SQIFF: Sad Girl Cinema

Reviewed by: Clare Patterson

30/9/17, CCA Glasgow

Created by artist and writer Claire Biddles and writer and ‘Doll Hospital’ zine editor Bethany Lamont, ‘Sad Girl Cinema’ is a documentary that combines representations of mental illness on screen with analysis from contemporary female writers. The film is still in production – the event, examining numerous representations of mental illness on screen, is bookended by two short clips from the film itself – and even for just the first glimpse of this ongoing project, the CCA Theatre is packed, showing the ravenous appetite for this kind of representation, for perspectives on women with mental illness outside of harridan mothers and ‘tragically beautiful’ teenage girls.

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SQIFF Shorts: Defiant Dykes

Written by: Amy Shimmin – @amylfc

Back for its third year, Scottish Queer International Film Festival is renowned for its diverse programming. From following pregnancy while trans to a queer anarchist punk musical, to workshops on LGBT working class cinema wrapped up with late-night parties, the Festival promises a scream of a line-up every autumn. SQIFF Shorts: Defiant Dykes presents a collection of six short films, focusing mainly on lesbian identity, in the UK and overseas.

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Review: Looking Awry: Presenting Bisexual* Desire on Screen

Reviewed by Aike Jansen

From 27th of September until October 1st, Glaswegians can again delight in the best of queer film during SQIFF. For the third year in a row, Scottish Queer International Film Festival is promoting LGBTIQ+ cinema – getting people to watch and talk about films they would otherwise not have the chance to see, whilst creating informative events alongside it. Perhaps symbolic for the neglect of bisexual experiences within LGBTQ+ politics, activism and communities, representation of bisexuality in film was completely lacking in the first two years of SQIFF. To make up for this “fuck-up”, there is now a bi-specific programme, kicking off with a ride through cinematic representations of bisexuality presented by Jacob Engelberg, the programmer of Brighton-based queer film strand Eyes Wide Open Cinema.

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Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

SSE Hydro, 27th September

Nick Cave’s legendary status precedes him. With 16 studio albums under his belt, and a global reputation for his dark, unsettling and existential songwriting, expectations are high for the 60-year-old Aussie and his band of eccentrics, The Bad Seeds, to deliver an affecting and memorable performance. And deliver they certainly do.

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Review: Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show 2017

Admittedly, my expectations for the Glasgow University Charity Fashion show weren’t high, due to it being the first student-run charity event I had attended. I confess, however, that I was wrong: the effort and production that transferred the harsh brick and steel interior of SWG3 into the 2017 show was flawless.

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La La Land Review

“Maybe I’m not good enough.” It’s this constantly underlying anxiety that gnaws at Mia and Sebastian (Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling) as they chase their respective aspirations in acting and jazz music, compelled by the allure of Hollywood’s star-spangled promises of success and validation. It is not, however, a fear that director Damien Chazelle need pay any attention to, considering La La Land’s dazzlingly impressive, record-tying achievement of 14 Oscar nominations including Best Director – making him, at only 32 years-old, the youngest nominee to date. This kind of recognition (totally deserved, I might add) is something our protagonists may only dream of, and dream they most certainly do.

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Gig Review: Beans on Toast

Rogue folk singer, story teller and cult legend Beans on Toast returned to Stereo last week. After releasing albums almost yearly for the last 8 years, Jay McAlliste AKA Beans on toastis on tour again in anticipation of his forthcoming album Spanner in the Worksthat is out on December first.

Beanss set starts with a rather sombre reminder of the terrible year 2016 has been, as he carefully lists the rise of Fascism, Brexit, terrorism, TTiP, fracking and the loss of all our heroes from Bowie to Mohamed Ali, in one of his new songs. Fear not, though, for while what Beans sings about is depressingly true, and he knows just wishing it all away wont help, he calls on us all to be the best we can be and change what we can to make 2017 a whole lot better. This is the draw to Beans charm, for despite much of the serious, politically charged issues discussed in his music, he always tries to find the humour or silver lining that will make life better, if not for the world, for yourself. Beans tells the crowd early on that all he can do amidst this doom and gloom is to try and have a laugh about it and spread a more positive message, and this is what he does. He also assures me privately that he is not secretly pleased about Trumps victory despite the song writing potential it offers him.

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Gig Review: Leo Stannard

It is certainly a much sought-after talent for a musician to calm a roomful of people after a couple of drinks, and it is a testament to Leo Stannard’s musicianship that he manages to achieve this feat. His voice is undoubtedly unassuming when contrasted with his appearance: a Charlie Puth look and vibe is thrown off by a deep and slightly hoarse voice similar to that of Ben Howard, whom Stannard seems to draw inspiration from. Couple this with his Jon Gomm-esque percussive and pinch harmonic littered guitar style, and Leo Stannard is clearly placed above the rest of his acoustic pop peers.

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Gig Review: Billie Martin

Billie Marten started writing songs around the age of nine, and when she was twelve, her parents started downloading clips of her singing online for her grandparents to see. Discovered by a record company, she released her first EP at the age of fifteen and has subsequently released an album, gone on tour, played at both festivals and the BBC. She is one of those people you’d put in the annoyingly good at lifecategory. The ones you are jealous of and who make you think to yourself Yeah, I wouldnt mind being a bit like them’. Annoyingly talented, thats what she is. You are in equal measures annoyed and in awe, though.

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Review: Metric at the O2 ABC

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It’s been six and a half years since the last time Metric paid Glasgow a visit and one might be wondering whether the Scottish crowd has forgotten about the Canadian four-piece after such a long time. But as soon as Emily Haines and her band take over the stage, after an outstanding support set from Dublin duo All Tvvins, all doubts are immediately blown away.

