Brainstorm: Four Brilliant Films Playing at the Glasgow Film Festival That We Can Vouch For

Year after year, the Glasgow Film Festival brings a collection of the year’s best and brightest films, from low budget indies to arthouse masterpieces, to Scotland’s biggest city.

In anticipation of the festival’s launch a week today, here are Brainstorm’s four favourite films that are playing as part of the festival’s programme that we’ve seen and can vouch for.

 

Elle

Paul Verhoeven’s challenging tale of revenge follows the director of a video game company trying to find a man who violently raped her, several times, in her own home. Dark in subject matter, but inventive in its approach to the overdone revenge thriller genre, this film features a spectacular, Golden Globe-winning performance from France’s cinema doyenne Isabelle Huppert. This is a fearless film that multiple actresses turned down the lead role for, and is a proud testimony to the open-minded attitudes of European filmmakers.

Aquarius

Sonia Braga garnered a fair amount of Oscar hype for her performance in Aquarius, following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year. A number of other great actresses doing great work have come and gone since then, and sadly the 66-year-old master of her craft has wound up being the shamefully unawarded movie hero of the year. Thankfully, Aquarius, which looks into the life of a proud, retired music journalist fighting the ugly, corporate renovation of her apartment building, has picked up UK distribution. Be the first to catch this quiet and powerful Brazilian film when it plays at GFF later in the month.

 

Graduation

Director Cristian Mungiu walked away from this film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival with a ‘Best Director’ gong – and rightly so. This study of a parent’s responsibilities and the compromises they have to make to ensure their child succeeds is an emotional knockout, crafted in a similar vein to Michael Haneke’s most haunting works. With no score and very little visual flare, Graduation demands your attention for two hours, and leaves you with a grim realisation that we may never be the perfect role models for our loved ones that we strive to be.

Personal Shopper

Imagine a crossover film that involves elements of both The Devil Wears Prada and The Others – only then will you have a rough idea of Personal Shopper’s strange and genre-defying feel. Set in a cold, wintery Paris, it follows a young medium who moonlights as a rich celebrity’s personal shopper and her attempts to seek contact with her recently deceased twin brother. It sounds naff, and some critics did come out of it feeling ever so slightly short changed having enjoyed the director Olivier Assayas’ older works, but if you go in with an open mind and prepared for Kristen Stewart’s striking central performance, you may come away from this feeling as though you’ve witnessed a divisive cult classic.

 

Glasgow Film Festival runs from the 15th-26th February. You can check out the full programme here.

 

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