The Matrix takes over the Arches at GFF 2019

Glasgow Film Festival announces the first programme details for its 2019 edition, including special screenings of The Matrix and Alien, and a focus on Belgian cinema

Article by Jamie Dunn | 20 Nov 2018
  • The Matrix

The blue pill or the red pill? That’s the choice Glasgow Film Festival will be offering up this year as they bring the Wachowskis’ 1999 film The Matrix to the subterranean caverns of the Arches under Central Station for two special screenings to mark the 20th anniversary of this metaphysical sci-fi masterpiece (22 and 23 Feb). We’re told the event will feature “mind-twisting immersive installations” and an after-party. Those in attendance are encouraged to don shades and leather as they explore GFF’s deconstruction of The Matrix’s world.

Alien pop-up with laser-tag

That’s not all you can expect at the 15th annual Glasgow Film Festival. There’s more immersive cinema as GFF takes over a vast warehouse in north Glasgow for an encounter with the Xenomorph for a large-scale pop-up screening of Alien to mark the 40th anniversary of Ridley Scott’s seminal film.

As well as watching Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and the rest of the crew aboard the Nostromo try and survive, the event will feature laser-tag adventures, comic books and themed cocktails. In a warehouse in north Glasgow, no one can hear you scream (28 Feb).

Retrospective of a watershed year for cinema: 1969

This year’s GFF also marks 50 years since 1969, a landmark year in film culture, with mouthwatering retrospective End of Innocence. It was a year of social changes and political upheavals across the world but particularly in the United States, with protests on the streets, fierce opposition to the war in Vietnam, Nixon in the White House, the Manson killings, the Stonewall riots and the growing mobilisation of groups pursuing black power and feminism. Within this tinderbox, American cinema would also irrevocably change forever thanks to the arrival of counter-culture classics like Easy Rider and Best Picture Oscar winner Midnight Cowboy. But the old guard were also having their last hooray: John Wayne won his Best Actor Oscar for True Grit after all.

Other titles screening in End of Innocence are Arthur Penn’s Alice’s Restaurant, counterculture comedy Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice with Natalie Wood and Elliott Gould, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool, musical Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine, Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? starring Jane Fonda and Susannah York, and Sam Peckinpah’s brutal western The Wild Bunch. As ever, entry to the retrospective films are free.

Country focus: Belgium

Also announced today is GFF’s country of focus: Belgium. Titled Both Sides Now, the strand explores the richness and diversity of contemporary Belgian filmmaking. “Belgium is a country whose cinematic output has constantly been underrated,” says GFF, “despite world-class filmmakers, from Chantal Akerman to the Dardenne Brothers. This year’s Country Focus reflects the current healthy state of cinema in Belgium.”

Among the highlights is the Scottish premiere of Lukas Dhont’s festival-favourite Girl, the bruising story of a transgender girl training to become a ballerina. We’re also keen to see Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels’ stop-motion animation This Magnificent Cake!, telling colonial stories from across the Belgian Empire, and Marta Bergman’s feature debut Alone at My Wedding, about a Romani woman who becomes a mail-order bride.

Tickets for Alien and The Matrix go on sale 12pm on Monday 26 November from The full programme for Glasgow Film Festival 2019 will be announced on 23 January. Tickets go on sale to GFF members and GFT CineCard holders from 12 noon on 24 January and then on general sale from 10am on 28 January.