 

Even though the O2 ABC is not sold out, from beginning to end the audience is dancing, jumping, and singing along and Metric do their best to keep them happy and entertained. From being dressed as mystical creatures during the intro, and wearing giant illuminated sunglasses in the dark, to Emily Haines’ multiple outfit changes, including a fluorescent neon cape and huge black glittery wings decorated with multi-coloured lights, there’s absolutely nothing they have missed out on. And the fans clearly appreciate all this effort by heating up the atmosphere and after about half an hour into the set, one can even spot the people in the back dancing along.

 

Albeit just having released their new album “Pagans in Vegas” in September which is, as expected, heavily feature tonight, nearly every song gets the same sing-along response from the eager audience no matter if it is their latest single “The Shade” or “Help I’m Alive”, one of their biggest hits to date.

 

Determined to keep the crowd on their toes, the credits for the energetic live show especially go to guitarist James Shaw, with his fast, fulminant guitar solos and 41 year old singer Emily Haines who dances and jumps around in high heels, hot pants and a sexy corsage that puts every 20 year old to shame.

 

After about an hour the band leave the stage only to return a couple of minutes later supported by loud “one more tune”-chants and pick up exactly where they left off, pleasing their fans with four more songs: “Empty”, “Celebrate”, followed by an acoustic version of “Gimme Sympathy” which especially manages to wow everyone in the O2 ABC.

 

Finishing off the show, with “Breathing Underwater”, an anthemic disco-number and every member of the band smiling, dancing and getting the most out of their instruments, ensures that everyone leaves satisfied – but sweaty.

 

After more than 15 years in the business, Metric certainly know how to put on a memorable show. And after witnessing this 90 minute adrenaline-soaked set, it is no wonder that the Glasgow crowd have not forgotten about them after more than 6 years.

 

By Sarah Stockinger

GUM Reviews Justin Kurzel’s ‘Macbeth’

 

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Justin Kurzel’s ‘Macbeth’ is ferocious. The film has a lot to say and it says it with such insight and ferociousness that Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ – a work so famous its mere nickname has a dedicated Wikipedia page – is once again made unpredictable and raw.

 

The film is faithful to the Scottish Play from first to last, but this is no straightforward adaptation. The movie is beautifully interpretative and nuanced, not bending the original narrative, but rather taking the uncertainties and hints already present in the play and weaving them together into a compelling and persuasive modern take on a much-told story.

 

Macbeth, an 11th century nobleman, meets three witches who prophesize that he will become king of Scotland. Spurred on by his wife, Macbeth assassinates the current monarch, then crumbles under the psychological cost of murder.

 

But Shakespeare’s tragedy itself is full of ambiguity and open questions, not the least of which is the murder itself. The witches have proved themselves to be reliable, so it is certain that one day Macbeth will rule. Then why does he have a feeling of urgency to kill the king and ‘catch the nearest way’?

 

The film succeeds due to the visceral, emotionally stirring explanations that it offers. A brief line in the play alludes to Lady Macbeth having once had a child, and boldly, the movie begins with the funeral of the infant in question. Fassbender and Cotillard proceed to give powerful performances as a couple who still love one another, but are struggling to fill the emptiness that has arisen between them. There is a newfound poignancy in Lady Macbeth’s assertion that she feels ‘now the future in the instant’. These are more than ruthless villains driven by ambition – they are people who can see no other future, and who are fighting for meaning in a life ‘signifying nothing’.

 

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And then there is war, ravaging Scotland, and Macbeth the soldier, forced to kill. There are echoes of ‘Apocalypse Now’ in the film’s treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, and the way humans respond to violence. ‘I wept,’ says Colonel Kurtz in ‘Apocalypse Now’. ‘I wanted to tear my teeth out… and then I realized… my God… the genius of it!’ A similar idea is palpable in the way Fassbender’s Macbeth is simultaneously wounded and enraptured by his own acts of brutality.

 

Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, like one of its most famous lines, is full of ‘sound and fury’. To this verbal and thematic intensity Kurzel adds striking cinematography and gorgeous visuals, noteworthy in and of themselves. This is, however, both a strong point and a problem. The movie overwhelms. The images complement the dialogue for the most part, but there are times when script and visuals distract from one another – and before one has time to consider either, the movie has moved on. The pacing is relentless, and there are no pauses either in the action, or in the tone. The drunken porter of the original play, telling jokes on stage to provide the audience with a welcome break, has been cut out completely.

 

Had the film let its images linger on screen for a little longer, been a little slower, it might have been less intellectually and emotionally exhausting. As it stands, it does not allow enough time for one to consider the ideas it puts forward, which is a shame, precisely because the insights it delivers are so worthy of consideration. Ultimately though, ‘Macbeth’ is a brutal, beautiful movie with a persuasive point of view, and two exceptionally good lead actors. Its atmosphere lingers, long after the final credits stop rolling.

 

By Lisa Feklistova

A Review of Open Windows by Michèle Massé

 

 

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In today’s lively LGBTQ+ community it can be easy to think that youth culture is primary representative of the movements’ ideals. However, Open Windows, screened by The Scottish Queer International Film Festival, challenges that assumption. This documentary, about four lesbian women in their seventies, challenges stereotypes and offers increased visibility to the older generation’s past and present experience. Although the film highlights a bygone era where terms like “lesbian” weren’t common, the message of the film is progressive. Overall, it is a call for the present LGBTQ+ movement to recognize the strides lesbians made in the past and to acknowledge those strides both in policymaking and in the community.

 

Preceding Open Windows, the short film Are We Being Served? was screened with LGBT Health and Wellbeing’s group, LGBT Age. This short film works very well as a way of culturally linking Scotland’s individual experience to the generational LGBTQ+ issues explored in the main feature.

