Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs to open Glasgow Film Festival

Anderson’s stop-motion animation will kick off the 14th edition of the annual Glasgow Film Festival

Article by Jamie Dunn | 04 Jan 2018
  • Isle of Dogs

February tends to be pretty chilly in Glasgow, but the opening film of Glasgow Film Festival should go a long way to warming up the city’s cinephiles. It's been revealed that the 14th edition of the festival will kick off on 21 February with Wes Anderson’s much anticipated Isle of Dogs, which will come to GFF fresh from its world premiere at Berlin Film Festival. The festival's co-director Allan Hunter was enthusiastic about the announcement, calling Anderson “one of the most imaginative, beguiling filmmakers working in world cinema.” The fastidious director's work is always welcome at GFF: four years ago his wild caper The Grand Budapest Hotel also had the honour of opening proceedings. “It will be a night to remember and the best possible start to a great festival,” says Hunter.

The stop-motion animation is set in the Japanese archipelago 20 years in the future, where canine saturation has reached epidemic proportions and an outbreak of dog flu has seen man’s best friend exiled to a vast rubbish dump called Trash Island. The comedy adventure follows Atari Kobayashi, a 12-year old boy who hijacks a Junior-Turbo Prop plane to fly to the island to find his beloved “bodyguard-dog” Spots (voiced by Liev Schreiber).

Edward Norton, who has featured in Anderson’s previous two films (Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel), gets the lead role here as a dog called Rex. Other Anderson regulars also show up in the star-studded cast, including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel and F Murray Abraham, while other famous names like Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig and, more surprisingly, Yoko Ono are welcomed into Anderson’s unofficial rep company.

Anderson has made one stop-motion animation previously, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, and it’s one of his very finest films, so we're excited see this new project. Anderson's chief influence for Isle of Dogs hasn't been other animations, however, but one of Japan’s all-time great filmmakers. “The new film is less influenced by stop-motion movies than it is by Akira Kurosawa,” he told IndieWire.

The full programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2018 won’t be revealed until 24 January, but some tantalising events have already been announced. Oscar-winning composer Mica Levi will be in town for a live performance as part of The Unfilmables, which celebrates the greatest films never made. Also on soundtrack duty are SAY Award-winners Sacred Paws, who’ll be providing the score to Margaret Salmon's poetic speedway doc Mm.

GFF have also announced a few of the special immersive cinema events for which they’ve become famous, including a night of The Big Lebowski and bowling, and a choice of watching Gregory's Girl or Clueless followed by a school disco. Expect more of these special events to be announced with the full programme on 24 January.

Isle of Dogs (UK Premiere), Wed 21 Feb 7pm, GFT Glasgow, £15 / £13 conc; tickets include entry to the GFF opening party after the screening, and are on sale from 10am Mon 8 Jan from glasgowfilm.org/festival