Glasgow Film Festival 2018 part 3

Posted on: 16 Mar 2018 by Philip Wyn Jones

Click here to start at part 1

12: A Ciambra (Jonas Carpignano, Italy, 1hour 58minutes).This remarkable film portrays a divided community. There are ‘Italians’, Blacks and Gypsies. The last group are the most important in this film, in particular a large extended family. The central character is a young boy who seems to be following his older brothers into a world of crime, His story, in which the Blacks also have a key role, is a fascinating one and even more so when the end titles reveal that he and his family are real people who are portraying themselves. This enjoyable film is also, therefore, a sad one. 

13: Zama (Lucrecia Martel, Argentina, 1hour 55minutes). An epic- style novel forms the basis of this film. Zama is a not terribly important official in one of Spain’s South American colonies. He’s been there for many years and has had a bellyful of the locals and his superiors. He wants to go home but can’t get permission to do so. Gradually his health deteriorates, both physically and mentally, and his experiences become increasingly bizarre and delusional. This is a beautifully filmed story but, perhaps because it’s overloaded with characters and events, it never really comes alive.

14: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Alexandra Dean, USA, 1hour 26minutes). Hedy Lamarr was a major Hollywood star in the 1940s and 1950s and a great beauty. She appeared, for example, in Cecil B DeMille’s Samson and Delilah in 1949. At the same time she was a brilliant inventor and her ideas became the basis of modern wi-fi. The film emphasises this largely unknown aspect of her life but does not neglect her film career. It also chronicles her increasingly sad private life and the way her beauty was destroyed by unnecessary and misjudged plastic surgery.

15: Foxtrot (Samuel Maoz, Germany, 1hour 54minutes). This film was made in Israel by an Israeli director. It begins when a military official visits a family to inform them that their son has been killed in action. The father’s reaction alarms the official, the mother and the audience watching the film. The film’s central section takes us to the young soldier’s work base and, incidentally, explains the film’s title. In the third and final section we discover what really happened. The acting and the fascinating plot development make this a truly wonderful film.

16: Sweet Country (Warwick Thornton, Australia, 1hour 53minutes). This film has a simple and straightforward plot and is beautifully photographed.  In the late 1920s an elderly aborigine is accused of murdering a truly obnoxious white settler. As a search party comb the countryside searching for him we experience the stunning vistas. The accused is caught and faces a chaotic open-air trial presided over by an extremely young-looking judge. How will the mob react to the verdict?

17: The Rider (pictured, Chloe Zhao, USA, 1hour 44minutes). This excellent film is described in the festival brochure as being ‘semi-autobiographical’. The leading character, Brady, is played by the young man himself, Brady Jandreau. Brady has achieved fame as a rodeo rider and horse expert. In the film’s first scene we see him in the aftermath of a dreadful rodeo accident. His head is extensively stitched and he’s had a plate inserted. He gradually recovers but can he resist the temptation to enter another rodeo competition and thereby risk his life. The central theme of the film is friendship, and the loyalty and support of his friends is very moving.  A great climax to my Glasgow visit.

Philip Wyn Jones

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