 

Open Windows begins by following the narratives of Boti, Empar, Micheline and Jocelyne from their initial realizations of being different, to the trials of finding love as a lesbian, to the battle of feeling old versus looking old. Micheline and Jocelyne portray a dual experience of uncovering their own sexualities together. They fall in love at the ripe age of 69, an experience they insist is the cure for old age. Boti and Empar, on the other hand, approach the issue of aging by addressing the mental process of paying attention to one’s sexual desires and acknowledging them regardless of age. However, the film ultimately turns towards the women’s defining experiences with activism to emphasize the need for lesbian visibility.

 

As part of a generation that defined the LGBTQ+ movement, the four women in Open Windows represent voices that cannot be ignored. The film gives a final message that not only do personal narratives increase understanding of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, but that communication between the old and young members of this group is absolutely vital.

 

Reviewed by Gina Pieracci

Film Classics – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

GUM Gilbert Grape Proper

 

This is the first in a series of reviews of classic films by Mina Kirkova

 

Centred on the life and family of Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp), this is a film about the important things in life and how people tackle the difficulties that life presents them with. A film about travelling a long distance, without actually going anywhere, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape shows multiple ways of living and all the ways in which not living life to the fullest will get you nowhere. The character of Gilbert Grape starts and ends the film with a framing voiceover in which he talks about his life. Simple words and simple sentences, this voiceover almost has you believe that Gilbert’s life is actually a pretty straightforward and easy one. This is, of course, not the case, and soon enough the viewer is presented in a subtle and patient way with “what’s eating Gilbert Grape”. He introduces the small town of Endora and states that there’s nothing much that could ever happen in a town like this. The film goes on to show us that the little things are actually the big things, and that a small town can carry lots of stories in its heart. Endora is a place where most people know each other and the opening of a fast food chain restaurant seems to be a big event. Surrounded by people he loves and cares about, Gilbert Grape is part of this small town holiday, whilst at the same time he isn’t.

 

Playing Arnie, the autistic brother of the protagonist, Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting is marvellous; he got his first (widely discussed) Oscar nomination for this particular film. Gilbert takes care of Arnie on behalf of his overweight mother, who suffers from severe depression, having been previously abandoned by her husband. Arnie’s disability combined with kindness are beautifully expressed through his constant desire to climb the town’s water tower until he goes as high as he can possibly get. Arnie’s character is the deep breath of honesty in the Grape family and he is everybody’s weakness. Gilbert, his sisters, and their mother all go to their limits when it comes to Arnie and he loves them sincerely for everything they do for him. The film slowly builds up to Arnie’s eighteenth birthday – a more than happy day for his friends and family, as he was not expected to live to more than ten years old. This day of celebration holds many emotions and implications for the Grape family, but it seems to end on a note of acceptance and understanding. Its exploration of the difficult issues surrounding taking care of a child with a disability, and having to grow up without a father figure for guidance, is one of the most captivating facets of “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. This is a film that doesn’t quite have a catch, but it has something bigger, something that is definitely not going to let you go until the end of the film – the portrayal of the warmth of human relationships.

 

Although most of the time consumed by his love and dedication to his family, Gilbert is touched by romantic love when he least expects it. As important emotions in relationships go, love is probably number one on the list, and it is given the attention it needs in this story too. Gilbert’s odd, but instant connection with travelling girl Becky confuses him and makes him question the things that he has valued most in life until he met her. The extent to which his intuition makes him act in the interest of love give a delightful outline to his love for Becky. Gilbert seems to get from Becky what he can’t get anywhere else, and happiness naturally comes hand in hand with the revelation that she is willing to be kind and understanding with the family that he more or less takes care of.

 

Going through so much, Johnny Depp’s Gilbert comes to terms with what life has to offer, along with the fact that these things are not often served on a silver platter. Gilbert Grape has to accept the people he loves through family ties for who they are, and to understand why is it that he loves them, so that he can be happy with the person that he chooses to love. He makes a journey in this film and it’s as beautiful and sad as it is through and through fulfilling – for Gilbert and for Hallstrom’s audience.

 

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a classics of recent film history, simple, but thought-provoking, exemplifying how small things make a world of a difference to everyone. It is one of those films that do not have complicated, twisting plot, but in it there’s something pleasing for all of the senses. It leaves the spectator smiling. The film was instantly accepted by critics for the simple pleasures it gives to the viewer. Such a movie is always as topical as it was when it first came out. It does not go out of date and changing perspectives do not alter the emotional response it inevitably provokes. You should give Gilbert Grape another watch.

Review – Don Pasquale

Scottish Opera’s Don Pasquale

 

It seems unfair to compare Scottish Opera’s recent staging of Don Pasquale  to the Met’s production—usually considered the yardstick by which all Don Pasquale  productions are measured—not merely due to the gulf in both the quality and size of the cast, but because much of this new production’s charm comes from its modern reimagining. While the classic story remains the same, it is set in 60s Rome, and a backstory is woven regarding Pasquale’s love of cats, despite an allergy to them. The set is cluttered with ornaments of cats, and Sofronia’s hair subtly sticks up like a cat’s would when she meets for the first time to woo him. In the final scene Sofronia presents him with a particularly feline-looking dog.

 

Set Designer Andre Barbe creates a wonderfully abstract and understated set of a small Italian pensione, using lines of drying sheets and clothes to transform the minimal staging. The staging is itself played with—a maid struggles to pull down a rope to move the clothes, revealing the setting of the next scene, and comic strip-style speech and thought-bubbles drop down in one scene.

