexy Beast director Glazer. He will attend the festival along with Scottish actor Paul Brannigan, who appears in the film.

Pop-up all over the place

Image copyright Jamie Nicolson

Creating one-off cinema experiences in unusual venues has become a hallmark of the Glasgow film festival in recent years. This year has loads of them such as a pot-holing expedition beneath Central Station and a screening of The Fog on Glasgow's Tall Ship. There will be a fancy dress screening of Young Frankenstein in the Kelvingrove Museum and a screening of the 1982 videogame film Tron will pop-up in a vintage game arcade set up in the Glue Factory. Another twist is street food cinema where moviegoers are invited to eat food specially designed to complement the film.

Star Wars short strikes back

Image copyright Roger Christian

A short film shown in the cinemas before the 1980 Star Wars feature The Empire Strikes Back disappeared for decades and was believed to have been lost. Black Angel was directed by Roger Christian, who had won an Oscar for his set decoration on the first Star Wars film. On the instructions of Star Wars head honcho George Lucas, Christian set off to Scotland in a camper van to make this fantasy feature, using locations such as Eilean Donan Castle and the Kyle of Lochalsh. After its cinema release it was never seen again until it was found in a studio archive in 2012. The film has been painstakingly restored and Christian will be at the festival to introduce it.

Something completely different

Not long now until Terry Gilliam reunites with the rest of the Monty Python team for much-anticipated shows at the O2 arena in London. In the meantime visionary film-maker Gilliam has been adding another directorial credit to a list which already includes Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The Zero Theorem stars Christoph Waltz and Scottish actress Tilda Swinton in a tale of a reclusive computer genius who strives to crack a fiendishly impossible mathematical equation, discover the meaning of life and find a measure of true happiness. It is another Gilliam dystopian fantasy and he will be in Glasgow to talk about it.

A John Sessions session

Recently seen as the useless chief inspector in the film of Irvine Welsh's Filth, John Sessions has had a bewildering range of roles over the past four decades. He was a voice actor on eighties puppet satire Spitting Image and a regular on improv comedy show Whose Line is it Anyway? Sessions was in character comedy Stella Street but has also had the rare distinction of being directed in films by Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York) and Robert De Niro (The Good Shepherd ). He has also shared the screen with Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Kenneth Branagh and Anthony Hopkins. John Sessions will discuss his career and take questions from the audience in a special film festival event.

Close encounter with Richard Dreyfus

Another film festival guest will be Richard Dreyfuss, veteran star of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He will be in Glasgow for a screening of Cas & Dylan, a roadtrip comedy directed by former Beverly Hills 90210 star Jason Priestley, who will also attend. The Canadian-set movie is Priestley's directorial film debut and sees Dreyfuss play a dying doctor who ends up on the road with a young woman.

Turner prize-winner stars in fashion designer's film

Glasgow artist Douglas Gordon, who won the Turner Prize in 1996, turns to acting to star as a Scottish lorry driver in a French-language road trip movie, directed by French fashion designer Agnes B. He stars in My Name is Hmmm... (Je m'appelle Hmmm), in which he plays a leather-clad trucker who befriends an 11-year-old girl. Both Gordon and Agnes B will be on the red carpet.

Burnistoun slasher movie

Comedian Robert Florence, best known for his BBC Scotland sketch show Burnistoun, is to premiere his low-budget horror film The House of Him. The film was made outside his old family home in the east end of Glasgow for less than £1,000.

River Phoenix's final film

Image copyright George Sluizer

When young superstar Hollywood actor River Phoenix died from a drug overdose in 1993 the filming of Dark Blood was abandoned. Now, director George Sluizer, who will attend the screening, has assembled the existing footage and created a final cut in which his voiceover narrates the missing scenes.

A new Queen

The story of Mary, Queen of Scots gets another retelling. Camille Rutherford is crowned as the latest big screen Mary. The 22-year-old French actress stars in a new movie version of the 16th century monarch's life that will have its British premiere in Glasgow. Camille is joined by a number of well-known Scots in the new film, including Tony Curran who plays John Knox, and Sean Biggerstaff as Bothwell.

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