This Week At The GFT

The festive season is well and truly on us and the GFT is taking full advantage of the fact with a few Christmas classics on show. In addition to the new releases there is also a duo of films celebrating the one hundredth birthday of the screen legend Kirk Douglas.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in this dramatic political thriller from director Oliver Stone . Based on the book ‘The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man’, this film recounts Snowden’s 2013 meeting in a Hong Kong hotel room with filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald (recounted in 2014’s Citizenfour) whilst also charting his rise as an intelligence operative and his budding romance with Lindsay Mills. A powerful and probing film that explores what drove Snowden to make the decision that shook a nation.

Life, Animated
Autistic child Owen Suskind would only engage with Disney films. From there, the family used Disney films as a pathway to language and a connection to the world at large. Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams interweaves classic Disney scenes with real footage of Owen’s life to explore a young adult who faces insurmountable odds in his move towards living independently.

The Pass
Nineteen-year-olds Jason and Ade have been preparing themselves for a lifetime in professional football for as long as they can remember. On the evening before their first big match the two of them play out their insecurities in a Romanian hotel room; mock-fighting, preparing their kit, slinging insults, and then one of them kisses the other. The ramifications of this ‘pass’ reverberate throughout their careers: in a profession where image is everything, fame and fortune comes closely tied with secrets and lies.

The Music of Strangers
The latest documentary from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) follows legendary Chinese-American cellist Yo-Yo Ma as musicians from all over the world join him to form a virtuoso band who believe in the power of a global musical dialogue. Battling with the limits of art in the face of crisis, the artists know that whilst music cannot stop a bullet or feed the hungry, it can bring empathy and joy to places where they are in short supply.

Trading Places
A wealthy investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires. The millionaires arrange for impoverished street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) to be placed in the lap of luxury and reduce aristocratic yuppie Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) to poverty and disgrace. Trading Places is a deft social satire with engaging performances from Aykroyd and Murphy.

Blueprint: Scottish Independent Shorts
Blueprint celebrates the Scottish talent that exists in the cracks of the film industry – where people make films simply because of their love of cinema. Expect the weird, wonderful and passionate: from innovative and thoughtful drama to outrageous comedy and homemade special effects. Blueprint always sells out, so book early to avoid disappointment! Blueprint programmer Hans Lucas will conduct a short Q&A with some of the filmmakers after the screening

It’s a Wonderful Life
Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic follows the tribulations of small town everyman George Bailey (James Stewart), who, at the end of his luck and deep in debt, contemplates suicide one snowy, bleak Christmas Eve. After a nightmarish journey through an alternative Bedford Falls, George realizes the difference he has made to the people around him, learning lessons of love, loyalty and what it means to lead a wonderful life.

Blue Velvet
For a film that relies on familiar Hollywood conventions (the tortured femme fatale, the hideous villain and the loss of innocence), David Lynch’s masterpiece describing a sleepy small town with the seediest underbelly is one of the most unconventional and influential films of the 1980s. An outwardly simple Hardy Boys-style tale that descends into the darkest recesses of inhumanity, voyeurism and humiliation. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Blue Velvet has lost none of its power to both shock and seduce.

Ace in the Hole
The first of  two films this week that celebrate the 100th birthday of Kirk Douglas. Billy Wilder’s vicious portrait of flawed ethics in journalism (and the public appetite for them) features Kirk Douglas in one of his most iconic roles, as the fierce amoral newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum. Run out of the big city, Tatum becomes frustrated with the small-time stories he finds at his new job, until one day he happens across the scoop of a lifetime and will do anything to keep it in the headlines

The Heroes of Telemark
Based on the true story of the Norwegian resistance and their efforts to stop the German production of an atomic bomb component during World War II. Richard Harris plays resistance fighter Knut Straud, who enlists the help of reluctant physicist Rold Pederson (Kirk Douglas) in an effort to destroy the German heavy water production plant in rural Telemark. Shot on location in Norway by director Anthony Mann, The Heroes of Telemark is daring wartime action/adventure at its most classic.

An antidote to the artificial sweetness of the traditional Christmas movie and a film that deserves to be called a cult classic, the timeless comedy Gremlins tells the story of an inventor who inadvertently causes chaos when he purchases a cute creature for his son. When three vital instructions are ignored, a pack of mischievous gremlins are released on the town, causing mayhem and destruction. A film that never gets old.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The third instalment of the National Lampoon Vacation film series (written by John Hughes) stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo as the Griswolds, a family who can’t help but find trouble around every corner. This year it’s their turn to invite numerous dysfunctional relatives to the household to celebrate Christmas.

In a Lonely Place
Five years before director Nicholas Ray captured adolescent rebellion in Rebel Without a Cause, he and Humphrey Bogart defined the film noir with this turbulent and suspenseful adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes’ novel. Bogart plays Dixon Steele, a washed up screenwriter who becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Hollywood murder


John McArthur
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