 

The performance of the cast was decidedly average, other than that of Ruth Jenkins-Robertsson (known mostly for playing Zerlina in the Scottish Opera production of Don Giovanni  last season), whose Norina was spectacular. She’s no Netrebko, but her performance was without fault, and I hope to see her appear in more. The rest of the cast was decent, and while it’s hard to offer much real critism (Pasquale and Malatesta’s mosso  mid-third act aria Aspetta aspetta  was disappointing, but not entirely unexpectedly so—it’s somewhat known for its difficulty), it largely lacked a certain energy. The acting, at times, was a little hammy, but it seemed to fit the opera. Of all the Don Pasquale  productions I’ve seen, this is by far the most unabashedly comic—the music from the garden serenade Com’e gentil  appears to come from a turntable on Ernesto’s bicycle, and is interrupted by a shoe thrown by an irate resident, presumably awoken by the noise. Francesco Corti, returning to conduct after Emmanuel Joel-Hornak’s departure at the end the Company’s last season, performed wonderfully. the music was fresh and largely well-organised, if at times a touch loud.

 

Widely advertised and anticipated, this revival was a certain success for Scottish Opera, and I’m glad they seem to have gotten over their major worries. The debut performance (24th Jan.) was more-or-less sold out, with a healthy queue at the day tickets desk.

 

Scottish Opera’s next production is a revival of Sir David McVicar’s Madama Butterfly  by Puccini. The Glasgow premiere is on the 21st May, 2014.

 

— Anon.

 

Scottish Opera’s Don Pasquale .

Alfonso Antoniozzi — Don Pasquale

Aldo Di Toro — Ernesto

Ruth Jenkins-R obertsson — Norina / Sofronia

Director: Renaud Doucet

Conductor: Francesco Corti

Designer: Andre Barbe

Film Review – Utopia

Unfortunately this review is going up rather late, as we had a few problems with the site over Christmas. I hope some of you still manage to catch Utopia:

 Review: John Pilger’s Utopia

 

The late Nelson Mandela may have outlived apartheid in South Africa but his entire life coincided with another apartheid, one still very much alive. Incidentally, in his July article for the New Statesman, John Pilger illuminates a not so broadcast legacy of Mandela. There was no irony when the ANC’s politics were boasted of as Thatcherite by one of Mandela’s ministers, or when Mandela himself simply stated that “privatisation is the fundamental policy” for South Africa.

 

Just as Mandela’s endorsement of neo-liberalism may disappoint many, and stand in contrast to the popular conception that emerged of the man, in his latest documentary, Utopia, Pilger portrays an Australia alien to the collective imagination’s idea of down under.  The country’s grand medical advancements, some incredibly sensible laws (fireworks are considered explosives, for instance), their impeccable emergency services and immense wealth, kept apartheid far from my mind as I sat in the Glasgow Film Theatre foyer, waiting for the only screening of Utopia to commence. After the disappointing announcement that Pilger would not make his planned introduction and Q and A via web-link, the curtains parted and within a minute or two the numbing of the audience became palpable as the preliminary scenes were projected. Images of a young black man, who committed no crime, being violently swung into a wall by police officers and then dragged to a cell where he would later die, occupied our attention. The blood which dripped from the young man’s mouth after his head was carelessly smashed against the police station wall was cleaned by the pair of offending officers, who footed around some cleaning paper as one remarked how unglamorous the job is. No officers were held accountable for the young man’s negligence and avoidable death. The screen cuts to black and Utopia titles over a harrowing climbing noise, similar to that which opens There Will Be Blood, and blood there was.

 

John Pilger appears soon after, and takes us to Utopia, an Aboriginal homeland in the Northern Territory, which ranks as the poorest and most deprived region in Australia. This is the first of many bitter ironies the film exhibits. With no gas, no electricity and no water, a typical Utopia resident half jokes that his wealthier white neighbour could have given him one of his eleven air conditioners. Like many of the Aborigine interviewed, easily treatable glaucoma stains the eyes of this resident, who cooks his meals over an open fire outside his derelict home. Glaucoma is just one of many extremely treatable diseases the Aborigine population suffer. Medical professionals expect to treat the most medieval of illnesses when they visit the likes of Utopia, and, hauntingly, nearly one third of all aborigine die before the age of 45. This fact is all one needs to appreciate the simple truth of the native population’s maltreatment.

 

Interviewing the government minister responsible for indigenous health standards since Pilger’s reporting of the Aborigine’s treatment in the 80’s, the shameless lack of satisfactory answers and denial of the grave injustice inflicted upon the native population is evident. Before any questions, the minister is already seen to be breathing heavily, testament to Pilger’s still formidable presence and also a reflection of the Australian government’s indefensible inaction in refusing to fund the most basic of health treatment to the poorest in its otherwise wealthy nation.

 

Indeed, inaction is putting it lightly. The persistent racist policies and actions of the Australian government are astounding. Myths of paedophilic circles entrenched in Aborigine tribes are concocted in order to launch organised military evictions of entire communities, not, as the government suggests, to solve the supposed problem of immoral Aborigine genetics, rather to harvest the rich minerals resting under their impoverished homes. An old story perhaps, but one ever horrifying. The national media’s dedication in pedalling mass propaganda concerning the rights of Aborigines, promoting their subordination and their lack of land rights and self-determination, is again exposed in a society which fundamentally refuses to recognise its own history.

 

Pilger portrays an Australia where the struggle of the Aborigine appears similar to the struggles of Mandela’s South Africa.  The persistent oppression and exploitation of the oldest human presence on Earth is truly appalling, and one Pilger has relentlessly documented since his 1981 book on the subject, A Secret Country. Australia will have to wait until January to see this film, the UK on the other hand is its first eyes, it screens on Thursday the 19th on ITV. It is a crucial, solidly argued film that demands to be seen. One that got laughs in the audience I was a part of – there are ironies that can only produce laughter, a dark nervous laughter of despair and paralysis but I, and I suspect the rest of the audience, left Utopia with hot blood.

