The 2011 Glasgow Film Festival came to a close at the beginning of last week. Once again the programme on offer was so packed that it was impossible
to fit in absolutely everything you may have wished to view. My sacrifices this year included the entire Superheroes in Glasgow strand; a catastrophic omission as I’m an admirer of the comic-book form. Also Howl and the Jonny Greenwood scored, Murakami adaptation Norwegian Wood clashed with other events I was attending. The good news on the latter two is that they both open on the 11th March at the GFT, so all is not lost. As for my festival intentions, I wanted to focus on the Music and Film programme.
65daysofstatic’s live scoring of Silent Running was an eardrum thumping opening to my festival experience. The mood was set as the 65s fans settled with a playlist of contemporary film-music favourites including Clint Mansell, Trent Reznor, Jonny Greenwood and Yann Tiersen, to name quite an impressive few. This was a gentle and nurturing experience in comparison to the noise that followed. The delicate string scoring of the original opening credits with a backdrop of plant and pond visuals was replaced with ominous pounding and thrashing. Previously, 70’s sci-fi picture Silent Running was a slow paced presentation of a man unravelling whilst doing what he must to protect and preserve the last of Earth’s natural life. The inclusion of this new scoring brought a psychological harbinger. The fate of Freeman and his crewmen was laid bare from the off. The film chosen was a wise one as the long shots of space and regular montage provided ample time for 65daysofstatic to storm in with their insistent sounds. There was little in way of flow for the first section of the film. A little more care was taken in the latter half to not have such a juxtaposition between the audio dialogue track and their input, though the later parts of the film don’t feature much speech making such transition important. This was executed masterfully and I think contained to release in the climactic finale. It was a gloriously loud ending, the clash of noise ensuring the impact of all that had happened on screen over the 89 minutes was felt.
The other two events I attended were a combination of engrossing and peculiar. Upside Down: The Creation Records Story, was a bit of a Scottish music scene love-in when you glanced around the audience. The tales of Alan McGee’s early 80s indie insanity whilst commuting between Glasgow, London and Manchester proved to be tickling for the knowledgeable audience. The documentary is a large part The Alan McGee show, whose tales could impress anyone over a round at a local. I feel that this is an important point as whilst the tales of indulgence are entertaining there is a definite arrogance to the lack of consideration over consequences of action. Rock and roll is meant to be just this though, right? Almost all of the Creation crowd are featured giving their perspective on the rise and inevitable fall of the label, none surprised, though some affected more than others, by the collapse of it’s ringleader and their creative outlet. The first half of the film will please musos everywhere whereas the Oasis years will prove more appealing to others. Noel Gallagher’s commentary, regardless of any established opinion on his musical talents, do not disappoint.
The last event I attended was the Mondo Morricone gig at the Arches. I am a little stumped over what to say about this show. There were extraordinary moments beginning with Death Rides A Horse continuing on through huge tracks Man With A Harmonica/Once Upon A Time In The West and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. It was all a little ramshackle, which was quite perfect for the selected renditions as all are fairly loose in their original recordings. This was emphasised more in the lounge style moments of Morricone repertoire selected; Hurry to Me being the most famous of these where there was discord on stage but it remained charming. Duglas T. Stewart was as eccentric as ever in his hosting with a Kermit badge on lapel, apple consumed during opening My Name Is Nobody, and – at one point in the set – brandished a kazoo proudly. I was confused when I left but light in step.