 

After viewing Utopia, Harold Pinter’s assessment of Pilger as a man who “unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth” still rings entirely true.

 

 

 

Utopia was broadcast on Thursday the 19th  of December on ITV

 

For all articles by John Pilger visit his website johnpilger.com

 

Words by Liam Doherty

Review: Thursday Till Sunday

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The narrative is stripped back to the geological essentials, the film is as contained within the confines of the family car, the occasional leg-stretches through deserts and streams, but also rooted within the little tin space. There is little dialogue, and the dialogue that is present has the same sparsity as the Chilean landscape, it is barren and without the safety of a resolution, we as the audience are left to interpret the real reasons behind the holiday, and like the curious scrutiny of Lucia, we grab at the scraps of information as they are sporadically offered. Perhaps this lack of communication, this kind of withholding by the film, is reflective of the problems in the parent’s marriage. They communicate primarily with looks, shrugs, snubs, but very rarely words. Certainly, the very journey itself feels like it’s filmed with a chronological minuteness, with the mantra of naturalism strictly observed and the muted confinement in the car creating a vacuum of suspended activity. This is flared up ever further through the denial of a soundtrack, no big emotional plot arcs, and the final refusal to completely explain the divergent roads Ana and Fernando are taking.

 
It is completely unsurprising, and a testament to Sotomayor, that the children, Lucia and Manuel, were not given scripts, but rather were reacting to the situations the adult actors were creating. It is this raw energy, the irrepressibly uncertainty, of Lucia that really haunts the film; she is silently crying out for her parents to facilitate the safety of the next line, of the future. It is the uncertainty of the family dynamic changing during a divorce that often causes the most pain, the fear that happiness and security is now a thing that has driven past and can only be seen in the distance, obscured by a cloud of dust. Indeed, as viewers we are thrust into Lucia’s perspective of anxious uncertainty, seeing the narrative slowly evolving, the little snatches of comprehension and truth we can discern feeling like semi-precious stones glinting through the dusty silence of the Chilean landscape. The camerawork too reflects this stasis, with long, static shots in which the action almost seems incidental, the camera being so reactionless (or perhaps contemplative). We become so accustomed to this steady gaze that we really feel the movement the few times it does become handheld and uprooted.

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Review: RDGLDGRN

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Last night GUM headed down to O2 ABC to catch RDGLDGRN’s Glasgow debut on the first leg of their European Tour. Fair Fax Records’ hottest Hip-Hop signing garnered support from a small but enthusiastic crowd. Considering the quality of their music and their collaborations with the Legendary Dave Grohl and Pharrell Williams, I was surprised that the venue wasn’t packed out. By the way this band is going, I suspect next time they hit town tickets will move faster than Usain Bolt.

The headliners took it upon themselves to come and chat to the crowd before they hit the stage and Red remarked they were ‘humbled to have the opportunity to tour and play to their fans, seeing as a couple of years ago they’d been unemployed jamming in their mom’s basement’. Working with Pharrell had been ‘an inspiring and easy process as they arranged the basics of track within just 25 minutes!’

The warm up was provided by Hector Biserk an unpretentious albeit unlikely combo of a bassist, drummer and MC who’s tracks ranged from angsty anti government ‘Police State’ to the relentlessly catchy ‘Let it go’. Think Jamie T x Rage Against the Machine coated in IRN BRU- you can catch them live at the West End Festival on the 8th of June.

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By the time RDGLDGRN appeared everyone had drifted away from the bar and onto the dance floor. Their set was eclectic and energised. The lyrical dexterity of MC Green was intermixed with Gold’s rock infused bass and Red’s softer vocals with drums provided by ‘White Face’ (who’s name stems from a tongue in cheek, PC defying homage to Dave Grohl). They were totally comfortable on stage and it felt as if we were overlooking a jamming session in their backyard. There is something instantly likeable about RDGLDGRN and they would be ideal for a mid afternoon slot at a summer festival.

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After the gig the guys were keen to see more of Glasgow, so we took them down to La Cheetah in the hope of giving them a taste of Nightwave’s new night ‘Nightrave’. Unfortunately it proved too popular by demand so we headed to Subculture, where Domenic spun quality techno until the early hours. They certainly enjoyed themselves and we can’t wait till they’re back in town. In the mean time You can check RDGLDGRN’S latest single ‘Million Fans’ here:

 

 

 

Words: Lucy Molloy

Photos: Matthew McAndrew: http://matthewmcandrew.com/?p=3123

 

Death Grips @ SWG3 30/4/13

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Death Grips, a band which had eluded me on more than one occasion, finally upheld their promise to Glasgow and played a gig at the versatile SWG3. My first attempt to see Mr. Stefan Burnett- aka MC Ride- and co. was thwarted when they dropped out last minute from 2012’s ATP festival in London, to the great distress of their then label Epic Records, in order to focus on their second album The Money Store.The experimental, aggressive, more than hip-hop sound of Death Grips would have come as an interesting break from the doom and drone dominated ATP, but dropping out of a festival headlined by metal legends Slayer, not to mention cancelling their entire tour, was a ballsy and some might say foolish move.

Nevertheless the Sacremento based trio have been kicking up quite a storm since their 2010 formation, utilising the web to leak several new tracks and whispers of a lawsuit against them, the hype is far from diminished and their sound has continued to develop in interesting and extreme directions. With remixes of Bjork and the Prodigy their punk-drenched sound is shifting in the most contemporary ways, blending genres the way an infuriated Pollock mixes paint. In the heat of exams, I was keen to see what they were made of live.

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Review: Saunt & Sinner “The Broken Doll” AW2013 Collection Launch Night

5bO8SZHNik2j-X2NAzzOHNPE9vh1mTEIpGzI29C4FhI,Fd1t6CbBFGQJ9lf4kAe2C59QVj0a76EWcHHckK-kIXI,rt39E3yKUHMWu7hGSgIEroMrn1jCwIq3w6eJRwoufbYNew kids on the block Saunt & Sinner showed us how it’s done at the launch of their first collection on Friday night. Design duo behind the label, Emma Noble and Toni Roddie, set up the brand after graduating in Fashion Design from Grays School of Art in 2012. “The Broken Doll” capsule collection, inspired by Glasgow-born painter Heather Nevay, showcased a stunning array of luxury womenswear pieces which hinted towards both the sweet and the sinister.

The Corinthian Club set the perfect scene for the show, with fixtures draped with the duo’s limited edition 100% silk scarves. Dolls hung eerily above tables, dressed in mini-versions of the labels designs. A fitting homage to this evening inspired by Nevay’s portrayal of sinister children.

Before the show began the crowd were treated to a beautiful and haunting fashion film produced by Jamie Vincent Gillespie, which again reflected the collections duality as it played with the idea of innocence and purity tainted by a twisted dark side. It had a decidedly wicked edge, and set the mood perfectly for what was about to follow in the show.

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V-Day @ Subclub 14/2/13

This Valentine’s day saw an end to soppy dates and the tugging of jealous heartstrings when our two local clubbing bad boys, Philanthrobeats and Rubix, teamed up to put the ‘V’ back in ‘Valentine’. Supporting the worldwide movement V-Day on their 15th Anniversary, ‘1 Billion Rising’ aimed to raise voices and shake booties in protest that 1 in 5 women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime.

285638_10151279710147984_1810368038_nThe global activist movement aims to raise awareness and support women and girls around the world regardless of age, nationality, or religion, and for fifteen years has been doing just that. With most of the proceeds from V-Day events going to local projects and charities, often shelters and rape crisis centres.

It all began in 1994 when playwright and activist Eve Ensler wrote the groundbreaking piece ‘The Vagina Monologues’, a play based on interviews with women of different ages and nationalities dealing with what it means to be a female. The monologues range in scope from a girls’ first menstruation (‘When I Was Twelve, My Mother Slapped Me’), to the atrocities committed against women in Bosnian Rape Camps, entitled ‘My Vagina Was My Village’. V-Day was consequently established on Valentines Day 1998 when Eve and a group of New York women threw a single benefit; now there are over 5,800 V-Day events per year.

Needless to say one word is not shied away from in this cause, and it’s a word Philanthrobeats×Rubix took to heart, effectively turning the Subclub into a giant womb. Vaginas were everywhere, once down the stairs club-goers and philanthropists were welcomed at the ticket desk with a tunnel of vagina, pink, draping, alluring? There were vagina cupcakes and lollipops being sold by the bar, and over the bar itself an unforgettable painting by Sophie PP. The dance floor was plush and secluded, with a surprising amount of romance going on, and best of all- the ‘hidden alley’ behind the speakers was transformed into a beautiful funnel of love. Whatever names you have for the decorations, they certainly helped in making the night the success it was, with Subclub at capacity before doors closed.

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Interview: Make Do

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With Chambre 69’s out-of-the-blue closure a void was left to be filled in the Glasgow club scene. GUM caught up with Ahsan and Cheesy, one time Chambre booking manager and all round tech wizz respectively, who took it upon themselves to launch a new pop-up club appropriately named Make Do.

Meeting at the new Hope street venue on the evening before their 19th January launch (opposite the seldom noticed grandeur of Central Station), GUM descended into an empty space stacked with monitors and cables that was soon to be morphed into a venue christened by the likes of Offbeat, Cottam, Axel Boman.

“We created Make Do because chambre closed and we had lots of exciting promoters  looking for a space of that size” Ahsan clarified “Glasgows pretty lacking in medium sized venues that can cater to people being able to come in and be encouraged to come up with creative uses of the space.”

The pop-up aims to continue what Chambre was made famous for, namely the diversity of the space that allows promoters to come in and transform it to fit the needs of each individual night.

“One of the main benefits that Chambre had was that you could really make your own night” they explain, “to come in and change it up, and put in whatever production you wanted, flip it around and design it the way you liked. We wanted to offer the same thing with the Make Do space and build upon the Chambre ethos in that sense.”

Flexibility of this nature in a club is often hard to come by, and requires a solid team with enough expertise in their fields to avoid any glitches. “Cheesy is quite renowned for creating really great production in clubs, whether it be light features or visual installations” Ahsan chips in. For those of you who made it to the launch you might have noticed the stack of TV’s playing loops of old film clips next to the speakers, a Cheesy signature. “Having him on board means that promoters know the high level of technical know-how that he brings to the table.” he continues, “which is definitely a key point”.

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Album Review: My Bloody Valentine – m b v

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Never before have so many bearded men in their mid-thirties cried from a combination of  sheer joy and frustration. Picture the scene: it’s been 22 years since My Bloody Valentine’s last album, 1991’s hugely influential Loveless. Since then front man Kevin Shields has repeatedly waved the possibility of a follow-up in front of what must be the most patient fan base in the history of modern music; and then, out-of-the-blue, the band flippantly announce over Facebook that the new album is ready to order via their website. Now, MBV inspire a very particular type of diehard fan, the kind of dude that knows the exact combination of effect pedals used on the band’s whole back catalogue and is more than willing to share this information with you on Youtube. So, when the much anticipated album came to their attention, they flooded MBV’s website in their thousands causing it to crash until the very early hours of the morning – cue the tears.

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Films: Django Unchained

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‘Django Unchained’ will be released in British cinemas on Friday the 18th of January but it has already stirred up a lot of controversy in America. The film follows recently freed slave, Django (Jamie Foxx) team up with the eloquent dentist cum bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) as they track down and free Django’s wife. Waltz turns in another dazzling performance, audience and director alike are wooed by his eccentric sense of humour which slightly overshadows Foxx, who, for the most part goes for more of a laconic tough guy caricature. The balance works well and helps Tarantino deal with the issue of slavery in smart ways as Schultz teaches Django how to read and shoot to further his emancipation. However it is DiCaprio who steals the show as the southern debonair, Monsieur Candie, who couples charming wit with sadomasochistic racism in a captivating performance. DiCaprio has been stifled in recent years as he constantly returned to psychologically disturbed roles in an attempt to pick up an Oscar that to this day eludes him, but he seems rejuvenated playing out of type as the Southern gothic villain with high energy and a dandy flair.

Quentin Tarantino has made a name for himself by taking forgotten, worn out relics and breathing new life into them. He salvaged the careers of John Travolta, Pam Grier, Robert Forster, David Caradine and put them back in front of the camera with a renewed hunger to lay down the performance of their careers (in the case of Travolta, he came up against fierce opposition with the Weinstein Company, almost jeopardizing the completion of Pulp Fiction). He took expired genres like the 70s Hong Kong revenge film, grind house and the ‘dirty dozen’ and charged them with his witty dialogue and vivid violence. The only misstep in ‘Django’ is the fact that the western genre has already been updated for modern audiences and once again exhausted by shows such as Deadwood, games like Red Dead Redemption, and films like Cowboys vs Aliens. So the awkward scrolling inter titles and long shoot-outs are a part of a ready-made style as opposed to one unique to Tarantino.

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The Last Dance @ Chambre 69

from left: Assan, Colin, Tanner
from left: Ahsan, Colin, Tanner

This past Friday saw Chambre 69 opening its doors to Glasgow clubbers for the last time at its current location at 69 Nelson Mandela Place. The shock closure, announced over Facebook, sent ripples of confusion and a general melancholy over the demise of what has been, for the last 18 months, one of Glasgow’s finest venues.

The Chambre team wrote in their announcement that “this has come totally out of the blue for us and we are not in a position to negotiate staying in the venue any longer.” The shady nature of the closure and the last minute pull-together of the acts gives anyone who wants to put on a packed-out club night a bit of hope. But then we have to remember that these are the Chambre guys, and we could only be so lucky as to have such a hint of scandal to propel a club night into the stratosphere.

Originally billed as Chicago vs. Detroit, the line-up was changed to reflect the times, beginning with Glasgow based collective and electronic label All Caps, to aliOOFT, Void and Tanner. Seasoned regulars mixed with the scene kids for one last night at the soon-to-be notorious venue. That is to say, if it wasn’t before, the half mile queue down Buchanan street certainly made it so.

_MG_5128 Shaun Murphy of Vitamins, was quoted as saying “It’s a genuine loss to the club scene, hopefully whatever fills the void has a similar open, risk taking and supportive ethos.” Luckily for us Cheesy (Chambre Tech) and Ahsan (Deadly Rhythm / Former Chambre booking manager) will be launching a pop-up venue appropriately named Make Do, which will have it’s opening night this Saturday.
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Review: SWANS & Sir Richard Bishop @ The Arches 16/11/12

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Experiencing a band who have retained their musical integrity over a thirty year period is not a daily pleasure; it’s a grand event. Swans’ appearance in Glasgow carried with it high expectations, and with support from Sir Richard Bishop it made for a promising line-up. Ticket price was reasonable for The Arches, and certainly merited by the band’s industrious career: exceeding thirty releases.

The tour follows the release of one of 2012’s more interesting albums: The Seer. The artwork introduces the stark contrast heard in the music, and was in all manners a release concerned with every nuance of the sound. The title-track’s 32-minute duration and bagpipe/percussion introduction brings to mind Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s East Hastings, but soon ascends above and beyond in the moody excitement of Swans’ rich, rolling and diverse constructs. The track is largely representative of Swans live: in the course of a two-hour show we were subjected to only six songs, but each successive track sapped more sanity and drove the sheer weight of the sound into the audience.

The crowd varied in age and well-represented the diverse appeal of Swans’ music. As support, Sir Richard Bishop’s music promised a fine and delicate contrast to the onslaught which followed. What he presented, however, was a dirtier, more convoluted sound. To watch his fingers it was clear that technically his playing was precise, even in its more chaotic motions, yet the sound was dense and reverberated angrily through the venue’s halls.

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Review: Sonica

Sonica, a festival of sonic arts showcasing both British and International artists, had its world premier in Glasgow this November. The festival was produced by a company called Cryptic, whose goal is to nurture and develop the Scottish visual arts.  Their intentions came to fruition in this two-week festival.  Showcasing a wide variety of work from international artists (including our very own Luke Fowler) Sonica presented a range of interesting shows: including their children’s program, presenting the darker side of ‘Ecstatic Art’, as well as putting on a generous amount of free exhibitions.

Robin Fox, photo by Lasse Marhaug

Sonica utilized a wide range of interesting spaces in Glasgow. This provided not only an artistic experience for the viewers but also an element of adventure, in which  punters must discover the various locations of the shows. However, this may have been a touch too experimental at points- the “pop up festival hub” was a little too spontaneous and on another occasion, a miscommunication led to one of the exhibitions being cut short a day early without any warning.  But, despite this, one must admire the artistic ingenuity of the organizers.  The shows that were presented successfully, on location and on time, were triumphant.

Robin Foxe’s Laser show, for instance, was a particular hit. Upon viewing the show, there was a separate installation as you entered into the performance space which gave you a feel for what you were about to experience. The piece played on the idea of our modern day conception of fun: in the liquid, musical and visual sense. It was an arrangement of glasses catching the light as they rotated on a disk turntable.  A simple idea but one which captivates the viewer and could engage you for hours, as the light cut through the glasses in speckled flecks. The performance space was not a seated floor plan, but just people standing in an open space. There was an unusual element to the show in the sense that there was more than one area which required your attention. I anticipated that I would be concentrating solely in the direction of the light source, but then would entirely miss the actual projection of the light onto the back wall. In between these two displays were the strong beams of green light cutting through the room to create a performance with three spheres of entertainment.

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Review: The Pokey Hat and Jeffrey Campbell Launch

 image by Olivia Vitzakova
image by Olivia Vitzakova

This Tuesday, GUM attended a highly anticipated fashion show organised by online fashion boutique the Pokey Hat to celebrate the arrival of the Jeffrey Campbell shoe collection into the Pokey Hat stores. The fashion show was in trendy new club FabrIQ on Queen Street. After being seated in front of the catwalk, I looked through my goody bag, which featured candy jewellery – my favourite kind. The show started with a bang, dancers with black lace dresses twirling and whirling on the catwalk so close you could touch them. Then came the models wearing Pokey Hat clothes; a collection of both vintage and modern clothing by Scottish fashion designers. The models were wearing Jeffrey Campbell shoes with its characteristic wavy shapes and studs. It was difficult to know where to look as both the clothes and shoes were stunning. Our favourite piece was a woollen hat with spikes which is a must have this winter, making you feel warm and look cool at the same time. Who said fashion can’t be practical?

There was also a raffle to win a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes, I bought a ticket but didn’t win. I almost ended up crying in the corner, but the fact that my feet were already bleeding from a pair of ordinary heels almost made me grateful I didn’t win.

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Review: Nightwalk

If you like your fashion dark and sexy with a hint of crazy you’ve come to the right place. Nightwalk is more of an experience than just a fashion show, which is evident from its setting in The Arches, Glasgow’s most charismatic music and club venue.

After this year’s Autumn/Winter Nightwalk was rescheduled due to a blackout we were excited to finally witness what up-and-coming Scottish designers had to offer. From the neatly tailored shirts by the Swedish-born Jennie Lööf, or the entirely white collection of dresses entitled ‘White Noise’ by Betty Spoke, to playful latex creations by Betsabelle, each of the 14 designers had a unique vision. Womenswear clearly dominated the show however admirers of menswear (and male models!) were not disappointed by male design duo Nothing and several colourful designs by Brian Chan and a few other designers.

But how did the participants feel about the fashion show? GUM spoke to  Brian Chan who recently graduated from The Glasgow School of Art about his fashion label and first impressions of Nightwalk. Brian’s exquisite and inventive creations were one of the highlights of the show with his Paper Collage Waistcoat and Handbag Sculptures definitely channeling the avant garde. Brian describes his work as: “bold, daring, edgy, lively and trendy as well as offering an energetic galactic experience.” He focuses on the relationship between Art and Fashion, saying: “I am extending my art onto garments, a mode of direction to exhibit my work in a much broader perspective boosting my imagination and creativity.” His interest in art definitely comes across in his boldly coloured pieces, often decorated with splashes of paint and with paintbrushes used as accessories. My favourite piece was a red not-sure-if-dress or a fashion sculpture. As the model in red turned on the catwalk you could see that all the red stuff was coming from a paint can. Very clever. I’m surprised Lady Gaga hasn’t snapped it up yet.

Review: Grassroots

Stephen Gyllenhaal’s new political comedy, Grassroots, hits cinemas at the perfect time. Based on ‘Zioncheck for President’, the memoirs of lead character Phil Campbell, it charts the progress of his friend Grant Cogswell; a young and inexperienced idealist with one ambition. He wants to bring social equality to Seattle by developing the city’s elegant monorail, with the help of some fervent students and a polar bear suit.

When Cogswell, an unemployed music critic, decides to run for a seat on the local council he encounters a range of problems. He is a single policy candidate with no political prowess, no funds, and only Campbell as his equally inexperienced campaign manager. GUM had the chance to speak to director Stephen Gyllenhaal, who reflected on his motivation in making the film. “I loved the idea of two white slacker dudes who had no business going into politics, and not only doing it, but trying to unseat the only African-American council member in Seattle. Everything about it seemed wrong”. Certainly, the fact that Cogswell specifically targets African American Richard McIver does not go unnoticed. While Joel David Moore’s Cogswell is sometimes too idealistic and too one-dimensional, Jason Biggs’ portrayal of Campbell shows the great emotional journey of a character who only agrees to help his friend because he was recently fired and is struggling to get off the sofa.

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Preview: Guilt. Free. Partying. ‘Make Noise’ Glasgow

Love partying?

Hate the guilt?

This is the one for you.

Imagine for a minute you’re the Glaswegian Pinocchio. It’s a Thursday Night and you fancy going clubbing. So you have a few drinks with your mates, head to Subby, and it’s all well and good until you get to the door and you find that instead of the usual bouncers it’s Jiminy Cricket standing there. Then he asks you when was the last time was that you recycled your mobile phone? Lost for words, you just blurt out that you don’t have a phone and before you know it, your nose has gotten so big that you can’t fit through the door.

Don’t be that guy.
Bring your broken electrical goods and exchange them for a night of clubbing goodness.

When: Thurs 22nd Nov

Where: Sub Club

Door tax: FREE with any broken electrical item. NB in the eventuality that you can’t find anything GUM recommends going via Murano/checking the nearest skip. (This is not an excuse to dash your phone out the window/drunkenly drop it down the toilet and claim a new one on insurance.)

Line up: Benji B (Radio 1) DJ Martelo  (NTS) and Conquering Animal Sound (Live set)

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